Most animals will protect their young at all costs. This is their instinct to ensure the survival of their species. If you have backyard chickens and are raising them for eggs, you may wonder if they are protective of their eggs.
So, are chickens protective of their eggs? Chickens are protective of their eggs, especially when you take them. Depending on the breed, some will be more aggressive than others. This is due to their natural instinct to brood and hatch the eggs into chicks.
Are Chickens Protective of Their Eggs?
Naturally, chickens are very protective of their eggs. However, due to years of breeding, they have become less protective of their eggs.
Depending on the breed, whether they are wild or domesticated, plays an important factor in how protective of their eggs they are.
Chickens in the wild are very protective of their eggs. They will guard their eggs at all costs, even if it means costing them their life.
Once they lay an egg, the hen will become broody and will start to sit on their eggs until they hatch.
The hen will usually hide their nest to protect the eggs from predators.
Backyard chickens are the opposite of wild chickens. These chickens are bred to simply lay eggs and not go broody.
For that reason, they are able to lay hundreds of eggs each year.
If you have free range chickens, they will often hide their nest. Free range hens have the same behavior as those in the wild, which they need for their survival. If you do find their eggs and keep taking them, the hen will keep laying.
Why Aren’t Most Chickens Protective of Their Eggs?
Most backyard chickens are bred to not brood. Instead, they are bred to simply lay eggs and abandon them.
Chickens will lay hundreds of eggs each year, and most of them will never hatch.
You can simply walk up to them and remove the eggs right under them without the hens being mad.
What Happen When A Hen Becomes Broody?
When a hen becomes broody, she will no longer allow you to take any of her eggs. Also, the hen will become very aggressive if you come close to her.
If you try to get too close to her or the eggs, she will hiss and grumble at you. Sometimes, if the hen is very angry, she will try to peck at you.
For the most part, she will just grumble, squawk, and flap her wings.
A broody hen will sit on the eggs all day long. She will only move off the eggs a few times to eat and drink water. If you do want to remove her eggs, it’s recommended to replace the eggs with an object such as golf balls or decoy eggs.
What to Do When Chickens Are Protective of Their Eggs?
There are times that the chickens will become very protective of their eggs. This will make it difficult for you to remove their eggs, no matter what you try to do.
Below are some tips to help you collect the eggs:
Collect the eggs as soon as it’s laid. The longer you wait, the higher the chance the hen could develop a bond with them. When the hen becomes broody, they will be very protective of their eggs.
Wait until the hen leaves the nest. Once they leave the nest to drink or eat something, collect the eggs right away. They won’t know that the eggs are missing. The hen will continue to lay eggs as usual.
Collect the eggs at the same time each day. Hens will lay only one egg per day, which will usually be during the day. You can collect the eggs in the evening so that you know all the eggs have been collected.
Backyard chickens are mostly breed that has been bred to lay eggs and nothing else. For that reason, it’s rare that they will become protective of their eggs. The only time you may find your chickens being protective is when they become broody.
Other than that, you can remove their eggs without the hens become angry and trying to attack you.