Question My chickens have begun eating the eggs before I can collect them each day. Is there a reason they have started this? Can I do something to stop them?
Answer Chickens that eat their own eggs are a problem as it can be a hard habit to break. Try the following. Collect eggs promptly. Hens usually lay in the early morning, so make sure you have the eggs gathered by noon. Darken your nesting boxes. Hang old towels or pieces of sheet in front of the nesting boxes to block the light. The hens will still get in the boxes to lay. You can leave some golf balls in the nests which they will try to peck and will find too hard. You can also buy fake chicken eggs if the golf balls don’t work. When the chicken tries to peck the fake eggs they can’t break them.
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Trim hens beaks. Hens with fully sharp beaks are more likely to cannibalize their eggs. Provide a low stress environment. Hens that are overcrowded or bored are more likely to eat eggs. Allow the hens free-range time in a safely enclosed chicken yard, and maintain a small flock. Make sure your hens are getting adequate calcium and Vitamin D in their diet. Deficiencies of these nutrients make egg-eating attractive and make it easier by producing weak-shelled eggs that are easily cracked open.
Feeding Oyster shells to your chickens will harden up the eggshells. Identify the hen or hens that are eating the eggs. Eliminate egg-eaters from the flock before they spread the habit or start on the others’ eggs. If nothing else works you can take out all the bedding in their nests and put your nests on an angle with a collection tray that the birds can’t get to. When they lay an egg it will roll into the collection tray and they won’t be able to eat their eggs.
I hope you have some success with these tips. Egg eating is a problem. You might also want to make sure that other pets such as cats are not getting into the coop and eating the eggs.