When my chickens deserve a treat (or I need to clean the fridge) I like to make them an Egg Loaf. This baked treat is full of protein, keeps food out of the garbage and provides some extra entertainment for you flock.
If you were the kind of kid that spent their entire childhood in the woods making potions with dirt, water and leaves this activity will bring you joy! My kids LOVE making egg loafs with me (and it’s great practice for cracking eggs!).
How to Make an Egg Loaf for Chickens
An Egg Loaf can be as fancy or simple as you want it to be. I have a large flock and I make mine in a well sprayed 9×13 pan.
If you have a reasonable amount of chickens you can make this in smaller batches or freeze half for a later date, just be sure to let it thaw out before feeding it.
The main ingredients in this chicken snack is, you guessed it, eggs! For a 9×13 pan I use two dozen eggs. Even after adding lots of extras I haven’t had any overflow in the oven.
Two dozen eggs is a lot, but I have a lot of chickens and I get between 12 and 18 eggs on a slow day.
Egg loafs are a great way to use up any dirty, damaged or old eggs. If for example, your 4 year old insisted on carrying the eggs into the house, managed to make it past every obstacle before tripping over air and cracking a whole dozen… that would be a great time for a nice loaf.
It’s also a nice way to get some use out of eggs that freeze in the coop. When an egg freezes, the shell cracks and the membrane breaks. That opens them up to all sorts of bacteria that you don’t want to be eating.
And when I say eggs, I mean the whole thing. You’ll be using the eggs and the egg shells to make this treat. Egg shells are basically straight calcium and are good for your chickens.
I like to crack the eggs and then crush up the shells with a potato masher. Then I add in the extras.
This is a great time to clean out the pantry or fridge. My dog has allergy issues and I have to switch his food around a lot so sometimes I’ll dump in a scoop of dog food (I do feel quality dog food, use your judgement here).
If I’m adding a lot of dry ingredients I’ll throw in some aging milk, broth or water. It helps hydrate the drier ingredients.
Egg Loaf Add in Options
- Bird Seed
- Chick Starter
- Raw or Cooked Vegetables (carrots, broccoli, sweet potato)
- Cooked White Potatoes, Rice & Beans
- Chopped Nuts & Dried Fruit
- Dog Food
Food like raisins, tuna and onions shouldn’t be fed to chickens in large quantities. However they are so diluted in this recipe that they won’t cause any problems.
Baking the Egg Loaf
Make sure you oil your pan really well and when it’s cool the egg loaf will pop right out of the pan.
Bake it at 350 for about an hour, as it bakes the shells and heavier stuff will fall to the bottom while the seeds and fresh veggies will come up to the top.
It will look done quite a while before it actually is, the top will bake and look solid but the loaf will still be a liquid egg in the middle.
I like to take a wooden spoon and push down on the top crust, if you break through and see liquid just keep baking it. Chickens aren’t that picky about food, if it’s over cooked they’ll still eat it!
When it’s fully cooked pull the pan out of the oven and let it cool. You can feed it to your birds in a big block, it will give them something to pick apart when they’re bored.
I prefer to cut mine up into cubes. I have a lot of birds and serving up a treat in one spot is just going to cause fights and squabbles.
- 2 dozen eggs
- 1-2 cups milk, broth or water
- 2-4 cups of add ins (bird seed, whole corn, chopped vegetables & fruit, dog food etc)
- Oil for Pan
- 9 x 13 Pan
- Potato Masher
- Preheat oven to 350
- Crack all of the eggs into a large bowl
- Crush the shells with the potato masher
- Stir in liquid and add-ins
- Coat pan with oil
- Pour egg mixture into pan
- Bake for 1 hour or until solid
- Allow to cool completely
- Cut in to pieces and feed to your chickens
If you have a small flock you can cut the recipe and make a smaller batch or freeze half for later
Make sure you use a spoon to push on the top center of the egg loaf before you pull it out of the oven, the top will set long before the center is cooked through
Can Chickens Eat Eggs?
Eggs are actually a pretty perfect food for chickens, if you think about every thing you need to make a new chicken is housed inside the shell. Hard boiled egg yolks are a great supplement for a chicken that’s under the weather.
You can even give them to chicks, just make sure you chop or mash them up with a fork before feeding them. It’s also important to remove any uneaten food after an hour or so before it can spoil.
Any one who has ever dropped an egg in the coop knows exactly how happy the little beasts are to gobble them up. Chickens are straight up savage and will literally eat each other.
Read more about The Dark Side of Chicken Keeping
Even though eggs are a safe food, it’s important to draw the line between feeding eggs to your chickens and chickens eating eggs in the coop.
I try my very best to avoid feeding my chickens raw eggs, I prefer to break them in my pockets (seriously it’s been years but I’ve managed to do it twice in the last month).
Some people say letting chickens eat raw eggs with make them start eating their eggs in the nest box. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s never seemed worth tempting fate.
For the record, a lot of what you’ll hear about keeping chickens is just something someone said once and it got repeated over and over and over.
Read more about What to Expect from Farm Fresh Eggs
Egg eating is a common problem that you might not even realize you have. One sign of egg eating is egg yolk and white smeared all over a nest of eggs.
Thin Egg Shells
One of the main causes of egg eating is eggs with thin shells. Them chickens aren’t intentionally breaking the eggs but once they crack it’s game time.
I have one hen that lays eggs with one really thick side and one really thin side, her eggs tend to break really easily and that can lead to messy nests.
Thin shells can be a genetic trait but they are also linked to diet, heat, stress and age. Finding the occasional egg with a thin shell isn’t something you should stress about.
If you’re finding a lot of eggs with thin shells over a long period of time it’s most likely diet related. Offer your hens free choice oyster shells to add calcium to their diets. I also feel all of my eggshells back to my flock.
How to Stop Egg Eating Chickens
Unfortunately, when chickens find out how delicious fresh eggs are they might start busting open eggs whenever they want a snack.
One way to cut back on egg eating is to collect your eggs more often, if they aren’t there they can’t eat them!
I find we have a lot more issues with egg eating during the winter when the birds are spending a lot more time in the barn. When we don’t have snow my birds are outside almost all the time.
Giving your flock things to do to keep them out of the nest boxes might help cut back on egg eating.
Read more about Keeping Chickens Entertained Indoors
Another thing you can try is putting fake eggs in the nest box. The idea behind this is that the chickens will peck at the fake eggs, nothing will happen and they’ll get bored and stop pecking.
The Mustard Egg
The final step in stopping egg eating is to identify the offending bird. I’ve never done this but I have read about it both online and in books.
The first step is to blow out an egg shell, poke a hole in either side and blow out the contents.
Then you fill the egg shell with yellow mustard and put it back in the nest box. In theory the egg eating chicken (or chickens) will break it open and end up with mustard all over it’s face and feathers.
That way you’ll be able to identify the egg eater and deal with her. Either by eating her or by ignoring the problem.
And yes I said her, egg eating usually happens in the nest boxes and hens are much more likely to be in there than roosters.
If you try this out I’d love to hear about it!
Looking for more info? Check out my Chicken Keeping page or start here: