What animals eat eggs in the wild and at home? Scrambled, boiled, poached, fried, or in quiche, chicken eggs are a staple all over the world. But we’re not the only ones who enjoy this high-protein food. Lots of other animals love eggs too. Today we’ll look at which predators are stealing your backyard chickens’ eggs, and at which pets you can feed your excess eggs to.
What Animals Eat Eggs from Backyard Chickens?
Backyard chickens have become increasingly popular in recent years. They provide healthy, locally sourced food without fear of contaminants and allow backyard chicken owners to know where their food came from with the added benefit of leaving a small carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, when you have a backyard chicken coop, lots of wild animals could be tempted to sneak into your backyard and eat your chickens’ eggs.
What Animals Eat Eggs in the Wild?
Unguarded chicken coops are easy targets for numerous wild animals on the hunt for a nutritious food source. If you’ve noticed missing or damaged eggs, any one of the following animals are potential egg thieves:
Do Squirrels Eat Eggs?
Squirrels are omnivorous animals. It means they not only eat nuts, but also plants and meat. Squirrels love to eat raw chickens’ eggs, which provides them with many nutrients that help their growth, including protein, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and calcium.
If you have a pet squirrel, they can only eat eggs in their raw form. Their digestive system is not robust enough to eat cooked forms of chicken eggs.
What Pet Animals Eat Eggs?
There are several pet animals you might like to feed your eggs to, but only a few common pets can eat eggs.
Do Rabbits Eat Eggs?
As herbivores, rabbits’ digestive systems are designed to eat a lot of fiber and a little bit of protein, but that protein should not be from eggs because their bodies cannot process them.
In the wild, rabbits never eat eggs. Their diet consists primarily of large amounts of grass that provide them with the necessary nutritional requirements. Cooked or raw, eggs are bad for rabbits.
Do Guinea Pigs Eat Eggs?
Guinea pigs are herbivores. Their digestive systems are designed to digest plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, and hay easily. These foods contain a lot of fiber to keep them regular and healthy. Eggs don’t contain any fiber and are a source of animal protein that guinea pigs have a hard time digesting.
Eggs are also high in cholesterol. It can accumulate in their blood vessels and lead to heart complications in guinea pigs. In short, guinea pigs should never eat eggs because they cannot digest them properly.
Do Chickens Eat Eggs?
Like humans, chickens are omnivores, meaning they eat vegetables, fruits, and animal foods. Chickens require protein and calcium to ensure good health, two things that are found abundantly in eggs. If chickens in the wild or your chicken coop aren’t getting enough of either nutrient, they could resort to eating eggs.
If backyard chickens are egg eaters, it’s a good sign that their diet is inadequate in amounts of calcium or protein. Ensure they’re getting feed formulated for laying hens and provide a separate source of calcium, such as crushed oyster shells.
Do Dogs Eat Eggs?
Eggs have many nutritional benefits for dogs, such as amino acids found in protein, essential fatty acids, and numerous vitamins and minerals.
But despite their many nutrients, dogs should only eat eggs in moderation, no more than one a day. Smaller dogs should only get half an egg daily. Too many eggs can upset their stomach, and at about 70 calories each can increase the risk of obesity. Foods high in protein, such as eggs, are also a common allergen in dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Raw Eggs or Egg Shells?
Although some people choose to feed their dog a raw diet, raw food requires great care when handling. Generally, raw eggs are not recommended for dogs because of the risk of salmonella, which can be passed on to their owners. Even though biotin is not regarded as an essential nutrient for dogs, raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin, which can induce biotin deficiency.
While egg shells are almost entirely made up of calcium, which dogs need to ensure healthy bones and teeth, they’re also deficient in phosphorus, which can cause a dietary imbalance in some dogs.
Excess calcium can be particularly harmful for growing puppies as it can lead to skeletal problems. Broken eggshells can have sharp edges, which can be painful to eat and damage their throat or digestive tract. On the plus side, eating eggshells may offer some relief for dogs who suffer from arthritis. Studies have found that eggshell membrane can reduce joint pain and improve mobility.
Before you give your dog eggshells, check with your veterinarian. If you get the green light, clean and boil the eggs first. Eggshells aren’t very tasty, so it’s best to crush and mix them with your dog’s regular food to make them more palatable.
Do Cats Eat Eggs?
Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they thrive on a diet based on animal protein. While eggs are an excellent source of protein, they also contain a lot of fat. Scrambled or boiled eggs are OK as a treat for your cat but shouldn’t be a significant part of their diet.
If you want to feed your cat eggs, it’s better to cook them. Raw eggs can carry salmonella. Cooking eggs will protect your cat from gastrointestinal problems associated with bacterial poisoning. Raw egg whites, in particular, can cause problems for cats as they contain avidin, a protein, which when eaten raw, can inhibit the absorption of biotin and complex B vitamins.
What Animals Eat Eggs?
Chicken eggs are a delicious and healthy part of the diet of many animals. Numerous creatures in the wild will steal chicken eggs if they get the chance.
Some pets, like dogs and cats can eat eggs, provided they’re not eaten too often, but herbivores, like rabbits and guinea pigs should never eat eggs.
Learn More About What To Feed Your Pets
- Ruff et al. “Effectiveness of NEM® brand eggshell membrane in the treatment of suboptimal joint function in dogs: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.” Veterinary Medicine, 2016.
- Azeke et al. “The effect of daily egg-yolk consumption on the serum lipid profile of rabbits.” Ann Nutr Metab, 2015.
- Carey et al. “Biotin Deficiency in the Cat and the Effect on Hepatic Propionyl CoA Carboxylase.” Journal of Nutrition, 1977.
- Leonard et al. “Evaluation of Pet-Related Management Factors and the Risk of Salmonella spp. Carriage in Pet Dogs from Volunteer Households in Ontario (2005–2006).” Zoonoses and Public Health, 2011.