Many people who are dedicated to raising chickens have faced the problem that their hens eat eggs, this is a fairly common problem when the animals do not have the proper management. Here we will tell you what you can do.
The first thing we have to do is verify what are the possible causes that are causing the hens to eat their eggs. For this reason, we will start by mentioning the most common reasons that trigger this problem, and later we will talk about the measures that must be taken to solve it.
Reasons and possible causes why chickens eat eggs
The most common causes of chickens eating their eggs are generally poor diet, bad habits, stress and anxiety, poor management practices, and poor organization of the hen house. We will describe each of these problems below.
A poorly balanced or improper diet could be causing chickens to eat their own eggs. When their diet does not cover the nutrients they need for their proper development, hens tend to manifest behavioral problems that are related to their diet, and in this case, they eat their eggs in order to satisfy their nutritional needs.
Stress and anxiety
Chickens are birds quite sensitive to changes, so they can easily become stressed or suffer from anxiety, especially if the place where they are housed is extremely small and there are too many individuals.
Also, poor lighting in the corral causes the hens to become stressed and as a consequence, they resort to the consumption of eggs, as well as other types of abnormal behavior could develop.
Sometimes some of the chickens in our pen could eat the eggs simply because they have acquired that habit of doing so. Later we will tell you what you can do to get rid of that bad habit.
Poor chicken coop management and organization practices
Some people who are dedicated to raising chickens, especially beginners, have a habit of putting their nests on the ground or putting nests with little filling inside, which causes the hen to not feel comfortable and start laying their eggs anywhere, resulting in them being more vulnerable to eating their eggs.
Another problem is that the breeder does not frequently collect the hen’s eggs, which makes the animal more prone to acquiring these bad eating habits.
How to prevent chickens from eating their eggs
We already talked about the causes why chickens eat eggs, now, we will talk about how you can prevent or prevent your animals from developing this behavior.
Provide a balanced diet
A good diet that meets the nutritional requirements of your birds will prevent them from developing the bad habit of wanting to eat their eggs. Remember to provide the necessary proteins, fats, and minerals.
Something important that you should know is that chickens are prone to calcium deficiency, especially those of laying breeds, so do not forget to supplement their diet with that element, in the following link we recommend an article on natural calcium for chickens.
We also recommend some ingredients that you can supply or add to their feed and that improve the quality of their diet:
- Fish flour
- Broad beans
- Crushed eggshell (provides calcium).
- Preventing chickens from stress
To avoid stressing your chickens, avoid doing the following:
- Unusual noises.
- Constant changes of corral or shelter.
- Changes in temperature
- Having too many individuals in little space.
Lack of protein – one major problem why hens eat their eggs is lack of protein. A feed with high-protein content can solve this problem.
Lack of calcium – similar to lack of protein, lack of calcium is also one of the major reasons why chicken eats their eggs. If you are throwing away eggs shell you may think of starting to collect now. Feeding eggs shells to your hens will be a good addition to boost their calcium needs.
Influenced by another hen – One of my hens, the Barred Plymouth Rock, has already laid 21 eggs. My Clack Australorp started to lay in the same nest. The Australorp ate her eggs and the Plymouth Rock tasted it too. The next day, the Barred Rock started to eat her eggs as well, and fortunately, I only left 2 eggs inside the nest. I separated them and provided special nests (see video below)
There may be other reasons but the 3 above are the most common reasons.
What to do
Aside from the ways mentioned above and putting your hens inside the battery cage, creating a special type of cage seem to be effective. The good thing about this is that, when the hen can’t see her eggs for several days, she may eventually stop picking on her eggs if you try to provide her a regular nest. But I still recommend that keep the special nest and collect the eggs daily to make sure nothing is damaged. This is important especially if you are breeding heritage breeds which losing just 1 egg is a big loss already.
The above is my experimental way of dealing with my hen and so far very effective.
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