Seven Major Reasons Why Chickens Eat Their Eggs and How to Stop It

Seven Major Reasons Why Chickens Eat Their Eggs and How to Stop It

Ever wondered why chickens eat their eggs? It’s a strange behavior that can be seen across the poultry world – from backyard chicken coops to commercial egg farms. While it may seem counterintuitive, there are some important biological and behavioral reasons why chickens eat their eggs – and why it’s important for their health. Understanding why chickens eat their eggs can help us better manage and care for them, as well as understand what’s normal and what’s not. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons why chickens eat their eggs and the practical implications for chicken keepers.

Here are seven major reasons why chickens might start eating their eggs and how to stop it.

What Causes Chickens Eat Their Eggs?

Chicken enthusiasts might be dismayed to find their hens eating their eggs. But before you panic, it’s important to understand why chickens might eat their eggs in the first place. There are several reasons, some of which are more concerning than others.

The most common reason is that the hen is experiencing stress. This can be caused by several factors, including changes in their environment, fear, or being disturbed while nesting. In some cases, hens might start eating their eggs as a way to relieve this stress.

Another reason hens might eat their eggs is due to a lack of calcium in their diet. Eggs are a good source of calcium, so if the hen isn’t getting enough from her food, she might start eating her eggs as a way to supplement her diet.

See also  The Pros and Cons of Rhode Island Red Chickens

Hens might also eat their eggs if they’re sick or have a parasite. In some cases, the egg will be infected and the hen will eat it to get rid of the infection. And finally, sometimes hens will just eat their eggs because they’re bored or have nothing else to do.

Stress and Boredom

If your chickens are constantly pecking at their eggs, it’s likely because they’re looking for something to do. Chickens are instinctively curious animals, and when they’re cooped up in a small space, they can get bored quickly. This boredom can lead to stress, which in turn can lead to egg-eating.

The best way to prevent boredom and alleviate stress is to provide your chickens with plenty of toys and activities to keep them occupied. Rotating new items in and out of the chicken coop will keep them engaged, and you can also try providing them with treats like live insects or fresh fruit and vegetables.

Inadequate Diet

Chickens that eat their eggs are usually doing so because they’re not getting the proper nutrition. When a hen’s diet is deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, she may start nipping at her eggs as a way to get those nutrients.

This is particularly common in young hens, who are still growing and developing. If their diet is lacking in, for example, calcium, they may start to eat their eggs as a way to compensate. So one way to stop this behavior is to make sure your hens are eating a balanced diet that includes all the nutrients they need.

You can also give your chickens access to oyster shells or other calcium supplements to help ensure they’re getting enough of this nutrient.

Hormonal Imbalances and Laying Cycle Irregularities

Hormonal imbalances and laying cycle irregularities can also be a major cause of egg-eating. If chickens are free to roam and mingle, they can become overstimulated, which causes them to lay eggs too frequently. This disrupts the hormonal balance that regulates the normal cycle of eating and laying eggs.

See also  Five Essential Steps For Successful Broiler Farming: What You Need To Know!

If your chickens are overstimulated, their bodies will start producing too much estrogen, which causes them to lay eggs without breaking open the shell to eat them. So if your flock is laying eggs too frequently or having irregular cycles, you should consider providing them with more nesting boxes, reducing their stress levels, and trying feed that has higher levels of calcium.

Spending more time with your chickens and providing them with plenty of other things to eat, like vegetables and fruits can also help reduce egg eating caused by hormonal imbalances or irregularities in the laying cycle. You could also provide a treat like mealworms now and then so they won’t be tempted by the white shells on their eggs.

How to Prevent Your Chickens From Eating Their Eggs

If your chickens already have a habit of eating eggs, the only way to prevent them from doing so is by removing the eggs as soon as they are laid. This can be done by regularly checking nests for eggs and removing them before the chickens have a chance to eat them.

You can also try providing your chickens with plenty of food and treats so they don’t feel the need to eat their eggs. Scattering treats, such as mealworms or chopped vegetables, around the coop will help keep them distracted and interested in something else. Additionally, make sure they always have access to high-quality feed and fresh water. If your feed looks stale or has mold on it, replace it immediately.

Proper Nutrition, Prompt Egg Collection, and Enrichment Activities

The sixth and perhaps the most important step in curbing egg-eating behavior is to ensure that your chickens have ample access to proper nutrition, as well as prompt egg collection and enrichment activities. A balanced diet provides your birds with the energy, protein, vitamin, and mineral levels they need. A few signs of poor nutrition in chickens include dull comb color, weight loss, and slowed growth.

See also  Keep Your Flock Healthy: benefits of Apple cider vinegar to chickens

To prevent chickens from accidentally pecking and eating their eggs, you should collect them promptly on a daily basis. If possible, store them in a cool area or refrigerate them to keep the shells hard. As for enrichment activities, offer your chickens items such as scratch grains, weeds, grains, and seeds so that they have something else to occupy their time other than eating their eggs.

Ensure Suitable Housing and Environmental Conditions

The seventh major reason why chickens might eat their eggs is that their housing or environmental conditions aren’t suitable. This means that if your chickens live in an area with inadequate ventilation or exposure to the elements, they may be prone to cannibalizing their eggs.

To prevent this, make sure your chicken coop and run provide a comfortable, safe space with plenty of air circulation. It should also have adequate protection from the elements so that your chickens don’t get too cold or hot during extreme weather conditions.

Ensuring suitable housing and environmental conditions for your chickens is vital to keeping them happy, healthy, and laying fresh eggs for you to eat. If you keep these tips in mind when caring for your flock, you can rest assured knowing that they won’t be tempted to snack on their eggs!


Chickens can be very egg-eating culprits, but with a few changes to their environment and routine, you can help to stop the habit. Try some of these tips to keep your chickens from eating their eggs and keep the egg production cycle going strong.

Sharing is caring

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *