Hi peeps...this is the second day in a row that I have found a broken egg and a soft shell egg on the poop board when I go to clean in the morning. I am positive they are from my two young pullets that should be laying. I am going to start giving them extra calcium so that hopefully will take care of the soft eggs, I am wondering why they are laying in the night? Is it because they are just starting out? My other hens started during the day and were fine. Should I be concerned ?? Thanks
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About a week before they start to lay most pullets start looking for a safe place to lay. That’s when you are likely to find your nests all scratched up and maybe even your nesting material on the floor. They are checking it out. But some pullets act like they have no idea what is going on. They drop their first egg wherever they happen to be, from the roost or just walking around the coop or run. Once they gain control of that process they will lay in a nest somewhere. Since you have older hens showing them where to lay that will probably be your nests, but not always. They tend to like to lay where other chickens are laying so try to keep the accidental eggs cleaned up so they think that is a good place to lay.
I don’t know how you are feeding your flock. As you know they need a certain amount of calcium for the egg shells. If all they eat is Layer that should have enough calcium for the egg shells, but if they forage or you feed them treats offering supplemental calcium like oyster shell on the side is a good idea. But when pullets first start to lay, their body may not use the calcium they eat properly. Their instinct to eat the excess calcium has to kick in too. I think offering oyster shell on the side is a really good idea for practically all our flocks, whether it is needed or not. If they don’t need it the oyster shell can last a long time. But it may take a while for a pullet to work out all the kinks in her system including realizing she needs the extra calcium.
I did have one pullet that never gained control and would consistently lay an egg from the roosts. This went on for over two months before I finally figured out which pullet is was. There was something wrong with her so I removed her from my flock. But that is only one pullet out of all the pullets I’ve raised. Give them time. Practically all of them gain control and lay right pretty soon after they start. As complicated as that egg making factory is maybe the surprise is that so many get it right to start with.
Thanks so much for the information. It makes me feel so much better since I have only done this for about a year. I do have extra oyster shells for them but I think I may dry the shells of the eggs I get and feed them back to them. I think I know which one it is but need to watch a little closer. I do feed them layer feed but they free range all day. You are right about scratching the nesting material out of the nests. I did catch one sitting in one and when I seen her outside later I checked the nest and no egg. I think she was checking it out...Thanks again I really appreciate all the help...