Chickens may display the strange but not uncommon behavior of pecking and eating the eggs that they lay. While there are a variety of reasons for a chicken to peck and eat its eggs, it is important for poultry owners to break this cannibalistic habit. Preventing your chicken from pecking at its eggs can become difficult once the bird gets used to the taste.
Things You'll Need
- Calcium supplement
- Oyster shell
Provide adequate space for your chickens to lay eggs. Prepare a nest box that measures 12 inches by 12 inches, in length and width. The size of this nest is large enough for your chicken to comfortably sit in it and lay eggs, yet it is compact, preventing the chicken from standing and moving around, which can encourage undesirable behavior like egg pecking.
Take the eggs out of the nest box as soon as the chicken lays them. The sooner you collect the eggs, the lesser the chances of them breaking or attracting the chicken's attention.
Observe your chickens to identify the offending bird. Look for chicken/s with pieces of eggshell or egg yolk stuck around their beak and quarantine them. Consider replacing the quarantined birds with new ones before other chickens in the coop imitate the offending bird/s and start pecking eggs.
Place oyster shells in the coop for your chickens to peck and feed on, or sprinkle a teaspoon of calcium supplement powder over every meal that they are fed. The oyster shells and calcium supplements will cure any calcium deficiency that the chickens may have, which may have prompted the egg-pecking behavior.
Provide a dish of milk for your chickens to drink from for at least a week. The calcium from the milk will discourage the chickens from pecking their eggs.
Tips & Warnings
- Use negative reinforcement, such as placing a golf ball or wooden egg in the nesting box. The chicken will be discouraged by pecking at the hard surface and be dissuaded from eating the real eggs in the future.
- Do not provide improper egg-laying environments, such as hard floor surfaces, on which the eggs can break easily and induce the chicken to eat them.
- Photo Credit eggs image by Maciej Mamro from Fotolia.com
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