Imagine entering the coop one day and finding empty eggshells all over the place. To your surprise, you notice a couple of your chickens are busy eating up their own eggs. That’s terrible news. You begin to ponder what could be the reason the chickens are eating their own eggs.
The truth is that egg eating is unacceptable behavior that must be immediately eliminated if it’s noticed. I compare egg eating to cannibalism, another serious challenge to many farmers out there!
However, before taking any action, you need to understand what caused this dirty habit on your farm.
Below are six main reasons why chickens eat their own eggs
Nutritional imbalances or deficiency is one of the leading causes of chicken eating eggs. Eggshells are high in calcium, and the content of the eggs, especially the yolk, is rich in protein.
So, if the diet has an insufficient supply of calcium and protein, your hens may eat their own eggs to compensate for the lack of these nutritional requirements.
One thing your chickens shouldn’t discover is the taste of an egg. If this happens even with one chicken, it can result in widespread egg-eating behavior that is very hard to stop. Chickens will quickly discover the taste of an egg due to interactions with broken eggs.
Interactions with broken eggs
If you let your chickens interact with broken eggs continually, a few flock members will begin experimenting with the eggs as food.
Even if the original egg breakage was accidental, chickens that have tasted the eggs would now begin to peck and eat unbroken eggs. This may gradually develop into a habit of eating eggs.
Another reason why chickens eat their own eggs is the delayed collection of eggs from the laying nests. If you’re accustomed to letting the eggs pile up on the laying nests or around the coop, it’s time to change and begin a more responsible and timely collection.
You don’t want to let your chicken learn to eat their own eggs just because you didn’t collect the eggs on time. Notice that timely collection reduces the risk of egg breaking or cracking and prevents your chickens from having a taste of the eggs.
Stress and boredom
Stress and boredom can explain why chickens eat their own eggs. This is because when chickens are stressed and bored, they become unhappy, due to which some flock members may begin peaking at the eggs.