Can Chickens Eat Their Own Eggs?

Chickens will sometimes eat their own eggs. Chicken eggs are high in protein, while their shells have abundant calcium. Chickens that lack calcium and protein in their diet eat their eggs to compensate for the lack of protein and calcium.

However, egg-eating can be disastrous for chicken keepers since it is a habit that is pretty difficult to break.

Is It Bad for Chickens If They Eat Their Own Eggs?

Your chickens won’t die or experience health issues if they consume their eggs. Egg consumption in chickens isn’t harmful, and it isn’t an abnormal behavior either. Egg consumption shows that something could be wrong with your birds. For instance, it is possible that your egg-eating chickens could be having stress or health problems.

Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Eggs?

Chickens eat their eggs for different reasons. It’s best to understand why your birds are eating their eggs to help you fix the problem. Below are the reasons explaining why your chickens are eating their eggs.

Insufficient Nesting Boxes

Chickens like privacy when it comes to laying time. Hens go the extra mile to search for discrete nesting spots to lay eggs. Hens will have to share the few nesting boxes if there aren’t enough nest boxes.

Some hens will break their eggs in the process, while others might start eating their eggs. The odds of hens eating their eggs are high if there are few nesting boxes. Therefore, provide your laying flock with enough nesting boxes.

Overcrowding

Overcrowding in the chicken coop can be a recipe for infections, fights, dirt, and diseases. Living in an overcrowded coop raises the possibility of chickens breaking and even eating their eggs.

When living in crowded places, chickens tend to lay everywhere, even in the wrong places, including feeding areas. The presence of eggs can excite chickens, particularly non-laying chickens. These chickens are likely to start pecking at the eggs.

Accidental Discovery

An egg can break accidentally at any time. The excitement that comes with seeing the inside of an egg can make some chickens start eating the broken egg. The chickens will gradually develop a liking for eggs, and egg-eating will become a long-term habit among your chickens.

Incomplete Diet

Laying hens require between 4 grams and 5 grams of calcium each day. Therefore, egg-laying hens are likely to eat their eggs if they don’t get enough calcium from their daily foods. Eggshells have around 40% calcium.

Hens desperately need this mineral to produce eggs with strong shells. Your hens will develop an urge to consume eggshells if they can’t obtain sufficient calcium from the foods they eat every day.

Hunger and Dehydration

Lack of enough feed and water can lead to a significant reduction in egg production. Hunger and dehydration are part of the reasons why chickens start pecking at their eggs. A hungry and thirsty chicken is desperate for food, and it is likely to eat anything, including its eggs. A low-protein diet can encourage chickens to start eating eggs as they try to derive the nutrients they require.

Greed

Some chickens are just greedy, and they will eat their eggs not because of hunger but purely because of greed. Considering chickens are omnivorous, they are likely to eat anything, although most chickens will be fine with their regular foods. However, some chickens are pretty greedy, and they won’t be reluctant to peck at their eggs.

Boredom

Boredom affects chickens, too, just like humans. Your chickens can do anything to remain active, especially when they remain inactive for long. Your birds can resort to pecking at their eggs because of boredom. Chickens will never stop eating their eggs once they discover that they taste fantastic.

Curiosity

It’s easy to mistake chickens’ innocence for foolishness. However, chickens are intelligent birds, courtesy of their superb sensory inabilities. Hens may peck at their eggs due to curiosity. After breaking their eggs, the hens will be interested in tasting the egg contents. They will finally develop a knack for eggs after discovering how awesome their eggs taste.

Is it Healthy for Chickens to Eat Their Own Eggshells?

Yes, it is pretty healthy for chickens to eat their eggshells because the eggshells are rich in calcium. Some chicken owners give their birds eggshells to increase their birds’ calcium intake. Eggshells are perhaps the best natural source of calcium for hens experiencing a calcium deficiency.

If you are considering adding eggshells to your chickens’ regular diet, it’s best to dry and crush the eggshells first to make it hard for chickens to recognize the eggshells.

How to Stop Chickens from Eating Their Eggs?

Although chickens will eat their eggs at some point, egg-eating can be a nasty habit to break. Worse still, you might have no eggs at your table if your birds continue eating their eggs.

Fortunately, you can do easy things to discourage your chickens from eating their eggs. Kindly see these insights into how to stop your chickens from eating their eggs.

  • Analyze Your Chickens Diet -The most probable explanation for chickens eating their eggs is a nutritional deficiency. Chickens need to have sufficient calcium and protein in their diet for optimal egg production. The two are vital for chickens’ egg production and their overall health. Assess your chickens’ diet to see if they lack these nutrients.
  • Get Sufficient Nest Boxes -Chickens are likely to eat their eggs if they lack enough nest boxes. Ensure your hens have ample nest boxes to reduce their possibility of eating eggs due to limited nest boxes. Every nest box should serve at least three hens.
  • Remove Damaged Eggs -Remove all the broken eggs from the coop before the chickens start pecking at the broken eggs and gradually start developing a liking for eggs.
  • Collect Eggs Frequently-Chickens can start eating their eggs if they remain in the nesting boxes for long, especially when the birds are experiencing boredom. Collect the eggs before your chickens start pecking at their eggs.

Can Baby Chicks Eat Boiled Chicken Eggs?

Yes, baby chicks can eat boiled eggs. Baby chicks struggle to eat uncooked eggs, and that’s why boiling the eggs will make them soft for your baby chicks to digest. Boiled eggs are full of protein, making them suitable for nourishing baby chicks with protein deficiencies.

Conclusion

Chickens can eat their eggs, although they will gradually form a habit of eating their eggs over time. Therefore, you might not get a single egg on your table if your birds start eating their eggs. Address whatever causes that are making your chickens eat their eggs.

Chickens   Updated: July 11, 2022
avatar Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too.

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