Stopping Egg Eaters! If you’ve discovered that you have an egg-eater, here are a few things you can try to break the habit.
Collect eggs more frequently throughout the day : Some hens will peck at eggs out of curiosity or to “make room” for their own eggs. It’s also possible that a larger, heavier hen is stepping on and breaking eggs with thinner shells that are already in the nest box when she enters.
Rebalance your hens’ diet : If you discover that the eggs are indeed being eaten and not just broken, it could be that certain hens are mineral or protein deficient. Do some hens get bullied off their feed? (Also a factor in accidentally broken eggs.) Do certain hens spend more time in the coop, in nest boxes when they aren’t laying, on the roost, or hiding? They may not be eating properly because they’re afraid of the bossier hens (or roosters).
Change the nest boxes : Sometimes an egg breaks in a nest box and that box becomes the “hot spot” for egg-breaking. Try changing out the nesting material, moving the box, or blocking it off for a few days so the hens can’t get in there.
Leave fake eggs in the boxes : Ceramic or wooden eggs don’t break and don’t taste good. It may take several days to break the habit so don’t remove the fake eggs too soon. Beware though – if you have a “resident” snake that you allow to hang out and grab an egg once in a while in exchange for rodent control, fake eggs are not a good option to use, as the snake cannot tell the difference – eating a fake egg will almost always kill the snake.
Leave “booby eggs” : You can retrain hens to stop eating eggs by leaving eggs that taste terrible. The trick is two-fold: finding something that tastes bad enough that the hens won’t like it, and also managing to remember to save an entire eggshell with which to do this in the first place! Many folks suggest filling a blown egg with mustard.
Bring your hens treats once in a while : Whether you are trying to break boredom or break an egg-eating habit, little goodies like fresh vegetable, suet blocks, flock blocks, or mealworms will put a little excitement into your hens’ routine.
Free range your hens : If you have enough space and adequate predator protection, let your girls roam more. Chickens who roam will forage more and they actually seem to prefer hunting and scratching to “sitting and pecking” in a nest box.
Do you have additional tried and true methods for helping to retrain egg-eaters? Let us know in the comments below!