How to Keep Chickens From Eating Their Eggs

Egg-eating chickens are a problem, but with this simple, reader-submitted tip you should have eggs back in your basket within a few weeks.

  • Fresh Eggs
    Deter chickens from eating their fresh eggs by mixing unsavory wooden eggs into their nests.
    Photo by Fotolia/leekris

  • Fresh Eggs

I recently had my first experience with egg-eating chickens. I’ve kept chickens for a number of years, and had never had this problem before. When I noticed that one of my flocks was no longer producing eggs, I chalked it up to winter downturn. However, the problem didn’t correct itself after I turned on an artificial light. By the time I cracked the case, I had multiple chickens eating their own eggs — shells and all! I did quite a bit of research, and everything pointed to culling the offending bird or birds. Well, because this is a hobby and not a financial endeavor, I decided to experiment a little before resorting to killing any of my hens.

I purchased fake eggs — the kind used to teach chickens where to lay — and placed them in the nests. My thinking was that if the chickens couldn’t crack these eggs, then they would lose interest in eating the real eggs. For the next few months, I set about checking the coop multiple times a day to remove the real eggs and leave the fake eggs in the nests. Now, I can leave the real eggs in the nests for full days as before, and my plan seems to have worked. My chickens have stopped eating their eggs!

Based on my experience, spending a few bucks for some fake eggs, collecting the real eggs more often than usual, and having some patience may eliminate the need to wipe out a flock and start over.

Kevin Howard
Canaan, New Hampshire

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