Can Chickens Move Their Eggs? (& How They Do It!)

It could be the crazy chicken owner talking, but I swear my hen moved one of the eggs from one nesting box to the other!

How? That’s what I intend to find out.

Sure, we’ve seen chickens move their eggs around when they’re sitting on top of them, but from one place to another, I don’t believe it.

So, in case you’ve ever wondered, here’s whether chickens can move their eggs, how they move their eggs, and whether chickens can actually pick up their eggs to move them!

Can Chickens Move Their Eggs?

It’s one of the cutest things to see, a mamma hen moving her eggs under herself for optimal warmth, helping with the incubation of the eggs.

It’s actually more common than you would think. If one of your hens has gone broody, it’s likely she will try to round up all the eggs in the nesting box into a nice, tight formation before promptly plopping herself on top of them. 

You might even see her rearranging them from time to time while their under or around her.

So, chickens are entirely capable of moving their eggs, and in fact, they do so with purpose. Chickens move their eggs in an attempt to keep them safe and warm while they brood on them. 

But, there’s a limit, right?

A hen gently moving all her eggs together, totally natural. But, a hen trying to shift eggs from one nesting box to another, not as likely.

Why Do Chickens Move Their Eggs? 

There are two main reasons a chicken will move their eggs.

The main reason is to ensure they are all within her protection, and receive her body heat as she incubates them. She will occasionally shift them around underneath herself too. This helps all the eggs receive adequate heat. 

The second reason a chicken would move their eggs is if they feel they are not safe in their nesting box. Still, there’s a limit here. Normally a hen will simply start laying in another nesting box or safe location.

But, if they’re particularly broody you may see them going to extra lengths to move their eggs. Don’t worry, chickens don’t get sad when you take their eggs, even if they’re broody!

How Do Chickens Move Their Eggs?

The most common and normal way a chicken will move their eggs is by gently guiding the eggs with its beak.

Chicken beaks aren’t equipped with the ability to pick up their eggs easily. Plus, chickens can’t use their wings like hands to pick up and move their eggs. It just doesn’t work like that!

So, if chickens do need to move their eggs, they’ll give them a gentle nudge with their beaks to get them in place. 

In the nesting box, a broody hen will feel the need to rotate her eggs from time to time. You may notice your hen moving them from the center to the outside edges, shuffling them around a bit.

This regular shifting ensures that nothing sticks to the shell membrane on the inside and helps provide a more successful hatching process. As a result, nesting chickens will keep repeating this daily until all their eggs have hatched.

Can Chickens Pick Up And Carry Their Eggs?

There’s a heated and mixed debate going on here.

Some chicken owners have sworn they’ve seen their hens pick up their eggs and tuck them in their wings while moving them from the nesting box to another, or to another nest they’ve made.

Others have said it’s possible for a chicken to carry an egg under their chin, using its beak and neck muscles to hold it against its chest.

Although there may be a rare occasion where a chicken is able to do this, in general, chickens can not pick up and carry their eggs.

It’s not uncommon for a broody hen to try their best to move eggs from one place to another, but there’s a limit due to its inability to pick up and carry eggs.

Instead, it’s much more likely that they’ll repetitively tap, drag, or nudge their eggs to where they want them!

To Sum Up

So, if you’re wondering if chickens can move their eggs, the answer is absolutely yes.

But, if you think your hen has picked up her eggs, jumped down from the nesting box, and moved them to another location or nesting box, then you might just be going mad!

I’m not saying it’s impossible, as there have been reports of chickens having the ability to pick up eggs under their wings, it’s not something the everyday chicken is capable of. No matter how broody they are!

When it comes to hens moving their eggs, they will normally just guide them with their beaks around the nesting box, shifting them from time to time to ensure they are all receiving adequate heat and protection.

If you have evidence of chickens moving their eggs another way — please share it below with us – we would all love to see it!

4 thoughts on “Can Chickens Move Their Eggs? (& How They Do It!)”

  1. I have a poop tray under the roosting bars, above the coop floor. I always leave two ceramic eggs in one of the nesting boxes. One ceramic egg went missing for a couple of months, then reappeared. I assume it was hidden in a corner by one of my hens.

    This morning I looked in the nesting box and they were both gone. I opened the coop door, and they were up on the poop tray. One of the hens had to pick it up somehow, jump up to the poop tray and release it there.

    • I have 2 ceramic eggs and I keep them separated by a wall in two separate nest boxes and somehow they keep putting them in same box !

      • my hen somehow moved her eggs from one nesting box into the next door nesting box. I still feel like my mind is exploding. she’s so broody she attacks me if I try to move her. she has eggs under her though. I have seen that much. her original nest was empty so she didn’t leave any eggs behind. so mind blowing.

  2. My hen moved 12 eggs from a nest on a shelf (converted book shelf-to-layered-nesting-shelves) to the shelf below it. Three cracked but nine were perfectly intact. And all clustered together as normal for a nesting hen!


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