Why is Broody Hen Eating Her Eggs?
Although not common, broody hens may sometimes start eating their eggs. Broody hens eating their eggs is a sign of cannibalism, which you need to stop.
Calcium deficiency can make your broody hen eat her eggs. Your hen will also eat her eggs if it has low calcium levels.
5 Reasons Broody Hen Is Eating Her Eggs
Hens eat their eggs for different reasons. What makes one hen eat her eggs isn’t the exact reason another hen will eat her eggs. It would be wise if you looked into why your broody hen is resorting to eating her eggs rather than incubating them.
Here are the five top reasons broody hens eat their eggs:
– Unfertilized Egg
Broody hens can turn to their eggs when they realize they aren’t fertile. They see no need to sit on their unfertilized eggs, yet they won’t hatch anyway. Therefore, they will start eating their unfertilized eggs due to disappointment.
Broody hens can tell whether the eggs are fertile within days. Therefore, if your brood hen starts eating her eggs a few days after sitting on the eggs, the chances the eggs aren’t fertile are pretty high.
– Broken or Damaged Egg
A broody hen may accidentally damage or break her eggs and then start eating her eggs. With time, your hen will have a taste for her eggs. Soon, eating eggs will become a habit, forcing your broody hen to eat all her eggs.
The more your broody hen eats her eggs, the more she will develop a knack for eating eggs.
– Too Many Eggs
A broody hen may have too many eggs, making her unable to cover all of them. This is usually a problem that most inexperienced and young broody hens have. As a result, the broody hen might start eating the extra eggs to enable her to cover the remaining eggs.
Nonetheless, over time, this will be a problem since the hen might pick a bad habit of eating her eggs.
– Dead Egg
If your broody hen has been sitting on many eggs, stopping her from covering them adequately, the eggs will start dying. Broody hens usually eat unfertilized or dead eggs to keep their nests clean and save the live eggs.
– Cannibalistic Behavior
Broody hens can develop cannibalistic behavior when they have very low calcium levels and nutrition deficiencies. Calcium deficiency makes chickens start seeking out a supplemental diet.
Broody hens usually eat eggshells to get the calcium they require. If your broody hen starts eating her eggs, she could be having calcium and nutrition and therefore add calcium-rich food to her diet.
How to Stop Broody Hen From Eating Her Eggs?
Although egg-eating among broody hens can negatively affect your chicken rearing efforts, you can stop your broody hens from eating their eggs. Here are some insights to help you stop your broody hen from eating her eggs.
– Fix Her Diet
Start by giving your broody hen a balanced and nutritious diet. In most instances, your hen could be eating her eggs due to nutrition and calcium deficiency. Add plenty of calcium to her diet.
Crushed eggshells are the best source of calcium for broody hens. Eggshells are also easy to find, besides being economical. However, crush the eggshells thoroughly lest you affect your hen’s gizzard.
– Make Use of Dummy Eggs
Wooden eggs, ceramic eggs, and golf balls are a suitable trick for discouraging your broody hens from eating their eggs. Your broody hen will give up after pecking at the dummy eggs.
The hen will stop pecking at live eggs, ultimately helping you stop the bad habit of eating eggs. You can use this trick to encourage the hen to sit on her eggs.
– Stop Your Hen From Sitting on Too Many Eggs
Your broody hen is likely to break her eggs if you let her sit on too many eggs. Since she won’t be able to cover all the eggs adequately, she might end up destroying her eggs.
Moreover, some of the eggs might go bad, encouraging your hen to start eating her eggs. Therefore, ensure the hen isn’t sitting on too many eggs.
– Remove The Bad Eggs From Her Nest
Your broody hen will certainly eat her eggs if they go bad. Therefore, keep monitoring the state of the eggs and remove the bad eggs before she starts eating them as a way of discarding the bad eggs.
Moreover, ensure your hen doesn’t sit on unfertilized eggs because she will eat them once she notices they aren’t fertile. Chickens, including broody hens, are pretty intelligent, and therefore your hen will know when she is sitting on unfertilized eggs.
– Cushion Her Nest
Place soft materials such as straw, pads, or hay in your hen’s nest to prevent the eggs from breaking. Soft materials also help make the nest comfortable for your broody hen when sitting on the eggs.
Cushioning the nest will help avoid unnecessary breakages that can encourage egg eating. Also, clean the nest immediately if they are any broken eggs.
– Fill Broken Eggs With Mustard or Soap
Hens hate the taste of mustard and soap. If your hen breaks some of her eggs, intentionally or accidentally, you can fill the broken eggs with soap or mustard.
She won’t dare to eat any eggs because of the awful taste she will get after tasting mustard or soap. Furthermore, your broody hen won’t attempt to break any egg in the nest.
– Darken Her Nest
Chickens don’t see in the darkness, and therefore your hen won’t turn to her eggs if her nest is dark or dim. You can put some curtains in her nest to make it look dark. The hen will concentrate on sitting on her eggs, making her less likely to eat the eggs.
Can You Replace a Broody Hen?
Yes, you can replace your broody hen if you see that she will not become a good mother to their chicks. If the hen starts leaving the nest frequently or starts breaking and eating her eggs, it is recommended to replace her with another broody hen.
Egg eating among broody hens is a terrible habit that can spell doom for your poultry business. Fortunately, though, it doesn’t take plenty of effort to stop a broody hen from eating her eggs. Take action as soon you notice your broody hens are eating their eggs.