Chickens are one of those animals that tend to eat everything and anything that they can find. These are opportunistic eater so nothing is off-limits to them. When it comes to their own eggs, most people will think the chickens know the difference between their own eggs and what food they should eat.
Do chickens eat their own eggs? Chickens are opportunist eater so they’ll eat just anything, including their own eggs. There are many reasons for that and some are caused by stress, calcium deficiency, boredom, and hunger.
Why Chickens Eat Their Own Eggs
Why chickens eat their own eggs will usually be one of the reasons below:
During the time hens are laying eggs, they will require a lot of calcium. On average, a hen requires around 4-5 grams of calcium every day.
When hens are not getting enough calcium in their diet, they may resort to eating their own eggs. Eggshells contain roughly 40% calcium.
To help remedy this problem, remember to add food that is extra high in calcium content to their diet. This can include leafy greens such as okra, spinach, and kale. These vegetables are excellent for calcium.
Also, you can feed them dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. However, due to the high-fat content in dairy products, make sure to feed them in moderation.
If chickens are not allowed to roam freely as they please, you’ll find them suffering from boredom.
By nature, chickens are active creatures always foraging for food. When they are bored, you’ll start seeing them pecking at everything around them.
If there are eggs nearby, the chickens may start pecking at them and eating the eggs.
Therefore, to prevent them from getting bored, always make sure they have a lot of space to roam freely. If space is limited, you can put pecking toys by their coop to keep them busy.
Another way to keep them active and healthy is to hang vegetables like cabbage and lettuce in a tetherball.
Stress & Anxiety
Like humans, chickens do get stressed and anxiety too. This happens when they are cramped in a small place or there are too many chickens in a coop.
Without any space to move around much, they will start to become stressed.
Another thing that affects their stress level is lighting. Too much or too little lighting could cause them to have anxiety.
Therefore, when chickens become very stressed, they’ll try to find a way to relieve it. One of the ways is to eat their own eggs.
Stress does not only affect them but also their overall well-being. Prolong stressed can lead to serious health issues, and even death can occur.
Cramped Nest Box
When hens are laying eggs, they like a quiet and large space.
For every four chickens, there should be at least one nest box. When there are too few boxes and too many hens, they will start to roll over and break eggs.
Sometimes, when the nest box gets too crowded, they may even start to peck at and eat other chicken’s eggs.
Chickens need a lot of food daily to keep them active. This is why you’ll see them foraging for food all day long and even into the evening.
For a typical adult chicken, they need 1/4 of a pound of food per day. In a week, that translates to 1.5 pounds of food.
When chickens are not given enough food, they will start to look elsewhere for it. This can be foraging for food in the backyard and even their own eggs if they get really hungry.
To prevent hunger from being an issue, always feed them quality feeds. There are feeds that are cheap and these usually will not have good quality nutrition.
A good quality feed will have about 10-15% protein content. During the laying season, the protein concentration of the feed should be 16-18%.
How To Stop Chickens From Eating Their Own Eggs
Now that you know why chickens eat their own eggs, below are some of the remedy to stop your chickens from eating their own eggs:
Remove the Eggs Frequently
Collect the eggs a couple of times throughout the day. There is no set time to when a chicken lays eggs and it could be hard to determine when. Therefore, collect the eggs from their nest at least one in the morning and again in the evening.
By collecting the eggs regularly, it will help reduces the chance of the eggs getting damaged.
Make Sure Chickens Are Getting Plenty Of Calcium
Chickens that are fed a proper diet will have a lesser chance of eating their own eggs. Make sure the quality of the feeds is high. High quality feeds then to have the right amount of nutrition in them, especially calcium.
Sometimes, you can try giving them foods that are high in calcium. This will give a boost in calcium to their feeds.
One of the things you can do is fortify the calcium into their diet. You can use leftover eggshells from cooking. Crush the eggshells thoroughly to bits and pieces and mix it into their feeds.
Do Chickens Eat Other Hen’s Eggs?
Yes, chickens do eat each other eggs. Chickens are opportunist eater so they’ll eat anything and everything that’s edible and can fit in their mouth.
Some of the things chickens have been seen eating are:
- Dog food
- Cat food
- Fish food
As you can see, when it comes to food, they will try to eat it if it seems edible.
As you can see, chickens are notorious for eating everything, including their own eggs. Chickens will usually not eat their own eggs or eggs of other hen’s unless there is a reason for it. Therefore, when you see your chickens eating their own eggs, it should be something that you should carefully look at. Otherwise, they will continue doing it until there are no eggs left.