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Chickens love eggs

Broken eggs

Today, a bit of an egg disaster, around 20 eggs down, by far the biggest single egg loss in my brief egg-collecting career. The girls choose to do most of their laying in one nest box (there are six in a row), so  there’re usually around a couple of dozen eggs in there, conveniently waiting for pick-up. This time, there were only 8 or 10, all slimy with egg white and coated with shavings and droppings, with tiny bits of eggshell thoroughly mixed into the rest of the litter. What I think happened was, one of the eggs somehow broke, the girls jammed into the egg-packed nest in a feeding frenzy, their jostling and mad pecking broke some more, increasing the frenzy and the breaking, and so forth. As I was cleaning up the rest, one egg slipped and cracked, and half a dozen chickens went crazy slurping it up. Man, do they love eating eggs… I tossed the rest into a bucket (whereI  later took the pic)… I don’t expect this to be a new regular thing, as the girls don’t seem to be interested in actually trying to break eggs…though I’m sure they could learn.

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11 Comments

  1. I just went through this whole issue with my birds this fall. I had two nesting boxes, but didn’t have them enclosed so that I could line them with straw or sawdust. Once the birds found they could eat eggs, I found that I had broken ones every day. Once I finished the boxes off, and started filling them with sawdust the problem was solved. I got lots of great suggestions via my regular readers that have kept chickens longer than I. Not that you’ve asked for the advice, but I’d say you could probably do with more that one nesting box, unless you pick them up regularly throughout the day. Generally I have read that 1 box per 5 or so hens is appropriate.
    Hope the problem resolves itself! Best of luck
    P~

  2. RobG

    also, eggs break when the shells are weak – just sitting or stepping could cause it. Make sure they have a separate feeder that contains crushed oyster shell. I have 3 feeders, the oyster shell, whole grain (whatever is cheapest, right now it’s oats), and high protein enriched laying pellets. The birds know what they need and will eat accordingly.

    next, if they are breaking eggs themselves, then put a egg-shaped rock in there. that will break the habit (usually it’s one bad-guy chicken doing it).

  3. Art Blomquist

    And find that bad chicken. They make especially satisfying soup! They previous suggestions sound like good ones. I know in the winter our chickens don’t get out and the oyster shells get eaten a lot more than summer.

  4. Mathias

    Ah egg eaters, like the proverbial bad apple.  If the egg eating continues, you can also try isolating suspect hens and seeing if that makes a difference, lest the wrong hen get the chop!  Like feather pulling and cannibalism, egg eating has to be nipped in the bud before the other hens learn the behavior.

  5. Mike

    Gene Logesdon over at organictobe also has some suggestions on dealing with egg eaters.

  6. Gemini

    I’m tagging you with Green Meme #1.

  7. I also have numerous nesting boxes but they choose to lay in just two.  What, do they stand around waiting until one is done and then up into the box goes the next hen?  It reminds me of women waiting in line for the restroom and a concert.  Anyway I hope this is just a one time ordeal for you.  Egg eaters are sooooo annoying!  Chickens that is not people, lol. Kim

  8. granny miller

    Try feeding egg shells back to your hens.
    Grind or crush them up with a rolling pin.
    It will cut down on egg picking.

    To encourage hens to lay in a new box or boxes, seed the boxes with some wooden/marble or plastic eggs.
    Works like a a charm.
    Chickens just like people, sometimes assume the grass or bedding is always better somewhere else.

  9. After implementing all the wonderful tips above,  if egg eating is still happening, figure out which chicken(s) are doing it and punch their expiration card. Egg eating can get totally out of control and needs to eliminated.  Good luck!

  10. Thanks for all of the great tips! I’ve confirmed that I am now the proud owner of egg-eating chickens. I’ve been working on the problem. It’s kinda fascinating. I’ll report back! Those crazy girls…

  11. Gerry Matthews

     I have four barred rock hens laying, and one of the youngest systematically drops her egg or sits on it so heavily as to knock a hole in the small end of the shell.  The membrane doesn’t break so the egg is fine, but I would like to know how to correct this problem.  I tried putting pine bedding or sawdust in the box for padding but they kick it all out of the way and lay on the wood floor, ususally with no problem, but every day or so one shows up with a hole.  Any suggestions?

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