People keep chickens for a variety of reasons. Some people keep them for eggs, some for meat, some for show, and some for companionship. Chickens can also help with pest control, provide fertilizer for gardens, and even provide entertainment. But chances are, if you’ve landed on this article, you’ve gone outside to collect eggs only to find a yolky, nasty mess in the nest box. What happened? Why are your chickens eating their eggs?
In order to get to the bottom of this problem, we need to understand why chickens feel compelled to do this and how to stop them.
Why are my chickens eating their eggs?
Chickens may eat their own eggs for a number of reasons, including a lack of calcium or other nutrients in their diet, boredom, or a need for additional protein. In some cases, a chicken may start to eat eggs due to a hormone imbalance or because of stress or anxiety. This may also cause them to stop laying eggs entirely. It’s also possible that a particular chicken may view eggs as a food source, so it may be a learned behavior.
It’s good to remember that chickens are omnivores and, as weird as it sounds, may actually enjoy the taste of eggs. In the wild, they likely wouldn’t hesitate to eat a nest of eggs that they find. But that’s not really much consolation for you if they’re eating their eggs, right? So how do you go about stopping chickens from engaging in this unfortunate behavior?
Preventing chickens from eating their own eggs
There are a handful of methods you can employ to stop your chickens from eating their eggs. First, provide plenty of nutritious food. When chickens are well-fed, they are less likely to eat their own eggs. It also helps to collect eggs regularly. The longer eggs stay in the nest, the more likely they are to be eaten. Adding some enrichment into their habitat may make them more interested in playing around or looking for treats than eating their own eggs. This helps if they’re eating eggs out of boredom.
It’s also quite important for chickens to have an appropriate nest box. Make nest boxes more secure and make sure they’re large enough, but not so large that a bunch of chickens are all trying to crowd in. Chickens can become uncomfortable when their nest boxes are too open, leading them to eat their own eggs.
If you’ve tried all this and still can’t figure out why they’re eating their own eggs, you can place a fake egg in the nest. Chickens have been known to peck at fake eggs, thinking they are real.