Will an egg eating hen try to eat her chicks when they hatch?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ariana Martinez, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Ariana Martinez

    Ariana Martinez In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2013
    I have a hen who will eat her egg if it is cracked or broken. She is sitting on a nest of 9 eggs and I am worried she will peck and try to eat her chicks when they hatch. She has a habit of eating eggs, and when I go into the chicken house to check up on her eggs and make sure there's no missing and none cracked because my rooster will try to sit on the eggs as well. My hen will follow me in and act very interested. When there's a cracked egg I usually take it and dispose of it or one of my outside dogs will eat it. I have also given her a broken egg once or twice since I've had her. I want to break her habit of being an egg eater but once or twice I have given in and gave it to her, I spoil my chickens. So my question is: Will my hen peck and try to eat her chicks when they hatch? Or should she know not to eat them and will be more of a motherly hen and care for them?
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    A chick is not an egg. There are no guarantees that she will be the perfect mother. The only way to know is to let her. The chicks start to peep a day or so before they hatch and a broody can talk back to them forming a bond. There have been cases where the hen just rejects the chicks, and can peck them to death. If she hasn't eaten the eggs before they hatch I would bet on her instincts to be a mother will kick in.
  3. TimBaumann

    TimBaumann Songster

    Apr 8, 2012
    A mother hen eating her own chicks doesn't happen very often. You should be more worried about the other hens eating those chicks. The first 8 chicks ever hatched by my first hen all got eaten the morning after they hatched. And for a chicken to eat the cracked/broken eggs I think is not a big problem as long as she doesn't break the eggs open on deliberately and eat them. I have given my entire flock un-fertile, raw eggs that I removed from a broody hen and they went nuts for them. But I have never had them break any eggs on purpose.
    But I agree with the above post. Let her incubate some eggs to see if she'll be a good mother. She probably will :)
    Good luck
  4. Ariana Martinez

    Ariana Martinez In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2013
    Thanks for the replys! :) the hen I'm talking about is my only hen other than a chick/ hen that I haven't put outside yet. But I am getting 2 more hens this weekend. I will most likely seperate her from the other hens once they have hatched.
  5. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    It is the only way they can clean their nest, as long as it was broken and she is not breaking them to eat! I feed broken eggs to the girls, just give them a toss and splat, the girls are all over them!
  6. Featherfriendobsessed

    Featherfriendobsessed In the Brooder

    Aug 19, 2017
    This is an older post but I just found an empty shell and a half eaten chick in another shell that my broody hen has eaten...the chicks are just a day away from hatching and im afraid shes going to kill them all...why would she do this and what can i do to stop It? Can I move the eggs to another broody I know to be a good mother?
  7. As far as I know there is not a hen alive who will NOT eat a broken egg.

    Hens put a lot of hard work and precious resources into every egg that they lay and it is IMHO impossible to expect a hen to refrain from trying to recover some of the nutrients that a broken egg represents.
  8. Often hens will eat eggs that for whatever reason the chick inside has died.

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