I am having lot of problems with my chickens. They have gotten in the habit of eating the eggs. I have tried separating them, but I then I will find another one doing the same thing. I feed oyster shell and 20 percent protein laying crumble and let them free-range. I don't know how to stop this problem. Someone told me to feed bone meal, but I don't know where I can find it. Can we still eat the eggs if the hens are fed bone meal?
Kinney County Texas
Hens breaking open and eating eggs is usually the result of either undernourishment or boredom. Assuming your feed is commercial poultry feed, I don't think that is the problem. If it is boredom, you can either expand their range or add something for them to do in their coop. An example would be adding a hard plastic ball or something else that they can pick at without potentially hurting themselves.
The major problem with egg-eating is that once birds get in the habit of doing it, they will keep doing it, and the other birds will learn from the culprit(s). The only thing to do, which it sounds like you might be doing, is to remove the culprits. They are easily identifiable because they have yolk/albumin on their beaks. As far as breaking them of the habit, I have no advice.
As far as feeding the hens meat or bone meal, there is no concern, as long as it is from a reputable source. The reason why I mention this is that it has to be treated to remove potentially harmful bacteria before it is sold. Again, if you are buying a commercial layer ration, you will not have to worry about that.