Are My Hens Eating Their Own Eggs? Yes, They Might Be – And Here’s How to Stop It
If you’ve seen a noticeable decline in the number of eggs you find each morning or your hens have left evidence to suggest that eggs have been consumed by another animal, it may not be a rat or pest problem. Your chickens could possibly be eating their own eggs.
Here’s why they do it:
Like many other animals, chickens don’t instinctively know that the eggs they’re laying are of their own creation – or that, if properly fertilized/incubated, would hatch their own young. It’s something they naturally do, and if used to having their eggs taken away by their master, don’t often spend enough time with them to really bond with them.
As much as we love the taste of eggs, hens can get a taste for them as well. The biggest factor that leads to chickens eating their own eggs is when one cracks or breaks and the hen pecks at it out of hunger or boredom. Once they realize that they are actually good to eat, they will continue to eat them.
Eggs can crack or break for multiple reasons. One is that if the hens don’t have enough space in their nesting area, they may accidentally break an egg. This can also occur if the nesting area isn’t being sufficiently cleaned. Hens can become easily stressed when their need for space and cleanliness aren’t being met.
In some cases, a broken egg may not be an accident. To chickens, an egg can seem like a toy to fill their boredom. They may, in some cases, push them out of the perch to meet their demise.
Here’s four effective ways to prevent chickens from eating their own eggs:
- Gather eggs frequently enough so that the eggs aren’t left as a temptation to the hens for too long.
- Keep enough toys and treats in the cage/coop that will keep them interested and distract your hens away from their eggs.
- Ensure your chickens are being fed enough that they won’t be tempted to eat their own eggs. This can be done by keeping your Grandpas Feeder always filled with enough feed to keep chickens from going hungry. Your feeder will also keep unwanted predators from entering your coop in search of food – and eggs.
- You should also check to make sure your chickens are getting enough nutrition from their feed. Sometimes if they are deficient in protein or vitamins, they will try to seek it out from other sources – in this case, their own eggs.
Learn more about the Grandpas Feeder and how you can decrease the chances of your chickens eating their own eggs by reading more of our blog posts here. Or, we are always here and ready to start a conversation about how we can help.