do ducks eat their own eggs

Do Ducks Eat Their Own Eggs? (Causes and Prevention)

Yes, ducks eat their own eggs, especially if they lack enough calcium in their bodies. This is a common problem with chickens, but it can also develop in ducks.

Egg eating can also indicate protein deficiency in ducks. If you don’t feed your ducks with enough proteins and calcium, they will seek out eggs as a supplemental diet.

Did you notice that your ducks have started eating their own eggs? Read on to find the causes of this habit and how to stop it.

Why Ducks Eat Their Own Eggs?

Why Ducks Eat Their Own Eggs
Image credit: Photo by Freysteinn G. Jonsson on Unsplash

Waterfowls are omnivores that eat plants and other animals like insects, fish, and crab, but you wouldn’t expect them to eat their own eggs.

In some cases, however, ducks can start eating their eggs, which may have negative effects if you keep them for commercial purposes.

Here are some of the common reasons why ducks eat their own eggs:

  • Unbalanced diet: Egg-laying ducks require more calcium and protein intake in their diet. If you don’t feed them with enough calcium, they will try to find it in other sources. They can start pecking and eating eggshells, which will eventually lead to eating the egg content.
  • Overcrowding: This is a major cause of egg-eating in ducks as there is no enough space for the eggs to remain separate. The eggs can crack easily, making the ducks start eating the shells.
  • Boredom: If your ducks don’t have anything to do in their space, they might end up cracking their eggs accidentally or start bullying each other. This will jumpstart the egg-eating behavior.
  • Hunger and Thirst: If you don’t give enough food or water to your ducks, you shouldn’t be surprised when you see them eating eggs. Ducks will crack their eggs to look for food and water inside when they are thirsty or hungry.
  • Curiosity: While some ducks will only start eating their eggs if they see an already cracked egg, some are curious enough to crack the egg with their beak. When they get the taste, they will deliberately start cracking eggs to eat them.

Will Ducks Eat Their Own Eggs?

It’s unlikely for ducks to eat their own eggs, but this doesn’t mean they totally won’t. Some triggers can make your duck want to eat an egg.

In most cases, ducks acquire the taste of their eggs accidentally when they find a broken egg, and they try it. If the taste feels good to them, they’ll start eating their own eggs.

The egg-eating habit can develop in ducks over time due to other reasons, including an unbalanced diet, boredom, hunger, overcrowding, and more.

Calcium deficiency can make your ducks eat eggshells as a supplemental diet. After all, eggshells are a great source of calcium. Through the eggshells, they get the raw taste of eggs.

Protein is an essential nutrient for ducks’ growth and overall health. If you don’t pay attention to the protein requirements in every stage of their life, your ducks may start eating eggs to get these nutrients.

Some ducks also choose to eat their eggs when they are rotten or fail to hatch after a long time.

Egg eating behavior can seem enjoyable to ducks, and it may lead to the whole flock developing the habit.

So, it’s essential to learn how to stop egg eating in ducks to prevent the whole raft of ducks from acquiring this behavior.

How to Prevent Ducks from Eating Their Own Eggs

There are many ways you can use to stop your ducks from eating their own eggs. Some of the most effective methods include:

  • Feed Your Ducks with Balanced Diet

Lack of calcium and proteins can make your ducks have the urge to eat eggs. So, you should ensure that they are getting enough calcium and proteins in their everyday diet.

Find high-quality poultry food for your egg-laying ducks to be sure that they get all the necessary nutrients. Crushed oyster shells are also a perfect way to add calcium to your ducks’ food.

  • Give Them Enough Space

Boredom and overcrowding are the leading causes of egg-eating in ducks, and you can quickly solve it by giving them enough space.

Providing your ducks with enough room will prevent your ducks from getting bored, bullying each other, and cracking the eggs.

If you don’t have enough space for your ducks, you should collect the eggs at least twice a day to prevent the egg cracking temptation.

  • Remove Broken Eggs Quickly

Cleaning up the broken eggs quickly from the nest boxes is also an effective way to prevent your ducks from eating their own eggs.

Keep in mind that even a single shell of a fresh egg can give your ducks the taste of raw eggs.

  • Remove the Egg Eating Ducks

Egg eating in ducks can only start with one duck, which then encourages the others to join. Hence, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your poultry.

As soon as you spot a duck eating an egg, you should remove them from the group to ensure they don’t influence the others.

  • Don’t Feed Them with Cracked, Raw Eggs

Another efficient way to prevent egg eating in ducks is to avoid feeding them with cracked, raw eggs.

If you feed your ducks with eggshells for calcium, it’s important to rinse the shells off with clean water and dry them in the oven. This will ensure that they don’t get the taste of raw eggs.

Final Thoughts

Egg eating in ducks should never be encouraged as it can lead to losses, especially if you keep the ducks for business.

If you want to stop your ducks from eating their eggs, you should feed them a balanced diet, give them enough space, and avoid giving them raw, broken eggs.

Dimming the lights or covering the area where your ducks lay the eggs with curtains may also curb this habit as they won’t see the eggs.

Resources

Photo by jinjireh from Pexels

 

Recommended Read: Duck Nesting Boxes: The Complete Guide