Ways to Stop Your Chickens from Eating Their Eggs

guardingnestboxOne of the most frustrating problems that can develop with chickens is if they start to eat their own eggs. This often begins accidentally; perhaps they have clumsily broken one or maybe they have laid a soft or shell-less egg which has splattered into the nesting box. Their natural inquisitiveness could have led them to pecking at the yolk on the floor and they have now decided they like the taste and would rather keep their eggs for themselves than have you collect them and take them away. Problem!

Firstly, bear in mind that other things like eating eggs, so there may be a possibilty that your chickens are being framed by rats or snakes or your dog etc. but let’s assume it is definitely your chickens that are enjoying the eggs. If it is early days, it may be that it has not turned into a habit yet. It could be partly down to something like not enough bedding in the nestbox that is causing their eggs to break, or perhaps they are not eating a balanced diet and so are craving the nutritional elements of the eggs.

eggsinnestNutritionally they should get what they need from a layers feed so if that makes up the majority of what they are eating, in theory the cause should not be nutritional. If the eggs are breaking because of a lack of bedding in the nestbox then obviously adding more bedding may help (if you have a hen whose first task when she enters the nestbox is to kick out all the bedding you have put into it – like one of mine does – a nest box pad may be the answer).

If your hens really have become dead-set on eating their own eggs it can be difficult to persuade them otherwise. If you can get to the eggs before they do and collect them regularly then that is obviously one way that would help, but ideally we would like the chickens to stop eating their eggs altogether. It may be that the issue can’t be resolved in a positive way but there are a few sneaky tactics that are worth trying before you resign yourself to either going without fresh eggs or removing the offending chicken(s) (let’s hope it doesn’t come to that).

Being Tricky

Make the eggs taste bad : Take one of your chickens eggs (or if things are really bad, buy some from the supermarket) and replace the contents with something that will not taste as nice – mustard for instance. Place the egg into their nest box and see if they try it. Perhaps the first time you try they will eat it, or part of it, but after a few days of unpleasant tasting eggs you will hopefully find that they decide not to bother with them.

If that doesn’t work….

Try adding false eggs to the nests – even brightly coloured plastic eggs – to us they are obviously not edible, but chickens don’t pick up on that straight away and will probably try to eat them anyway, giving them more disappointment on the egg-eating front. Likewise, people have found that scraps of paper masquerading as bits of egg shell on the floor can help put them off pecking at their eggs.

If that doesn’t work….

A ‘roll away’ nestbox to keep the eggs out of your chickens reach may be worth a try. These aren’t too expensive to purchase, or you may want to have a go at making your own.

If that doesn’t work….

A bit more trial and error on making the eggs taste bad so they are put off eating them? Good luck!

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