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Chickens

Chickens Eating Eggs? 9 Ways to Prevent or Stop It

Are your chickens eating their own eggs? Yikes! What an annoying mess, eh? Once a chicken starts eating eggs, it can be a very bad and difficult habit to break. Especially if they teach their friends to do it too! I know from experience – a couple of our chickens started eating eggs last year. An egg broke in the nest box, they got a little taste, and it was all downhill from there… That is, until we were able to successfully stop their egg-eating behavior! 

Read along to learn how to prevent and stop chickens from eating their own eggs. Egg-eating isn’t as unnatural as you think – chickens sometimes eat their own eggs in the wild! Yet it can also be a signal that there is a serious issue in your backyard flock, and therefore shouldn’t go ignored. Egg-eating can also make a big sticky mess of their nesting box or feathers, and attract pests. If you rely on fresh eggs as a source of self-sufficient food or income, having an egg-eating chicken in your flock can be detrimental!



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A wire basket is full of fresh chicken eggs, they range in color from light blue/green, light blue, dark brown with mottled darker brown spots, and light brown.


9 Ways to Stop Chickens from Eating Their Eggs


1) Assess their diet


Chickens eating eggs could be a sign that they are experiencing a nutritional deficiency or imbalance. Eggs are loaded with protein, and the shells are made up of almost pure calcium. These two things are essential to a chicken’s diet and overall good health. If chickens aren’t getting enough of either, they may turn to eating their own eggs to compensate. 

Ensure your chickens are consuming adequate protein by providing a chicken feed that is formulated for laying hens. Most layer feed contains 16 to 18% percent protein. We often ferment our chicken feed, which provides probiotics and increases nutrient absorption too!

Also, limit treats to an occasional basis only. We give our girls leafy greens from the garden, but also incorporate plenty of protein-rich treats like mealworms, black oil sunflower seeds, or home-sprouted seeds and grains. You can also scramble up some eggs to feed back to your chickens.


DeannaCat is holding a bowl of fermented chicken feed in front of four chickens that are inspecting the contents of the bowl. Behind the chickens, trailing rosemary is cascading over a stone paver wall. Stop chickens eating eggs by ensuring that they are getting enough nutrition from the food that is offered.
Fermenting chicken feed is easy to do! It provides chickens even more nutrients, can boost their immune system, and also reduce your feed costs.


2) Promote healthy, strong eggshells


Laying hens need a regular supply of free choice calcium available to them at all times. This is crucial! Because eggshells are so high in calcium themselves, laying hens need to consume a substantial amount of supplemental calcium to lay hard, healthy eggs with firm shells. 

Chickens may eat eggs if they aren’t getting enough calcium elsewhere. Insufficient calcium intake can also lead to soft-shelled eggs or thin shells, which are more likely to crack – and then entice even the healthiest, curious chickens to eat eggs! Even worse, too little calcium can cause a chicken to become egg-bound. Therefore, offering additional calcium is a great way to prevent egg-eating behavior as well as illness.

Either purchase crushed oyster shells, or save and crush their own eggshells. Offer calcium in a dish separate from their food; they eat what they need (and too much calcium can harm them too). I know what you may be thinking… Doesn’t feeding chickens their own eggshells make them more likely to eat eggs? No, the vast majority of experienced chicken keepers say it does not. We bake and crush the eggshells before feeding them, which kills potential bacteria and also changes the odor and flavor of the shells… just in case. 

Related: How to Feed Chickens Crushed Eggshells (or Oyster Shells) for Essential Calcium


DeannaCat is holding a pint mason jar with a metal lid. The jar is full of baked and crushed egg shells that will be fed back to the chickens as their free choice calcium supplement.
Eggshells baked, crushed, and all ready to be put out for the girls!


3) Collect eggs often


Chickens can’t eat eggs that aren’t there! Don’t let eggs sit in the nesting boxes for an extended period of time. Collect eggs as often as your schedule permits (up to several times per day) – especially if you’re trying to break egg-eating behavior that has already developed. A big pile of eggs is just begging to be messed with, and can increase the likelihood of your chickens becoming broody. There is also a greater chance for eggs to crack and break when they’re laid on top of one another. 


4) Provide cushioned nesting areas


Have you ever seen a hen lay an egg? Even though they sit down for quite a while beforehand, they stand up and squat when the egg comes out, so it has to fall several inches before it hits the ground! If the bottom of the nesting box is hard and exposed, the egg could break – and one broken egg may be all it takes for a chicken to develop a taste for them.

Line the bottom of the coop nesting boxes with soft material for the eggs to land on. We use these durable nesting box pads, and usually add a layer of straw or hay on top for them to dig around in too. If an egg does break, clean it up quickly!


A birds eye view of the top of a nest box which contains three wooden eggs resting atop the hay within. They are white, light green, and brown in color. Stop chickens eating eggs by keeping impenetrable wooden eggs in their nest boxes.
Fake wood eggs inside a well-padded nesting box.


