Holes In Chicken Eggs

Free Ranging and Training Chickens...

“Hi, thanks for a great site! I am interested to know the reason for a hole in each egg that our hen produces daily. I am not sure whether the hen / cock is responsible for this. The egg does not run out as such but the shell is always pierced (the hole being the size of a raisin). Is this a common occurrence or what is the reason behind this? Many thanks” ~ Mary

Hi Mary,

Thanks for the question.

It sounds to me like one of your chickens is pecking at the egg.

The contents is not running out because the chicken is not pecking deep enough to break the membrane that seals the contents of the egg.

Now is the time to take steps to stop this behavior before they accidentally end up with a beak full of egg white and are delighted by this wonderful, new, squishy food.

It’s can be very hard to break the egg eating habit.

In your case, the first thing I would do is make sure you collect often; the less time an egg sits in the nest box, the less likely it will be pecked at.

If this is not possible due to your schedule, there are a few things you can do to deter the pecking.

Thin shelled eggs are easier to pierce.

If you are not already doing so, supplement their diet with oyster shell or another calcium supplement. This should be available at all times to the flock to eat free choice.

Start with a golf ball or wooden egg placed in the nesting box, the intention is to fool the chicken into believing it is a real egg. When the chicken pecks at the hard surface, it is supposed to be discouraged and give up pecking at the eggs.

Some people swear by covering an egg with petroleum jelly and placing it in the nesting box so that the chicken gets a beak full of goop. This is supposed to deter the egg pecking behavior as well.

The other thing I’ve heard recommended is to add hot sauce to the contents of an egg so the chicken gets a surprise when it pecks into it. Again, it’s supposed to be a negative reinforcement.

Finally, if none of the above ideas work for you, I’d recommend separating the hen and rooster so that you can determine which one is the offender.

If it is the rooster, as a last resort you might consider replacing him because it’s only a matter of time before full fledged egg eating will start.

If it’s the hen, unless you’re willing to keep her as a pet, there’s not much point in keeping a hen if you aren’t able to eat her eggs.

Mary, thanks again for the question.

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