This behavior often starts very innocently. Perhaps when a hen lays an egg it breaks, one or more of your chickens may give it a try and they quickly develop a taste for eggs. This will quickly evolve to the hens proactively pecking the eggs open and eating the entire egg. Other chickens will quickly learn to join in and your problem will quickly grow from one egg-eating hen to potentially the entire flock joining in. At this point, it's nearly impossible to stop with few options left other than culling, so early detection is key.
Here are a few things you can try to address egg-eaters:
- Make sure your poultry is receiving enough protein and calcium.
- Collect eggs as frequently as possible to eliminate the temptation.
- Allow chickens to free roam as much as possible. If this is not an option, consider enlarging their yard or extending a run area.
- If the chickens have picked the ground of their range area clean, throw in some weeds, tops of freshly pick grass, or in a pinch in winter, even some hay or straw to give them something to scratch around in and consume their time.
- Introduce other items of interest such as a flock block.
- Hang fruit and vegetables for them to peck at such as apples or cabbages.
- Chop up pumpkins and put the coop so the stringy bits and seeds are visible.
- Be sure to feed your chickens only crushed egg shells if you are using them as a calcium supplment. Hard boiled egg shells seem to work best for this.