Chickens Eating Eggs

If you have a problem with chickens eating eggs and want to stop them, here are a few preventive measures to take.

chickens eating eggs

Chickens eating eggs kind of defeats the purpose of keeping chickens in the first place. If anyone is going to eat eggs it will be YOU.

PHOTO: ANATOLII/FOTOLIA

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What makes a chicken eat eggs, and what can be done to stop this?

Emma Hunt
Prestonsburg, Kentucky

Different circumstances may lead to chickens eating eggs. Once established, it’s a difficult habit to break. Here are a few suggestions to deter this behavior.

  • Raise nest boxes at least 18 inches off the floor. Bored chickens, especially roosters, are less likely to start pecking at eggs if they’re not at ground level.
  • Feed a balanced ration.
  • Make oyster shells available to layer hens. This prevents a calcium shortage, which can sometimes prompt hens to start eating eggs.
  • Make sure the chickens have adequate space — preferably allow them to range on pasture during the day.
  • Gather eggs frequently so the chickens don’t have access to them for long.
  • Try nests that allow the eggs to roll to a tray behind the nests so the chickens can’t get to them.

If you have lots of birds in your flock, you may want to remove the offenders, because this behavior usually spreads pretty rapidly.

— Troy Griepentrog, homesteading editor

annie1992
6/8/2016 8:17:40 PM

I've got golf balls in the nest, lots of oyster shell, curtains on the nests, a large roomy run (can't let them free range because of the neighbor's dogs). My nests are off the floor and I have 6 of them for 20 chickens, more than the suggested ration of one per 4 chickens. I still have an egg eater. I have broken chickens of this before, by putting a dog cage in the coop, and locking up the offender for several days. I currently have one, an Aracauna, and I don't want to get rid of my green egg layer, so she's locked up. If she keeps eating eggs, though, she's chicken sausage!


destiny trujillo
5/14/2012 8:15:53 PM

will is the chicken eat eggs for


sycojim
10/28/2010 1:31:26 PM

four chickens just started laying after moulting, one started eating eggs. used to mix crushed egg shells in food but stoped think will have to start again also started mixing dry cat food in feed hope things soon improve.


joe_48
3/13/2010 10:36:24 AM

Wow great to find Mother Earth again it's been years


emily kennedy
3/12/2010 11:05:14 AM

Comment from a reader, Dr. Thomas H. Cook: Buy two wooden eggs for each nest box at the hobby store. Paint the wooden eggs with flesh tone acrylic paint. These wooden eggs have a flat on the big end, which enables collecting real chicken eggs. About one month ago, I was getting about 1 to 3 eggs per day, however with the wooden eggs I now get 9 to 14 eggs per day. Now I never see broken eggs anymore and the eggs are much cleaner. I have 100 mallard ducks on a lake and am painting 22 wooden eggs the duck egg color and putting them in nests to attract the ducks. Also I hope to discourage the crows from eating the real duck eggs.


geoff taylor
2/20/2010 6:42:27 AM

If the eggshells are first cooked in an oven briefly, and then crushed into tiny fragments, chickens can eat the eggshells for added calcium, and their tiny bird-brains won't remember the SHAPE of the eggs that gave them the calcium they needed. My aunt explained all this, fifty years ago. But -- golf balls are a genius idea, seems to me.


texanna bates_2
2/15/2010 8:45:05 AM

Would like info on how to get started on chicken raising to include where I can buy the chickens.


the chicken whisperer_2
2/4/2010 9:25:20 AM

I encountered the same frustrating problem, did all the above, and threw a golf ball into the nest. No more eggs have been eaten.


heath israel
2/2/2010 1:53:32 PM

When we had chickens, we'd just feed them all the empty egg shells from the house...along with any other food scraps they'd eat (and of course the oyster shells suplements). In 18 years, I don't think I ever once saw a chicken eat its own un-broken egg.