EWWW!! No, really, they are.
OK, maybe I’m exaggerating a little. I’m not aware of normal backyard chickens killing each other so they can feast, and I’ve never had that happen with my chickens.
But my hens LOVE eggs and go totally crazy over them. The egg shells give them needed calcium (which they lose when they lay eggs) and the whites and yolks give them extra protein they need, so it’s a very healthy and beneficial treat for them. If I drop or crack an egg by accident, off to the hens it goes. Same for hard cooked eggs that have been in the fridge for a week (keep them in their shell and they last a couple weeks). They love ’em both raw and cooked. They will even take them scrambled.
I’ve read that they can, and would, eat cooked chicken. I don’t doubt they would eat it. But that is way too wrong. Seriously wrong. So I haven’t tried it, and doubt I ever will.
I had heard rumours that if you give chickens eggs, or even egg shells, it will turn them into crazy egg walkers and they will start stepping on and breaking every egg that’s laid to feed their cannibalistic taste.
I’ve followed several bloggers with backyard chickens, they feed egg shells to their hens all the time and have yet to have a crazy egg-stepping-on hen. Sure, I’ll see a crushed egg or two in my coop every month, but I have 9 hens that like to use the same laying spot, so it’s bound to happen on accident.
I’m still the food lady that brings them their treats, and they wait not-so-patiently at the gate seeing if I’ve brought anything good–mealworms, lettuce, carrots, or their favorite—eggs.
About a year after we got our first chickens we got a call from a friend, who lives in a non-farming town, saying she has been seeing a chicken in her yard. She was sure it was a rooster because of the comb and she hadn’t seen any eggs.
A tornado had recently gone through the neighboring area and from our understanding, there is an egg farm a few miles away. So, our deduction was that this chicken found the perfect escape opportunity.
Despite the fact that this was not a free chicken, she opviously treasured her freedom. Our friend tried continually to capture Nedge–but Nedge would disappear for days when our friend told us she was going to capture the chicken!
Finally, one day we got the call “I caught him!!”
Our friend drove the hour north get to our little farm what the little white chicken in tow.
Nedge settled in immediately and got along with our other chicken. However, the next day we confirmed that she was in fact a hen when we had a nice jumbo size white egg (the other two hens we had would only occasionally lay small-medium blue green eggs.) With the exception of the winter, Nedge is a daily layer and our only white egg hen. She gets along great with the new baby hens we had gotten last spring, so she has been a wonderful addition to our chicken family!