It is common for chickens to eat their eggs , whether we are talking about a hen as a pet or the chickens that are part of the meat industry or eggs. However, although we have mentioned that it is habitual behavior, we should not ignore that it is also an alarm signal that indicates that an important aspect of the life of these animals is not being properly attended to.
In this article by Animal Expert we will explain why chickens eat their eggs , reviewing the main causes that motivate this behavior and the changes that can be made to improve the well-being, health or conditions of these individuals.
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- Is it bad for chickens to eat their eggs?
- Why do chickens eat their own eggs?
- How to prevent chickens from eating their eggs?
Is it bad for chickens to eat their eggs?
Eating eggs in chickens is not abnormal behavior and, in fact, is not harmful to their health. However, when it happens, we must know that something is wrong . We must pay attention to possible health, stress and behavioral problems, so it will be vital to spend more time improving the living conditions that we are offering to chickens. Likewise, it is a behavior that can be generalized in other individuals, so in no case should it be ignored.
We can notice this behavior in the absence of eggs or decreased laying. It is also possible to observe egg remains in the beak or in the feathers of some of the chickens. It is not so frequent to find residues in the nests, because when the chickens eat their eggs they ingest them completely, including the shell.
In most cases, chickens acquire this habit accidentally, especially when an egg is accidentally broken. We must know that the consumption of eggs helps them increase their levels of calcium, fat and protein , so it is not strange that they continue to do so if they suffer from feeding problems, even eating other eggs that are not theirs.
However, why do chickens eat their eggs? What motivates this behavior? In the following section we will review the most frequent causes:
Why do chickens eat their own eggs?
Do you want to know how to prevent chickens from eating their own eggs? Although there are systems that help to avoid this behavior in a forced way, such as the use of ponderos , we must know that this method does not help to directly solve the cause of the problem, as it can also cause higher levels of stress and anxiety, which They will directly affect the quality of life of chickens and the quality of their eggs.
Therefore, the best way to prevent chickens from eating their eggs is to identify the problem that is causing this behavior and act on it. Here we show you the 3 main reasons that explain why chickens eat their eggs:
There are various diseases of poultry that can affect our chickens, such as bronchitis or the presence of parasites, internal and external, such as the red mite . Therefore, if, in addition to observing that your chickens eat their own eggs, you also detect abnormal symptoms, we advise you to consult a specialized veterinarian , who will help you rule out the presence of diseases and advise you so that you can find the cause of the problem.
2. Nutritional problems and lack of water
Another reason that explains why chickens eat their eggs is nutritional deficiencies . When your diet is not properly balanced and you witness the absence of certain essential nutrients for its correct development and / or maintenance, it is very likely that you will begin to manifest behavioral problems related to food, in this case with the consumption of your own eggs.
As we have previously commented, eggs are an excellent source of fats, protein and calcium, so it is worth checking that the contributions and supplements are correctly administered. Once again we advise seeking professional guidance from a specialized veterinarian, especially when we are in the process of reproducing chickens .
On the other hand, the consumption of water is as important and necessary as it is the contribution of a properly balanced diet. A dehydrated hen can resort to consuming eggs to ingest the fluids her body requires. Although this can happen at any time of the year, it is more common in summer. We must not forget the importance of offering fresh and fresh water to our chickens.
3. Stress and anxiety
Along with the appearance of pathologies and nutritional deficiencies, stress is the third risk factor that can explain why chickens eat their own eggs. The overcrowding , ie, accumulation of individuals in an extremely small space, is one of the main problems that motivate, common in chicken farms. Poor nests may also be . On these occasions we can observe the consumption of eggs among many other abnormal behaviors.
Another reason that may explain the development of stress is poor lighting , which is truly important for chickens. In intensive breeding farms development is usually stimulated through related techniques that, unfortunately, end up negatively impacting the well-being of these individuals, leading to the appearance of high levels of stress.
As in other animals, stress triggers abnormal behaviors in chickens, which include pecking between individuals (feathers plucking each other or themselves), the appearance of stereotypes (repetitive movements with no apparent purpose), etc. In these cases it is essential to pay attention to enrichment, well-being, the space in which individuals reside and the ethology of the species, among others.
How to prevent chickens from eating their eggs?
Now that you know the main reasons that explain this behavior, it is time to offer you the possible solutions that you can apply:
1. Offers a quality balanced diet
Feeding is crucial to keep your chickens healthy. You must offer them a diet that contains the necessary contributions of protein, vitamins, minerals, good fats and calcium. We must know that chickens have a tendency to suffer from calcium deficiency , especially in laying hens, which directly affects their health and the eggshell, which becomes weaker and more brittle.
Therefore, it is essential to offer chickens a complete diet perfectly adapted to their needs and life stage. If you suspect that this is your case, consult a veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis and consult the option of offering supplements .
2. It improves the well-being of individuals
The distribution and organization of the chicken coop is essential to keep your chickens happy, so you must take into account the space you have when adopting some of these birds.
The cage nests should be placed at a certain distance from the ground, as well as having an adequate, fluffy, abundant and comfortable padding. The ideal is to offer a minimum space of 600 cm2 per bird , encourage foraging behavior with perches to perch and free access to a vegetated outdoor area during the day. [one]
In addition, it is advisable that the lighting is poor , so it is not recommended to place light bulbs, much less have them on all day. With this you will not only help the nests to be dim, but you will also prevent the temperature from increasing with the sun’s rays.
Also remember that chickens are very sensitive to loud noises or sudden movements, so you should install nests and spaces away from any stimulus that may cause stress or anxiety.
3. Remove eggs frequently
One way to prevent chickens from eating their eggs is by minimizing the chances of them doing so, that is, by frequently removing them. It is recommended to perform this routine twice a day , past 10 in the morning and at the end of the afternoon.
4. Offers adequate preventive medicine
Apart from consulting a veterinarian to rule out the presence of various pathologies and health problems that may be causing this behavior, offering quality veterinary follow-up to all individuals on a regular basis is essential to prevent and detect any health problem. Never forget the importance of having the advice of a professional.