Pretty much all chicken owners figure out quickly that their beloved chickens are highly omnivorous. They’ll eat fruits, vegetables, meat, bugs, and all sorts of things.
In fact, some keepers even report that their chickens will eat chicken eggs, maybe even their own eggs! Is this okay? Can chickens eat raw eggs?
Yes, chickens may eat raw eggs safely. However, keepers are advised that you shouldn’t feed chickens whole or raw eggs as this has a tendency to promote egg cannibalism in chickens. Once they develop a taste for eggs, they will usually try to eat their own.
Yikes. Though it is a harrowing thing to think about, chickens can and will eat their own eggs, particularly after being fed raw eggs from any source.
You don’t want that to happen, but eggs are a great source of nutrition nonetheless. You just need to know how to serve eggs to chickens the right way. Keep on reading to find out.
Nutritional Profile of Raw Eggs
Eggs are extremely nutritious, being packed with healthy fats and abundant protein, tons of vitamins and many valuable minerals.
Eggs contain lots of vitamin A equivalent, pretty much all of the B complex vitamins including folate and vitamin B12, choline, vitamin D, and vitamin E. Vitamin k is notably absent, however.
The good news continues when it comes to minerals, as eggs are packed with phosphorus, and contain ample zinc, iron, and calcium, along with a little bit of potassium and magnesium.
It is worth pointing out that eggs also have a fair bit of sodium which might be helpful for maintaining a proper electrolyte balance.
Health Benefits of Raw Eggs for Chickens
Right, wrong or indifferent, eggs are quite healthy for chickens. They can always use a big boost of protein, and the healthy fats present in eggs will give them energy and help them stave off heat stress.
The vitamin A present in eggs is valuable for the maintenance and creation of nervous system tissue and eye health, while all of the B series vitamins are used to regulate all sorts of cellular processes in the body.
Folate is also critical for the creation and maintenance of DNA and RNA.
The phosphorus present in eggs is essential for bone repair, while calcium is as always important for skeletal health and the laying of strong, healthy eggs.
It is worth pointing out, however, that the sodium content in eggs is fairly high and since chickens don’t need much salt in their diet at all you’ll want to be careful of this.
Can Chickens Really Eat Eggs Raw?
Yes, chickens can, and will, really eat raw eggs, whether or not they are cracked open or intact in the shell.
This is not harmful to them, so long as the eggs are fresh, and they don’t seem to suffer from any of the problems with bacteria that other animals or people might.
Caution: Feeding Whole or Raw Eggs to Chickens May Promote Cannibalism
Be warned. Feeding raw eggs to chickens is highly likely to promote egg cannibalism, even among laying hens.
Once they get a taste for eggs or associate the odor of eggs with food, it will be very difficult to break of that habit.
Particularly when it comes to whole eggs, chickens that are fed eggs, whether or not they are their own, will start pecking and breaking their own in order to eat them.
There are ways to feed eggs to chickens that will not promote cannibalism, and we will talk about it where appropriate through the rest of this article.
Can Chickens Eat Eggs Cooked?
Yes, chickens may eat cooked eggs, and they generally love them. This is also the best way to serve eggs to chickens, because by changing the shape, aroma, and texture of the eggs they will no longer associate eggs, as prepared for food, with eggs as in whole chicken eggs that they lay!
This is the best way to supplement your chicken’s diet with high-quality nutrition without the associated risks of starting them down the path of cannibalism.
You can scramble them, fry them, stir them in with other foods as a sort of egg bake, and many other methods. Just so long as you change the shape, texture, and aroma of raw eggs you shouldn’t have any problem.
Never Feed Eggs to Chickens that Has Been Prepared with Harmful Ingredients
However, since we are talking about cooking it is important to point out that you should never serve eggs to chickens that have been prepared with or used as an ingredient in harmful foods that they cannot eat.
Things like cheeses, salt, sugar, baked goods, oils, and more are all bad for chickens. At best, they will cause gastrointestinal upset and promote weight gain.
At worst, they can lead to severe health issues like fatty liver syndrome, sour crop, salt poisoning, hypertension, and more.
If you’re going to feed your chickens cooked eggs they should be cooked plain or only with wholesome things that they can’t have, like appropriate vegetables.
How Often Can Chickens Have Raw Eggs?
As nutritious as eggs are, you don’t want your chickens eating them all the time.
Most experts recommend that chickens should only be consuming around 10% of their total calorie intake in the form of supplemental foods and treats. Eggs should make up only a portion of that 10%.
As good as they are eggs are not nutritionally complete. Chickens should instead be eating primarily a well-rounded chicken feed that will give them everything that their bodies need.
Preparing Eggs for Your Flock
Again, you don’t want to give your chickens raw eggs in any form, particularly as whole eggs. Instead, cook them up.
Probably the single best and most effective way to cook eggs for serving to chickens, as well as the most convenient, is simply by scrambling them.
On the stove top or even in a bowl in the microwave, scrambling will produce light and fluffy eggs that your chickens will not associate with the eggs that they lay, or the ones that other chickens lay.
Once those eggs are prepared, you can set out a small portion in a bowl or on a tray for your flock, taking care of making sure that each bird gets filled, or mix the eggs into other food, including their chicken feed.
Can Baby Chicks Have Eggs, Too?
Yes, baby chicks may have eggs, but you’ll want them to be cooked just like they are with adults.
Wait until your chicks get a little bit older, at least 6 weeks of age, before allowing them to nibble on scrambled eggs for the first time.
Also, keep in mind that chicks have particularly sensitive digestive systems, and it is easy for them to become upset.
If chicks don’t want to eat eggs, or you notice them having problems or diarrhea after eating eggs, simply discontinue serving them.
Chicks will do just fine living pretty much entirely on starter feed for the first part of their life, so don’t fall too in love with the idea of broadening their horizons with novel foods until they are older.
Make Sure You Clean Up After Serving Eggs to Your Flock
One more thing you should keep in mind if you plan on serving eggs to your chickens is the fact that many animals, not just chickens, also love eggs and the aroma of eggs will attract pests and predators from far and wide.
Leaving eggs out to rot or risking an intrusion of insect pests or predators that come looking for them is a great way for your birds to get sick, hurt, or killed, so make sure you clean up thoroughly after allowing your flock to dine on eggs in any form.
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Tom has built and remodeled homes, generated his own electricity, grown his own food and more, all in quest of remaining as independent of society as possible. Now he shares his experiences and hard-earned lessons with readers around the country.