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Every poultry expert knows that if a hen has her first taste of an egg, it is very difficult to stop her. If you don't want your hens to become predators of their own eggs, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Everything can be changed with the right space and, of course, the right laying box.
Why do hens break their eggs?
You are probably wondering why hens eat their eggs. Obviously, for us this is a delicious and nutritious food, but, thinking about these poultry, it may seem a bit extreme.
When hunger rages in the hen house, the survival instinct is understandable. Our hens may eat their own eggs or those of their neighbours. Keep in mind that good nutrition depends not only on the quantity of food you give them, but also on the quality.
A good portion of protein and especially calcium must be present in the diet of these birds. The lack of protein can be felt by these birds and they will not hesitate to look for it in their own eggs.
With regard to calcium, if they are not well fed with this mineral, their eggs will tend to break easily. This will make them curious to try them. Remember that hens love to peck at everything, so it won't be so difficult for them to taste the whites and yolks of this nutritious food.
Not enough space
Other times, you may see broken eggs because of lack of space. Either because you didn't collect them in time, or because you didn't take into account the space in the nest. If you crowd too many birds, the stress can trigger their anxiety to peck at everything.
The possibility of a predator
Another problem you may not be aware of is the presence of a strange animal on the farm. A rodent is a predator of eggs and may therefore be behind this action.
Once you have ruled out the presence of any intruders or, where appropriate, pinpointed the hens as the culprits eating your eggs, it's time to carry out our tips.
How do you stop hens eating your eggs?
The biggest problem here is that your hens have tasted the egg. You may find it harder to break this destructive habit, but don't despair. You just need to pay enough attention to looking after the eggs.
Space is vitally important
The first thing you need to do to stop your predatory hens is to give them plenty of space. Stress is very common in these poultry, especially if you have them crowded together when they are laying their eggs.
Start by placing the nesting boxes in strategic locations in the house. You can choose to raise them a few centimetres off the ground, creating different rooms for the layers. If the space is individual, so much the better. However, in this case, the problem may arise when collecting the eggs and when approaching the hens.
With more space and a smaller population of hens, they will not easily step on their own eggs, thus avoiding the temptation for them to taste them.
Provide them with feed close to the nesting boxes.
Even if they have eaten, it never hurts to leave a snack near their nest boxes. These should be attractive enough to prevent them from being tempted to eat their eggs. You can give them some hay, pieces of fruit or a nutritious feed.
Remember how important it is to offer them a food rich in protein and calcium. You can always use bird food supplements. The calcium will also create hard shells, which are not so easy to break. You will find it more difficult for them to taste them.
A clean place reduces stress
Hygiene is very important for chickens. When you keep the house and nest boxes clean on a daily basis, you will keep the birds calm. This will not only stop them from breaking or nibbling their eggs, but will also increase their numbers.
Keep in mind that a clean space will prevent the growth of bacteria or fungi that can make them sick. If you add to this, as mentioned above, a good diet with the recommended nutrients, you will have happy birds.
Ventilation is very important, as are the nest boxes, which allow you to handle them easily, without being forced to stress them. As you can see, every detail counts, so don't neglect the water in the drinkers, which will need to be changed every day.
Their nesting space should be quiet
Another thing that stresses these birds is noise and bright lights. The nesting space is their resting place. It should be something darker and more relaxing. Avoid artificial light and avoid making noises that frighten them, as they may move into the nesting boxes and step on or eat your eggs.
Remove eggs daily
Although this may not work for a predatory hen, you should always remove her eggs each day. If they accumulate too many, it can make it difficult for them to move around. This will cause them to become stressed and the result, as you know, is that they end up stepping on them or eating them.
You can always opt for specialised nesting boxes, which isolate each new egg in a separate room, where you can collect it without the need to subject the nervous hen to your presence.
Boredom is a danger for poultry
When it's not stress, boredom can be the biggest culprit when hens start pecking at everything, including your eggs. This is also solvable if you follow one of the tips we gave you earlier.
All you have to do is put something that catches their attention. You have the option of placing a cabbage patch, which will undoubtedly encourage them and they will peck at it, keeping them entertained, leaving their eggs to one side.
It is also a good idea to set up an obstacle course where they can go up and down as they please. As always, exercise is a suitable distraction for any animal, as well as allowing them to relax.
Isolate a problem hen and change bad habits
At the first sign of a predatory hen, isolate her from the rest so that they don't copy her attitude. If the problem spreads, you will need to be more vigilant than ever to remove the eggs as soon as possible.
It will be feasible to reverse this attitude by exchanging a real egg for a fake one. Feeling that they cannot break it, because it is too hard, they will not repeat this habit. But don't forget to feed them correctly, so that they don't break the egg at the slightest touch.
What type of nesting boxes are best?
In every hen house there should be different types of nesting boxes. This ensures that the eggs are not scattered in different areas and are not likely to be eaten or stepped on by the hens or even by other predators outside the area. In addition, if you find an egg somewhere else, you will always be in doubt as to how old it is. The best thing to do is to keep track of it with the help of a laying nest.
You have the option of fitting them with a plastic laying box, such as the Confort, in which each compartment can hold between 8 and 12 eggs. You can easily remove them by simply lifting the lid. As it has legs, you can keep it above the floor and it is very easy to transport. It has ventilation slots, preventing the air from condensing too much.
Metal laying nests, such as the Platinum, will make your hens feel more at ease thanks to the separation they will find. This product is ideal if you have few laying hens, as it can be installed in any corner.
The Colectavi Central laying nest is perfect for a fairly large farm. With a capacity for 150 hens, you won't have any difficulty installing it. It is very simple and you can always rely on the assembly instructions or a video provided by the manufacturer. As the birds lay their eggs, they are placed in a central tray on a conveyor belt which, after activating the mechanism, moves around the inside of the laying area until they reach the tray on the outside. This makes it easier for you to collect them without complications and, even better, prevents the hens from eating or pecking them.
If you want to be an expert in poultry farming and prevent your poultry from making their eggs disappear, get the egg nests we offer, designed for your comfort and the welfare of your hens. Follow our advice and increase your production in a simple way.