Help, my chicken breaks the eggs
A nice side effect of keeping chickens are the tasty eggs that can be collected and eaten almost daily. Unfortunately, it can now happen that one finds broken eggs in the loft. Unfortunately, this usually indicates that one or more chickens break the eggs and usually eat them. It is difficult and undesirable behavior of a chicken and it is best to unlearn this behavior as soon as possible. There are various methods for this, one of which will usually work in practice.
A chicken that eats eggs
It may sound strange, but most chickens really like eggs. Once they find out that the eggs they lay have delicious contents, they will definitely want to eat this treat more often.
Pecking the eggs can have various causes. It is important to find out the cause first so that after unlearning, the chickens can prevent the chickens from pecking the eggs again.
The most common cause of egg pecking is that the chickens have come into contact with broken eggs for some reason. This could be because they accidentally crushed the eggs themselves, or because the eggs bumped into each other or fell to the ground. Once chickens realize that the contents of the eggs taste good, they will often try to break the eggshell themselves in order to get the contents.
Chickens that are deficient in calcium can supplement these deficiencies by eating the eggshells. This results in broken eggs, but also in the discovery of the delicious content of the eggs.
Sometimes out of boredom chickens start pecking at all kinds of objects. If they start pecking at the eggs, this can cause the eggs to break. This can lead to a habit of pecking the eggs.
Lack of water
Lack of water can also cause the eggs to break. The chickens try to get moisture in all kinds of ways and one of the ways can be eating the eggs. A hen that has started to eat eggs will often continue to do so, so replenishing the water supply is usually not a method to stop pecking eggs.
A disadvantage of broken eggs in a cage is that it can lead to poor hygiene. Especially on hot days, chicken egg residue can cause a lot of bacterial growth.
Once chickens have started pecking and eating the eggs, this will usually become a habit. This means that the hen or hens will break any egg they find. It is therefore important to break the habit. There are several simple methods for this.
By placing a number of fake eggs in the cage that cannot be broken, the chickens will give up pecking eggs at some point. The chicken is not rewarded because pecking the eggs does not yield any results. If this method is used, it is necessary that the real eggs are removed from the cage as soon as possible. The chicken should not get the chance to break it and get a tasty reward.
Fill empty eggs
Another method is to fill blown eggs with something sharp that chickens don’t like, like mustard. The chicken will notice that the contents don’t taste good and will usually stop eating the eggs after being fooled a few times. Do not fill the eggs with sambal. Birds are not sensitive to capsaicin, the hot substance from the chili peppers in the sambal. For chickens, sambal will therefore taste just like a paprika puree, which they will most likely like. This is certainly not conducive to unlearning the egg pecking process.
Collect eggs quickly
If the eggs are collected just after they are laid, the chickens will not have the chance to break the eggs. If this is done long enough, the chickens will eventually forget that the eggs taste so good and they will eventually stop trying to break the eggs. A disadvantage of this method is that it is not always easy to remove the eggs immediately, especially if there are several chickens laying an egg at different times. If the chicken sees the opportunity to break an egg anyway, it has to start all over again. It is not clear when the chicken has unlearned from pecking eggs and this method will therefore have to be carried out properly for a long time.
Set the chicken aside
Often it is only one chicken that breaks the eggs, after which several chickens eat the delicious egg. Once it has been found out which chicken breaks the eggs, this chicken can be set apart from the other chickens. This will in any case prevent all eggs from being broken. If this chicken is prevented from reaching its own eggs, for example by collecting them right away or using a roll away nest where the eggs roll from the nest into a lower soft nest, she will eventually peck the eggs. unlearn so that the chicken can be put back with the rest.
Methods to prevent egg pecking
Although the methods for unlearning egg pecking are often effective, in this situation prevention is better than cure. There are a number of things to keep in mind when keeping chickens to prevent the chickens from eating their own eggs.
Don’t give an egg
It is advisable not to familiarize the chickens with the taste of eggs. Therefore, never give the chickens the remains of fried or boiled eggs or dishes that contain pieces of egg. Products in which the egg is no longer recognizable, such as for example pasta such as pasta or noodles in which egg has been processed, cannot do any harm in themselves. But leftover fried rice with scrambled eggs is not a good idea.
It is sometimes said that eggshells are good for the calcium requirement of a chicken. While the bowls certainly contain a good amount of lime, it is not such a good idea to give these to chickens. Regularly eating egg shells can be a reason for a chicken to eat the egg shells of the freshly laid eggs, with all the consequences that entails.
Provide plenty of space and distraction
Chickens in a spacious run with plenty of distraction will be able to enjoy scratching and dust baths all day long. There is no need for them to break eggs out of boredom. Therefore, make sure that the run is spacious enough, that is, at least one square meter per chicken. Also provide good planting and sand for a dust bath.
Spacious laying pens
If too many chickens lay eggs in a small space, it is more likely that one of the eggs could accidentally break. A broken egg will tell the chickens that their own eggs taste great. This is therefore often a reason for chickens to peck their own eggs. Therefore, make sure that the chickens have the space to lay an egg so that there is less chance that the chickens will smash their eggs. Also make sure that there are never too many eggs in the nest so that they can bump into each other and break.
Chickens that are deficient in lime can lay eggs with a brittle shell. Since these eggs will break quickly, they can lead to egg pecking. In addition, a shortage of lime can cause a chicken to eat egg shells to replenish the calcium supply. Therefore, provide chickens with enough calcareous green food and chicken grit to supplement the lime supply.