Comprehending and Mitigating Egg-Eating Behavior in Chickens


Egg-eating may be both irritating and upsetting for poultry aficionados and farmers who rely on their hens for a consistent supply of eggs. While hens normally do not break open and swallow their own eggs, this unwanted behaviour might occur within a flock on occasion. This article dives into the reasons why birds eat eggs, how to prevent it, and tackles common misconceptions about the subject.

Understanding and Preventing Chicken Egg-Eating Behaviour

Image Credit: BackyardChickenCoops

Egg-Eating Causes:

Apart from the innate desire to swallow broken eggs, egg-eating behaviour is often influenced by three major factors:

  1. Boredom: Chickens, like all living things, require mental stimulation and activities to keep them entertained. In the absence of such enrichment, they may turn to smashing eggs for entertainment.
  2. Inadequate nutrition might cause hens to seek out alternative sources of nutrients, even if it means breaking and eating their own eggs.
  3. While less prevalent, some chickens may acquire obsessive egg-eating tendencies as a result of underlying mental health concerns. These cases are more difficult to handle.

Preventing Egg Consumption:

Preventing egg-eating behaviour requires addressing underlying issues as well as applying techniques to keep your chickens emotionally and physically fulfilled.

  1. Enrichment and entertainment: Providing a setting that stimulates hens’ natural behaviors might lower the danger of egg-eating dramatically. Consider the following approaches:
  • Enriched Coop Design: Include areas for chickens to explore, perch, dust-bathe, and engage in other natural behaviours in your coop design.
  • Puzzle Toys: Distract their focus away from eggs by providing puzzle toys or objects that need pecking and exploring.
  • Hanging Treats: Suspend treat balls with grains or veggies to encourage chickens to peck and play while also satisfying their foraging instincts.
  • Break up the line of sight within the coop to reduce boredom-induced stress and promote exploration.
Understanding and Preventing Chicken Egg-Eating Behaviour 2

Image Credit: Homestead and Chill

  1. Nutritional Considerations: Provide a well-balanced and appropriate feed to your hens to prevent them from seeking extra nourishment through their eggs. Consult a poultry nutritionist to develop the best feed for your flock.
  2. Collect Eggs Immediately: Collecting eggs from nests on a regular basis lowers the possibility of hens discovering damaged eggs, which can lead to egg-eating behaviour. Consider building roll-away nesting boxes to keep eggs protected from inquisitive beaks.
  3. Reduce Boredom: For restricted chickens, provide items like perches, dust-bathing spaces, and nesting boxes to their habitat. Make sure free-roaming flocks have enough area to explore and engage in natural behaviours.
  4. Address Nutritional Deficiencies: Collaborate with a veterinarian or poultry nutritionist to develop a balanced diet that fits your chickens’ nutritional needs and keeps them from seeking out alternate food sources.


Chicken egg-eating behaviour is a stressful issue that can have a negative influence on egg production and emotional well-being. You may effectively reduce the danger of egg-eating in your flock by recognizing the underlying causes and taking preventive measures. Providing a stimulating habitat, treating nutritional inadequacies, and ensuring timely egg collection are all important stages in raising healthier and happier chickens. When breaking old egg-eating habits, remember that patience and persistent effort are required.