Are your chickens turning into egg-eaters? It’s a common challenge for poultry keepers. Some strategies can help. In this guide, we’ll explore effective ways to stop chickens from eating their eggs.
Note: Sometimes, this is a problem you can’t fix. Most of these strategies also prevent egg-eating. So, pay attention even if this isn’t something you’re dealing with right now.
Our easy-to-follow guide. has practical tips to keep those eggs safe and sound. Let’s dive into these simple, yet effective strategies and keep the pecking at bay.
1. Collect Eggs Frequently
First up, let’s talk about the importance of being quick on the egg draw. Here’s the deal: chickens are curious creatures. If they find an egglying around, they might give it a peck, and before you know it, they’ve developed a taste for it. It’s kind of like how we can’t resist a bag of chips left open on the counter – it’s too tempting!
So, what’s the solution? Simple: beat them to the punch. Make it a routine to collect eggs , ideally twice a day. The best times are early in the morning and then again in the late afternoon. Why these times? Well, most hens lay their eggs in the morning, so you’ll want to get those first. The afternoon check is to ensure you didn’t miss any stragglers.
2. Provide enough nesting boxes
Just like us, chickens value a little privacy, especially when it comes to laying their eggs. Think about it: would you feel comfortable doing your business in a crowded, noisy space? Probably not, and neither do chickens. When they feel cramped or exposed, stress kicks in. Stressed chickens often turn into egg-peckers.
So, how many nesting boxes do you need? A good rule of thumb is to have at least one box for every three to four hens. This ratio gives each hen a fair chance to lay her eggs in peace. They won’t feel like they’re in a crowded elevator.
But it’s not just about the number of boxes. Location matters too. Place these boxes in a quiet, dimly lit area of the coop. You want to create a calm, cozy environment that says, “Hey, this is a safe place to lay your eggs.” Think of it as setting up a little spa retreat for your hens. It’s a place where they can relax and do their thing without any fuss.
And remember, it’s not just about preventing egg-eating. Happy, stress-free hens are productive hens. When they feel secure and comfortable in their laying environment, they’re more likely to lay consistently.
Note: Sometimes you’ll find that you have many nesting boxes set up and they. all use just 2 or. 3 of them. This is normal! The space between them is still useful and creates privacy.
3. Keep Them Entertained
Chickens can get bored too! And when they do, they might start looking at those eggs not as future chicks or your breakfast, but as a fun snack. So, our goal? Keep those chickens entertained.
Think of your chickens as little feathery kids who need toys and activities to stay out of mischief. A great way to do this is by introducing things in their environment that they can peck and play with. For instance, hanging a cabbage in their coop isn’t just a healthy snack for them. It’s like a mini workout and a puzzle rolled into one. They get to jump, peck, and chase it around – basically, everything but getting bored.
Besides the cabbage trick, there are plenty of other ways to keep your chickens engaged. Perches are great not just for sleeping but also for hanging out during the day. You can also set up dust baths. Chickens love dust bathing – it’s like their version of a day at the beach, minus the water and sunburn. It keeps them clean, helps with parasites, and is a fantastic way to pass the time.
Sure, chickens have survived without toys, but we’re not just aiming for survival here. We want our chickens to thrive. Happy, entertained chickens are less likely to develop bad habits like egg eating.
Note: the absolute best way to entertain your chickens? Let them free range! They will naturally find places for dust baths, they will chase bugs and frogs, and have a grand time. 😉.
4. Ensure a Balanced Diet (and Supplement if Needed)
Moving on to diet, because what your chickens eat plays a huge role in their behavior. If a chicken’s diet lacks key nutrients, especially calcium and protein. This can lead them to seek those nutrients elsewhere. They might find them in their eggs. It’s like when we crave certain foods when our diet is off balance.
So, what’s the feed fix? First, ensure that you’re giving your chickens a well-balanced feed. This is like the chicken equivalent of a well-rounded meal for us. It should have the right mix of nutrients to keep them healthy and full. But here’s the kicker: Sometimes, even with the best feed, they might still need a bit more calcium. This is especially true if they’re laying a lot of eggs.
This is where oyster shell supplements come into play. They’re like the calcium supplement in your vitamin routine. Sprinkle some in their feed. Or have a separate dish of oyster shells available. It can make a big difference. It’s like giving them an extra boost to make sure they’re really getting what they need.
And remember, it’s not just about preventing egg eating. A well-fed chicken is a happy, healthy chicken. They’ll lay better eggs, have stronger shells, and generally be more active and lively. So, while it might seem like a bit of extra work to monitor their diet, it pays off in the long run. A healthy diet and healthy chickens lead to fewer problems. It’s a simple formula, but it works.
5. Trickery! Ceramic Eggs or filled eggs
Let’s talk about a clever little trick: using ceramic eggs. Yep, you heard that right. It sounds a bit like a chicken version of a decoy mission, and in many ways, it is. The idea here is pretty simple but quite effective.
Ceramic eggs are basically fake eggs that look and feel real to chickens. You place these in the nesting boxes. Here’s the cool part: when a chicken tries to peck at one, they quickly realize it’s not the tasty treat they expected. It’s kind of like biting into what you think is a soft cookie, only to find out it’s rock hard. Not a pleasant experience, right? The chickens think the same.
Another option is filling hollow eggs with something unpleasant but harmless like mustard or hot sauce. This is messy and annoying, but some people say it works.
Now, you might wonder, “Isn’t this a bit mean?” Not really. It’s more about teaching them a harmless lesson. After a couple of tries, they’ll figure out that egg-pecking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The bonus? It also helps keep real eggs safe, as the hens can’t tell the difference until they give it a peck.
Another great thing about ceramic eggs is they encourage hens to lay in the nesting boxes. Chickens like to lay where they see other eggs, so these fakes can help guide them to the right spot. This means fewer eggs laid in random, hard-to-find places.
In short, ceramic eggs are a clever, non-harmful way to outsmart your egg-eating hens. They’re easy to use, last a long time, and can save a lot of real eggs in the process.
When Chickens Won’t Stop Eating Their Eggs
If you find yourself in the tough spot where your chickens just won’t stop eating their eggs, despite trying all the tricks in the book, you’re facing a difficult decision. Some might suggest getting rid of the offending birds, but that’snot always necessary.
Before going down that road, consider a few other options. Isolating the known egg-eaters from the rest of the flock can sometimes help, as it prevents the behavior from spreading and gives you a chance to monitor and perhaps correct their behavior.
You could also re-evaluate their diet and environment to ensure there’s nothing you’ve missed. If, after all these efforts, the problem persists, finding a new home for the egg-eating chickens where they can be kept as pets rather than layers.
If you can’t rehome, eliminating the birds might be your only choice. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, our hens just don’t fit into the role we’ve hoped for them. I know it’s a hard decision, and it’s ultimately your call.