Raising a laying flock can be very rewarding, but it also comes with its fair share of frustrations. Your chickens should be laying you eggs every week, but what happens when they don’t? There are several reasons why you may not find eggs, and one of these is your chickens eating eggs.
Want more chicken keeping wisdom? Check out my book Backyard Chickens: How To Have A Happy Flock
Make sure it’s actually your chickens eating eggs
Before you assume your hens are eating eating eggs, rule out other possible causes that can impact egg laying. Here are some reasons chickens aren’t laying eggs. Some of the more common reasons are short daylight, molting, or an underlying health issue.
If you find broken eggs in your coop, it may also not be your chickens eating the eggs. Some predators will eat chicken eggs, and if they have a steady diet of eggs, they may never go after your hens.
Animals that eat chicken eggs include rats, skunks, raccoons, and possums. If you’re not sure if predators are getting into your coop or how they can get in, click here for more details on predator proofing your chicken coop.
Sometimes though, you may catch a hen in the act of eating an egg! Yikes! That’s an obnoxious habit that needs to be stopped immediately!
Here’s how to stop obnoxious chickens eating eggs
Usually egg eating starts because an egg broke, and a chicken pecked at it and figured out there was good stuff to eat in there. The easiest first step is to make sure all your nests are well lined with straw so that the eggs do not break.
Here’s my all time favorite nesting box that’s deep enough for plenty of padding. It’s a good idea to have one nest box per four hens, that way they don’t try and overcrowd the same box. And if you have a broody hen, try to move her to another location or add in an extra nesting box.
Second, make sure the hen is getting all the nutrients that she needs in her diet. Make sure she has access to oyster shell so that she can get enough calcium. Also make sure she gets enough protein!
If you are using a prepackaged layer feed, that should have everything she needs. If you are making your own feed, try increasing the protein or adding in vitamins with micro-nutrients.
It’s a good idea if you are feeding hens egg shells as calcium, to crush the shells so they don’t learn to peck at other eggs.
What if she just won’t stop?
If the first two suggestions don’t help, prevent your hens from getting access to the eggs. You can build a slanted nest box so the egg rolls into a collecting chamber once laid. Or go out right after laying time (usually before ten AM) and collect the eggs right away.
Hopefully these suggestions resolve this obnoxious habit! If you have a hen that just won’t stop, it may just be time to send the offending hen off to freezer camp or make a nice chicken soup. Luckily for my flock, that hasn’t been necessary!
Remember to check out Backyard Chickens: How To Have A Happy Flock for more advice on having a happy and productive backyard flock!
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