Contents: Can You Feed Chickens Eggs?
Do Chickens Eat Chicken Eggs?
Eating eggs is something that many of us do on a daily basis, but can chickens eat eggs as well?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes!
Chickens actually have the ability to consume and digest their own eggs in a variety of ways. Experts have studied and documented this behavior for centuries, yet many people are still unaware of this fact.
However, it’s recommended to cook the eggs before feeding them to your chickens (so they don’t begin egg-eating… more on that below).
Is It OK To Feed Chickens Their Own Eggs?
Yes, it is generally safe to feed backyard chickens their own eggs, but it can encourage egg-eating behavior.
Egg-eating is where chickens may start to crack open and consume eggs laid by other hens in the flock, which can negatively impact your farm’s egg supply! (For more information on egg-eating behaviors in chickens, check out my post: How To Stop Chickens From Eating Eggs)
So, make sure to cook the eggs before you give it to your flock!
Is It OK To Give Chickens Boiled Eggs?
Yes, chickens can safely eat boiled eggs. In fact, some experts recommend providing them once in a while (like once every week or two) as a treat. Boiled eggs offer great nutrition to chickens and can be beneficial for their overall health.
Boiled eggs provide protein and vitamins that are essential for a chicken’s well-being. They also contain lecithin, which helps break down fat in the body and encourages healthy skin and feather growth.
When feeding boiled eggs to your chickens, ensure they are completely cooled off first so as not to burn their beaks or tongues.
You also want to mash your boiled eggs so they don’t look like eggs, which might initiate egg-eating behavior in your chickens.
You should also limit the amount you give them since too much protein can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea or bloat in chickens.
Additionally, it’s also important to ensure that the eggs are fully cooked and not undercooked, as raw eggs can pose a risk of foodborne illness.
Can I Feed Scrambled Eggs to My Chickens?
Scrambled eggs are a delicious treat for chickens, but make sure you don’t scramble the eggs in butter or oil. Rather, use a non-stick pan.
Chickens can eat small amounts of butter or oil, but it’s not recommended to feed them large amounts as it can lead to health problems.
Butter and oil are high in fat, which can cause digestive problems. In addition, chickens have a limited ability to digest fat, which can lead to the development of fatty liver and other health issues.
Can You Feed Eggshells to Chickens?
The answer is yes, you can feed eggshells to your chickens.
In fact, eggshells are a great source of calcium for chickens. Calcium helps with bone growth and development, and it also helps strengthen eggs produced by your layers.
However, I have to admit that I stopped feeding crushed eggshells to my hens about 12 years ago because I had a hen that would keep eating eggs. Instead of risking another hen becoming an egg-eater, I now serve oyster shells (Amazon) to my hens.
If you do decide to feed eggshells (or oyster shells) to your chickens, do not mix eggshells with their chicken feed or other food!
Eggshells and oyster shells contain a lot of calcium that can cause physical harm to non-laying chickens (e.g. chicks, roosters, meat birds) if they’re already being fed a good-quality, balanced chicken feed that includes plenty of calcium.
So make sure to feed eggshells in a separate feeder, free-choice, so that only hens that need extra calcium to produce eggs can choose to eat eggshells.
Preparing Eggshells for Chickens
Here are the steps to prepare eggshells for chickens:
- Clean the eggshells: Wash the eggshells thoroughly to remove any egg white or yolk residue, which can attract pests and spoil.
- Dry the eggshells: Let the eggshells air dry completely or place them in an oven set to low heat for around 10 to 15 minutes to dry them out.
- Crush the eggshells: Crush the eggshells into small pieces using a rolling pin or a food processor. The smaller the pieces, the easier it will be for the chickens to consume. This will also prevent your chickens from egg-eating behavior.
- Store the eggshells: Store the crushed eggshells in a clean, dry container until ready to feed to the chickens.
- Offer the eggshells to the chickens: Do not mix the crushed eggshells into the chickens’ feed or other types of food! Only offer eggshells free-choice and in a separate feeder/container.
Conclusion: Should You Feed Eggs to Chickens?
You can definitely feed your chickens eggs from time to time. But first, it’s important to only feed them cooked eggs to prevent egg-eating.
Second, make sure that the eggs you feed them are fresh and have not been left out in the sun or heat for too long. Spoiled or rotten eggs can make your birds sick.
Third, by preparing and offering eggshells to chickens, you can provide them with a valuable source of calcium, which is important for a laying hen’s egg production and overall health. However, make sure to properly prepare them (instructions above).
While some chickens may take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy their own eggs, it does not necessarily mean that it is a healthy practice for them. In fact, eating too many eggs can lead to nutritional deficiencies and other health problems in chickens.
It’s generally recommended to feed chickens a balanced chicken feed consisting of grains, protein sources, and other nutrients in order to provide a balanced diet. And any type of treat, including eggs, should only make up 10% or less of a chicken’s diet.
So please remember that eggs are not the only source of protein or vitamins and minerals that chickens require. So, it’s important to limit the number of eggs eaten by each chicken in order to keep them healthy and strong.