Why Do Chickens Eat Their Own Eggs?

According to "Backyard Poultry Magazine," factors that cause chickens to eat their own eggs are overcrowding, excessively bright coop lighting, inadequate nests and the presence of juvenile chickens in the egg house. Other chickens develop a taste for eggs because their owner has intentionally broken eggs in the coop and allowed the birds to eat them.

During their maturation phase, young hens learn to lay eggs in designated nests. Untrained hens eat their eggs far more often than those with proper training. Many egg eaters respond well to retraining. Others, however, never stop. This is a potentially serious problem because the habit easily spreads to other chickens.

Infrequent egg collection contributes to egg eating, especially in cramped coops. A single daily collection is insufficient. Collecting eggs two or three times a day keeps the nests empty and invites the hens to use them. About Small Farms contributor Lauren Ware explains that chickens lay most of their eggs by mid-morning. Prompt collection whisks the eggs away before the chickens have the opportunity to eat them.

Chickens need adequate dietary calcium and vitamin D to produce strong, thick eggshells. Thin, soft, excessively fragile eggs break easily, encouraging the birds to eat the contents. "Backyard Poultry Magazine" states that dietary supplements such as cod liver oil strengthen and protect eggs.