Unlike humans, who have a gestation period of 280 days, chickens’ incubation period is about 21 days long.
It is not common for a chicken to get sad or upset when you take her eggs. The only situation where a chicken may get confrontational or bothered is when she is “broody”.
A broody hen is when her hormones have encouraged her to stop laying eggs and hatch the ones she has; sometimes, she will even try to sit on and hatch anything egg-shaped.
Read below for more information on chickens and their behavior toward their own eggs. You will likely find that taking eggs from her will leave her unbothered and perfectly happy!
Do Chickens Know When You Take Their Eggs?
Chickens are known to stop, drop an egg, and continue about their day without even glancing back at what they’ve laid.
It is unlikely that your chicken knows once you’ve taken their eggs. This is because laying hens have been bred over time to do exactly that — lay eggs.
Their behaviors have been altered to produce eggs with a peaceful attitude over the years.
Lack of ownership
Sometimes chickens will lay their eggs and not even remember where they have laid them the next day.
This is because chickens will nest in different boxes and areas of their space if given the freedom to do so.
If you want to be sure that your chickens will not know if you take their eggs, you can bring feed with you during egg collection times and distract them.
Chickens are not the brightest creatures and are very warily distracted by food.
If your chicken is broody for whatever reason, they will try and sit on their eggs and only leave to poop, eat, or drink.
In this case, it is crucial to take the necessary steps to “break” the broodiness of your hen in order to cease future disruption or disturbance to her.
Removing her from the nest and allowing her to roam in the yard is one way to help break her broodiness.
Other techniques such as placing a cold water bottle underneath her or giving her treats away from the nest may also help stop this behavior.
Will My Chickens Be Upset With Me if I Take Their Eggs?
Unless you have a chicken that is ‘broody’, she will not have any attitude toward her eggs, or the collection of them. As far as emotions go, chickens will display curiosity rather than emotions like “sadness”.
However, it will be obvious if your chicken is disturbed or upset with you for any reason due to potentially being broody.
If your chicken is displaying broody behavior toward you, she may be aggressive and may even peck at you when trying to handle her.
You will easily be able to differentiate between normal chicken behavior amongst irritated or annoyed ones.
Laying an egg is a process chickens do naturally and don’t check if their eggs are even still in their nest.
If an egg is accidentally broken, a chicken can be known to eat its own eggs. Therefore, there is little reason to believe your chicken will be upset with you for taking their eggs.
Especially in a flock where eggs are collected daily, your chicken will not get upset or even notice if you take their eggs.
But there can be exceptions.
On the occasion that your chicken is broody, her behavior will be noticeably different.
There will be evident signs that she is not happy with you taking her eggs and will try to prevent you from doing so.
If your chicken begins to act like they really do not want their eggs taken, you may want to consider taking action against your broody chicken.
The only cause for your chicken being upset if you take her eggs is that her hormones have indicated her to protect her eggs and hatch unfertilized ones (unbeknownst to her).
This behavior is unnecessary in laying hens that lay unfertilized eggs as the egg will never hatch, and your chicken can sit on those eggs for days if allowed.
Unless she displays signs of broodiness, your chickens will not be upset if you collect their eggs.
Setting routine egg collection times may help encourage positive behavior after collecting your chickens’ eggs.
H3: Broody Chickens
Broody chickens have a hormonal shift that indicates they need to hatch their eggs. You will notice your chicken sitting on her nesting box for long periods of time, only leaving it to eat, drink, or poop.
Broodiness can spread to the rest of your flock, so it is essential that you break this behavior immediately. Broodiness can also cause your chicken to become more protective and challenging to deal with.
H3: Non-Broody Chickens
Non-broody chickens will not find the need to sit on their eggs for prolonged periods of time. They do not feel inclined to hatch their eggs and will go about their typical day.
Non-broody chickens are easier to handle and will not typically display signs of aggression or defend their territory at all.
Signs Your Chicken Is Upset When You Take Their Eggs
If your chicken is upset when you take their eggs, there will be noticeable signs indicating their disturbed feelings toward you.
These noticeable signs will also help you determine if your chicken is broody or not.
Aggression towards you
If your chicken is upset or disturbed by you taking their eggs, she may be aggressive toward you and display pecking or puffed-up feathers.
You can quickly tell if a chicken is upset at you because their typical behavior is generally mild-tempered.
Chickens enjoy scratching, wandering, roosting, and other daily activities and don’t tend to notice or mind when you collect their eggs.
If your chicken participates in activities outside of these, there may be something going on with her. You will definitely know when your chicken is in distress over collecting her eggs.
It is possible that your chicken may vocalize their disturbance as an initial reaction.
Pay attention to the amount of noise or commotion your chicken makes around you when you collect their eggs. She may be trying to communicate that she is bothered at that given moment.
Pecking your hand
Another sign your chicken may be upset when you take their eggs is that she may try to peck at your hand when you reach down to collect them.
Pecking is often a sign of being territorial or trying to prevent you from invading her personal space.
Broody or not, a chicken who tried to peck at your hand is not very happy with what is currently going on.
Running away from you.
Avoidance may be another sign that your chicken is disturbed by you collecting their eggs.
Fleeing from your presence can sometimes signal that your chicken is weary with your action toward them.
Although chickens can express their discomfort, it is essential to look for signs wherever you go to collect their eggs to ensure your chickens are happy, healthy, and unbothered.
Your laying hens should not be upset when you collect their eggs, but if they are, be sure to detect the issue sooner rather than later.
A peaceful flock is ideal when raising chickens in order to maintain the production of eggs.
How to Collect Eggs Without Disturbing Your Chickens?
Here are a few tips on collecting eggs without disturbing your chickens.
It may be helpful to bring feed to distract your hens while you collect their eggs. Bringing feed can help encourage a positive experience with you coming into the coop.
Creating a positive experience will deter your chickens from the opportunity of getting upset when you go to collect their eggs.
Lure them away
Another helpful tip for egg collection is to collect when your chickens are roaming about. This is similar to bringing feed as it is a method of distraction.
If your chickens are preoccupied, it is unlikely they will get upset or even notice when you collect their eggs.
Egg collection while they are roaming also allows your hens to feel safe and comfortable with you on neutral territory versus inside their coop or near their nesting box.
Multiple collections daily
Collecting eggs twice a day may help prevent your chickens from being disturbed when you collect their eggs.
Going for eggs multiple times throughout the day will help your hens get familiar with you, which is ideal for collecting their eggs.
Routine egg collection can also help prevent your chickens from being alarmed or disturbed.
Creating stressful situations for your chickens can cause them to associate egg collection with fear, which is not ideal for raising hens.
Collecting eggs at the same time daily can help maintain a healthy and friendly relationship with your chickens.
Try going into the coop often to let your chickens know who you are.
Routines can help prevent unexpected behavior from any livestock and are helpful when it comes to collecting eggs from your flock.
If, however, you have a small flock, collecting eggs once a day will have the same effect.
It is unlikely that your chickens will get sad when you collect their eggs. Laying hens have been bred for that exact purpose — to lay eggs!
If she does display behavior that she is bothered or otherwise unhappy with her eggs being taken, it is to be considered that she may, in fact, be broody.
Broodiness can occur when your chicken has felt inclined to stop laying eggs.
She will most likely feel like she has to sit on unfertilized ones until they hatch, which unfortunately won’t happen!
You can break this behavior fairly easily with the right tactics. Chickens often forget they have even laid an egg and do not get disturbed by the collection of them.
Rest assured that your chicken is perfectly happy unless she outwardly displays irritation signs. Happy collecting!