Why are my chickens eating the broody hen's eggs? There's only one left now


May 13, 2010
New Hampshire
I've watched them do this. When the broody hen gets off the nest and goes into the chicken yard to stretch, the other chickens, including the one rooster, make a beeline for the nest and come running out with bits of eggshell in their mouths. Yet there are a couple other piles of eggs in the coop where they lay, and they leave those alone. I was hoping for chicks this spring, but that's not gonna happen. They have food accessible at all times, plus the chicken yard is all grass, dandelions, etc. They have a sleeping coop which is probably too small, but it's openly attached to the chicken run which is 16' x 20' (has vegetation and even raspberry bushes growing in there) and then when I open the coop door in the mornings, they have access to the open but fenced chicken yard which is very large, probably 30' x 40'. About 5 out of 14 of the hens usually end up flying over or crawling under the fence and free range all day too (I'm trying to keep them contained while I start buckwheat fields).

Extremely exasperating. I'm thinking of processing all these chickens at the end of summer and getting a new batch. These hens are mostly 2 yrs. and older anyway, and the rooster is aggressive. But that's why I really wanted new chicks this spring, and it's so much easier when mother hen raises them.
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It may be that they are lacking calcium, which in that case they need something like oystershell. Or I believe you can dry out eggshells, grind them, and give them along with the chicken food.

Hope that helps!

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