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STOP CHICKENS FROM EATING EGGS

2021-09-22

A chicken that eats eggs usually starts the behavior when an egg breaks in the nest. She tastes it and says, hey this is a good meal. She starts pecking at other eggs, it becomes a habit, and other hens learn how to do it by watching. Finding the culprits is easy – they have egg on their faces.

David Frame is an extension poultry specialist at Utah State University. He says the best thing to do is collect the eggs as soon as you can and keep their beaks and toenails trimmed. He doesn’t recommend putting artificial eggs in the nest because it could make the hens broody. Filling eggs with something nasty like mustard doesn’t matter to them because they don’t have the same taste receptors that we do. And, they’ll get used to it.

Frame says another trick is distraction.

"One thing that might get their mind off of it a little bit is leafy hay that’s hung from the ceiling to allow them to pick at it a little bit. I think it gives them something to do, and it also gives them some vitamins and things that if for some reason they’re lacking a little bit in their nutritional intake, that kind of helps," says Frame.

Always have two-to-three inches of bedding such as pine shavings in the nest and make nests that are slanted.

"So that the egg rolls away to the back of the nest and them you can gather them from the back side, and the hens don’t get the chance to get to it anyway. It’s a bad disease, it’s a psychological disease, but it’s something that can be fixed," he says. "If after everything you’ve tried it doesn’t work, you may just consider getting rid of those few hens and getting some new chicks in and starting new where they haven’t learned that behavior."

If you’ve tried a lot of things to discourage egg eating and it won’t stop, you might just have to start over again with a new flock.


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