Q: Why do hens eat their own eggs? How can I stop them?
A: Diets low in protein can encourage egg eating simply because the hens are trying to get the nutrition they need. Make sure your are feeding your flock a good, quality feed, and that you aren't supplementing with too much scratch or corn, or other low protein treats, either.
You just don't want to see something like this when you go to gather eggs:
The trouble is, once egg eating has begun, it can be very difficult to break the habit. Here are a few tips to try:
Collect eggs regularly
To stop egg eating, collect your eggs regularly. The faster you are, the fewer opportunities your "girls" will have to be naughty and eat those eggs!
Seed your nest box with wooden eggs
You might try replacing eggs in your nests with golf balls or wooden eggs. Instead of being rewarded for their pecking with a delicious treat, they'll get a whole lot of nothing, which will disincentivize egg eating, over time.
Fill eggs with something yucky
Along the same lines as the wooden eggs, you can discourage egg-eating by replacing the contents of an egg with something hens find yucky, like mustard! Just use an egg blower to empty the egg, and a piping bag to replace with the contents of your choice.
Darken the nest
The theory goes that if your hens can't see anything in their nest box, they won't try eating their eggs. We're not sure about this one, but it's worth a try! If you do try it, we'd love to hear how it works for you.
The failsafe: a roll-away nest box
If you tried everything else, the best solution we know of is to install a roll-away nest box: the egg will roll to a collection area a safe distance from your hen's beak as soon as it's laid! They are much pricier than normal egg boxes, but if you're losing most of your eggs, it may well be worth the investment.