CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Your Chickens today CLICK HERE

Tricky problem of egg eating

PUBLISHED: 09:30 12 January 2014

Tricky problem of egg eating

Jeremy Hobson says:

Although some people do so, it is a mistake to feed your hens eggshells (cooked or not); this is most definitely ‘bad’ practice. The reason it has been done in the past is in the belief that the calcium from the shells will eventually pass through the body and make the shells of future eggs. This is wrong - if you do feel you need to add anything for such a purpose, you should purchase oyster-shell grit; having said that, a properly balanced manufactured feed should provide all that is required to ensure hard-shelled eggs. You must, though, give your chickens regular access to flint grit which is necessary to them to be able to grind their food (chickens obviously have no teeth!)

As to preventing your chickens from eating their eggs now they’ve started, the only real solution is to remove the culprit. It’s a drastic measure - and one you might not want to do; so, make sure the nestbox is always kept clean and eggs picked up as soon as is practicable after laying (any traces of egg shell or yolk will encourage the others to peck out of curiosity and, once they’ve started, will discover they quite like the taste). You could try buying a couple of ‘dummy’ eggs in the hope that when your birds peck at these, nothing happens and they lose interest. Keep nextboxes dark (but remember that mites like such places so nest boxes need regular cleaning and dusting with a proprietary powder or spray).

Old-fashioned remedies to prevent egg-eating include packing an egg with a hot English mustard paste and allowing hens to peck at that - the theory being that they will not like the taste and be dissuaded from pecking at any eggs laid in the future. This can, on occasions, be successful and will most certainly not harm the egg-eater.

More from Care and Advice

Friday, August 10, 2018

Electric fencing can provide valuable extra protection for your poultry

Read more
Friday, August 10, 2018

Coops across the land are set to become littered with feathers as chickens shed their overcoats. Julie Moore reveals how you can help your flock during this stressful period

Read more
Monday, July 16, 2018

If you have to move your flock, Julie Moore has some practical advice

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018

When prevention is better than cure

Read more
August 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018

The ebullient Rachel Misra runs a boarding service for chicken owners who jet off on holiday. Susie Kearley pays her a visit

Read more
August 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Julie Moore takes a look at how the pecking order is established

Read more
July 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Can I leave a hen in the nest box to hatch her eggs?

Read more
July 2018
Friday, June 8, 2018

Can a fox jump over the fence? Will my chickens be hurt?

Read more
July 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

In our second extract from her book How To Speak Chicken, writer Melissa Caughey considers play, trauma and loss

Read more
June 2018
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

David Herbert, of Hermit Crab Egg, tells how he got back on his feet after his poultry were killed

Read more
June 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Your Chickens monthly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read

Don't Miss...


Chickens Stateside

Fresh Eggs Daily

Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook