How to stop chicken eating her own eggs?

Discussion in 'Poultry, Domestic Livestock, Pets, & Bees' started by Mark, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Hi guys,

    I received this question on my blog from a concerned lady about one of her hens eating her own eggs. The question and my answer are below but does anyone else have any advice or experience in this area?

    My reply:
     
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  2. Ann@Monto

    Ann@Monto Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Two reasons a chook will eat it's eggs. Either it's learned behaviour or deficient in something. I give egg eaters the chop, as other hens can start it as well.
     
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  3. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member GOLD

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    Would adding crushed egg shells to the coop help to take care of the diet deficiency, or maybe it might encourage egg eating? :confused:

    I know my Bantams eat a bit of crushed egg shells, but never eat their own eggs.
     
  4. Ann@Monto

    Ann@Monto Active Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Yes, Stevo, I've heard both sides of the "feeding egg shells" debate. An old timer I used to live next door to insisted you should NEVER EVER feed egg shells, not even putting them in the compost in case the chooks scratched them up. However, a lot of people are now feeding egg shells back to their chickens, I've even read (FB Backyard Poultry), where people let their chickens eat eggs that have broken, just throwing it back to them in their coop. If an egg gets broken I give it to the dogs and if I give the bit of shell to the girls, I squash it up so much (aka pulverise with my foot) that it's more like a bit of sand to them.
     
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  5. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Agreed, crushed egg shells should be fine Stevo.

    I keep quail and ducks sometimes I'll throw quail eggs to the hens as a treat and often the ducks will lay in the open where eggs get broken then the hens clean up but despite that I've never seen signs of rampant egg eating behaviour in our flock thankfully.

    I mean it has happened (does happen) sometimes but it probably stemmed from the egg accidentally breaking - this hasn't led to a habit of egg eating in my flock.

    There's no doubt some hens can turn into bad egg eaters and that would be a real issue probably worthy of the chop and chicken soup.
     
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  6. James P

    James P Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I had this problem with all of my hens late last year and all I did was get an egg and blow out its contents, then fill it with vinegar and worcestershire sauce and put it in the chicken coop. Egg eating stopped within 5 minutes!
     
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  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Chooks eat eggs because they are lacking protein mostly but also calcium.
    They go looking for the calcium in the shell & get the bonus of the protein in the egg contents.
    But just feeding more protein might not solve the issue because it can be other food stuffs that they actually need to aid in the digestion of the foods they already get.
    So if they get some sort of commercial grain or pelleted feed but never get let out to get greens or never get a heap of fresh fruit & veg & green leaves in their run, then they will go hunting for something to do what the fresh foods do in their digestion.
    Some commercial feeds are higher protein than others & these days the commercial layers such as Isa Browns etc, need a very high protein diet. Many cheaper commercial feeds are not high enough protein to satisfy the needs of the 350+ eggs per annum layers.
    I've never had issues with chooks eating crushed egg shell. I have a large wide mouthed jar (old coffee jar)with no lid in the fridge that I put my egg shells into. The fridge dries them out & every few weeks I crush them with a wooden spoon & sprinkle in the pen.
    I did have a problem with soft shelled eggs & for a while shell-less eggs but they happen because the hen has run out of protein & calcium reserves. For her own benefit she needs to be placed in a quiet, darkened cage & fed a low protein diet of moistened rolled oats for a week to induce a moult & stop her ovaries producing egg yolks. Then her reproductive tract will begin to heal & she can spend a few months regathering reserves of calcium & protein.
    If she is not treated like that she might try to find high quality sources of calcium & protein such as egg shells & contents.
    Mine don't get commercial layer mix because they came from an organic free range farm. They aren't organic anymore but are still soy free. Most of the protein ration in most commercial feeds is soy protein which a lot of people don't want to consume. They do get a simple grain mix (scratch mix), fresh meat, fat trimmings & some offal, lots of fruit, veg & green leaves plus the crushed egg shell & chopped up cuttlefish bone. I also chop up other soft soup bones but they don't get any pork or chicken products. They lay regularly on that diet & are generally healthy.
     
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  8. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I don't personally keep chooks...but when one of my sister in law's started "egg eating" a vet friend basically said this same thing. (Though in fairness, my S-in-L keeps her chooks as pets...so there was no mention about the chop!) they went with a roll away system, problem seemed to resolve...but I do love the idea of the blown egg with Worcestershire and vinegar! ;)
     
  9. Lizi

    Lizi Member

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    Get one of those fake dummy eggs and drop it into the flock. They all go to check it out and find it is something they can't eat. Do this a few times here and there over time to reinforce the idea. I found this worked for me.
     
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