If you have backyard chickens, sooner or later you’ll see some eggs will have holes in them. If this is your first time seeing it, you’ll wonder why it happens.
Why Do Chickens Peck Holes In Their Eggs? Chickens will usually peck holes in their eggs out of curiosity or boredom, calcium deficiency, or to test the strength of the eggs. However, this can become much worse if it’s due to hunger, as it can develop into a habit. Once that habit is formed, the chicken will peck at every egg they have.
Why Do Chickens Peck Holes in Their Eggs
If there are few holes in the eggs, this is something you should carefully look into.
If it is a small hole, the chicken could accidentally step on it when moving around. This is no cause for concern.
On the other hand, if the holes are a result of pecking, they can be much more serious. You’ll need to fix the issue before it becomes a habit.
If this habit is formed, the chickens will keep pecking at all of their eggs. Also, it could lead to egg eating, which is a serious issue.
Reasons Why Chickens Peck At Their Eggs
1. Calcium deficiency
A common reason that chickens will peck at their eggs is that they are low in calcium.
Chickens know when their body requires calcium. If they are unable to get calcium from anywhere else, the chicken will start to peck at the eggs.
They will peck at the eggshell since it’s high in calcium.
2. Curiosity or boredom
Chickens are foraging animals, which means it’s natural for them to peck at things to look for food.
Just out of curiosity or boredom, they may peck at their eggs. Usually, the pecking will not be enough to penetrate through the eggshells.
If you see this behavior, there’s nothing to worry about.
3. Testing the strength of the shell
Chickens will not peck at their eggs after it’s laid, as this is unnatural behavior for them.
However, there are some theories that suggest the hen could peck at its eggs in an effort to test the strength of the shell. This will determine how healthy the chicks will be when they hatch.
4. Have developed a taste for eating the eggs
The last reason is the worse, which the chicken will peck holes in their eggs to eat them.
Once they develop a taste for the eggs, they will go around and eat other eggs as well. This is something that you need to rectify quickly, or you’ll end up with no eggs at all.
How to Stop Chickens Pecking Holes in Their Eggs
When the chickens start to have the habit of pecking holes in their eggs, it can be difficult to stop them.
To stop the bad habit, you’ll need to prevent them from happening. This could be done easily by collecting the eggs on a regular basis. The longer the eggs are in the nest, the more likely the chicken will peck at them.
If you don’t have time to collect the eggs daily, there are other preventative measures you can take. Below are some of what you can do to stop the hens from pecking at their eggs:
Increase Calcium In Their Diet
If the hen is pecking at the eggshell without the shell membrane, this is a clear sign they are looking for calcium.
This will usually occur when they are not fed the proper amount of calcium. When hens are laying eggs, they will need more calcium than any other time. Calcium is used to keep their bones strong and to produce eggs.
To prevent calcium deficiency in chickens, you can supplement their diet with calcium. One of the ways is to give them oyster shells that are broken up into small pieces.
Another way is to use chicken eggs. Any that you have leftover or those that hatched, you can use them. Make sure to crush the eggshells into small pieces so that they don’t resemble an egg.
If the chickens start to get in the habit of pecking and eating the eggs, you’ll need to correct the problem quickly.
One way to discourage and deter this behavior is to use fake eggs. Fake eggs are nothing more than hard plastic that’s made to resemble a chicken egg. You can also use golf balls as well.
When the chicken is pecking at the fake eggs, they will stop doing so since it’s not worth their time or effort. After struggling to break the fake egg, they will eventually give up on this bad habit.
Another method to stop the chicken from eating the eggs is to use flavored eggs.
With an egg, you hollow the inside out and replace it with mustard. When the chicken peck and eat the egg fill with mustard, it will give them a bad taste.
You’ll want to make 4-5 eggs filled with mustard. Chickens are known to go on a pecking spree if the first eggs don’t taste good.
Also, you can coat the eggs with petroleum jelly. When the chicken attempt to peck at an egg, the jelly will be all over their beaks. This will give them an unpleasant taste, which will discourage them from pecking at eggs any further.
When chickens peck at their eggs, it will usually be due to curiosity, calcium deficiency, and the worst-case scenario, in which they have a taste for the egg white and yolk inside.
Egg pecking is a serious issue and could lead to a lot of bad eggs. Therefore, during egg collecting, check the eggs for holes. If there are, you’ll need to take preventative measures to avoid the problem from getting out of hand.