5) Dummy eggs in nest box


If your chickens begin to peck at their own eggs, try putting a hard dummy egg or two inside the nesting boxes. Golf balls or these fake wood eggs work well! When they go to take a peck, they’ll find the “egg” impenetrable – and will hopefully give up trying to peck the real eggs too. Placing fake eggs inside the nesting box is also an effective way to train young chickens on where to lay eggs.


6) Nest box curtains (dark or dim nesting area)


Did you know that chickens can’t see in the dark? That’s why they instinctively head into the coop to roost at dusk. So, they are far less likely to peck and eat eggs that they can’t see well. One way to darken the nesting box area is to install nest box curtains. This trick was the most successful measure to stop our chickens from eating eggs!

You can create cute little mini-curtains on rods, or do something as simple as pin old fabric napkins or cut pillowcases in front of the nest box opening. Valance curtains are already about the right height, and can easily be cut and hemmed into shorter sections.

When first installed, you may need to keep the curtains pulled or pinned partially open until your chickens get used to them. Later, we found that leaving ours completely closed was the most effective at stopping the egg eating. They push right past them to get in and out.


A dark brown and black Easter Egger chicken is standing inside of a nest box. DeannaCat is pulling aside one of the curtains that keeps the boxes more private to show the chicken within. Stop chickens from eating eggs with curtains that make their nesting boxes more dark so the chickens have a harder time seeing eggs and potentially eating them.
Can a girl get a little privacy around here? Sorry, Hennifer.
(The nesting area still looks fairly well-lit in this photo, but extra light was coming in from the open door – which is usually closed. It gets pretty dark in there!)


7) Soap and mustard 


Wait, what did I just eat?! Apparently chickens hate the taste of mustard. Plus, who would want to eat soap? Not our birds. Another old trick used to stop chickens from eating eggs is to fill an empty eggshell with dish soap and mustard (which also happens to mimic the look of gooey egg whites and yolk).

Use an egg that has been pecked with a small hole, empty it out, fill it up, and put it back in the nesting box for your egg-eating chicken to try. Or, carefully blow out an egg to fill. Hopefully the nasty surprise will turn them off for good!


A close up image of an egg that has been cracked open by chickens pecking at it. It was then emptied of its contents and replaced with dish soap and mustard to resemble egg white and yolk and placed back in the nest box for the chickens. This can help stop chickens eating eggs if they associate a bad flavor with the eggs.
Mustard and soap… yummo! Not. When we first found this pecked egg, it only had one small hole towards the bottom. We used that opening to dump the contents, fill it with mustard and soap, and then put it back in the nest box. It looks like someone came along, gave it a few more pecks, and then realized it was disgusting.


8) Provide plenty of space and entertainment


Keeping your flock happy and entertained is a fantastic way to both prevent and stop chickens from eating eggs. Bored, crowded, or otherwise unhappy birds are far more likely to start pecking at eggs – and each other! Provide roosts, ample space, and boredom-busters such as hanging treat blocks, chicken swings, or hanging cabbage ‘tether balls’ to keep them busy. 



9) Roll-away or sloped nest boxes


A final measure to stop chickens from eating eggs is to make the eggs disappear altogether. When all else fails, you could create sloped nesting boxes where the eggs roll away and out of beak’s reach after they’re laid. I consider this a last resort – not because it is extreme, but because modifying your perfectly good chicken coop could be a pain in the butt! Yet so are egg-eating chickens… so if necessary, new-and-improved nest boxes may be the solution.  


DeannaCat holding four eggs in one open palmed hand. Each egg has the name of the breed of chicken photoshopped onto the image next to the egg. One of the eggs is light blue in color (Cream Legbar), one is dark brown with mottled darker brown spots (Welsummer), one is light baby blue (Easter Egger), and the last one is light brown (Barred Rock).


And that concludes the top tricks to prevent or stop an egg-eater.


All in all, do your best to prevent your chickens from eating eggs in the first place – with a healthy diet, frequent egg gathering, and ample space to play. If they do start pecking at eggs, I hope these tips help you quickly nip that bad habit in the bud! As we did, you may need to try several techniques to stop egg-eating behavior before you find something that works. Be patient and persistent.

Please feel free to share your experience or ask questions in the comments below, and spread the knowledge by sharing this article. Thank you for tuning in!


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One Comment

  • Darleen

    Great article!! In my experience with my 4 ladies, moving the area in which they lay has been helpful when they get in an egg-eating habit. My gals lay in a little dog carrier in their kennel, and they love to squish in at the same time and eggs can get crushed. I’ve moved the carrier around the coop and for whatever reason it changed their habit of all squishing in, and we haven’t seen a broken/eaten egg in almost two months!! Thanks so much for always sharing your knowledge and experience with us followers. My garden, coop, and pantry are flourishing because of you 😊😊😊

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