This entry was posted on 20 October 2021 in Keeping Chickens.
Chicken’s may eat their own eggs if they have low calcium levels. As a chicken owner, you want your feathered friends to be happy, healthy, and bring joy to your garden. But calcium deficiency causes your chicken’s bones to weaken and become more fragile, meaning the risk of breakages is more likely. Their immune systems will also suffer, making them more vulnerable to diseases. If your hens are eating their eggs regularly, it’s likely there is an issue you must address with their diet.
When chickens aren’t getting enough calcium, they’ll instinctively look for other calcium sources. Unfortunately, this means they may eat eggshells as a supplement. Another reason why your chickens may be eating their own eggs is an accidental discovery. A crowded chicken coop means your birds could accidentally break the eggs they’ve laid. If the mess isn’t cleaned up quickly, the hens may eat the yolk and eggshell. Once one chicken does this, the rest of the flock are likely to follow suit and it’s a hard habit to break.
To make sure your chickens have enough calcium in their diet you need to manage their food intake.
As a great chicken owner, you’ll already know that your flock needs a balanced diet. However, when you grab a bag of chicken feed and try to decipher all the ingredients, it can be a challenge to know if your hens are getting the right nutrition. To make sure your flock has a healthy food intake you need to offer them the right nutrients and minerals. Calcium is one of the most important parts of a chicken’s diet and is crucial for eggshell quality.
While strengthening bones and supporting growth, calcium also helps your birds produce harder eggshells. An eggshell is made up almost entirely of calcium carbonate, which is why chickens will eat their eggshells if they are suffering from a calcium deficiency. When a chicken doesn’t have enough calcium as part of its diet, this may also lead to them not laying eggs at all.
If your chicken is still growing, it will need to ingest around 2.75g of calcium per day. Whereas when a hen is in lay, the chicken should have even more to ensure they do not have a calcium deficiency. When this occurs, the calcium in the bird’s bones becomes depleted as their body is using it to produce eggshells.
Over time, the recommended daily intake of calcium has changed for chickens. The amount also varies depending on the breed of the bird. A recommended approximate daily calcium intake for the average commercial laying hen is 4 to 5g per day. The aim of managing your flock’s calcium intake is to ensure they’re healthy and to prevent them from eating their own eggs as a supplement. So, what are sources of calcium you can give to your birds?
Oyster shells and limestone are great ways to provide your laying hens with more calcium. Insects are another big source of calcium, which are often sold as treats to give to your birds. This means giving your chickens insects alongside their normal feed will increase your popularity, as well as ensure they have a healthy and balanced diet.
As well as their diet, your hens may eat their eggs for a few other reasons. A lack of nesting boxes, boredom, and a cramped chicken coop all may lead to your birds eating their eggs. Here are some simple, quick steps to take, to ensure your chickens only eat the feed you’re providing them:
Nesting boxes are high-traffic areas in the coop if there aren’t enough of them. Make sure you have enough nesting boxes for your chickens, otherwise the eggs they’re laying could be trampled on. When cracked eggshells and yolk are left in the coop, you can bet your hens will be quick to peck and have a taste.
Boredom makes us all behave bizarrely. For your chickens, it can make them eat their own eggshells. Interacting and playing with your hens is a great solution, but most of us don’t have the time to do this every day. Add toys to your chicken’s living areas such as treat dispensers and shells to peck, and always make sure the birds can dust bathe too.
If your chickens are on top of each other in their coop, this can lead to eggs cracking. Sometimes there isn’t another solution other than to invest in a larger space for your chickens to live. Whether you’ve taken on more chickens and need a comfortable new coop for them or are upgrading an old structure, Cocoon chicken coops offer high-quality designs your hens will love.
A chicken coop keeps your hens safe, comfortable, and happy. Don’t settle for a home for your birds that isn’t high-quality, get in touch with Cocoon chicken coops today. Explore our wide range of coops to discover the best option for your hens.