Adult hen dropping eggs from roost

Mountain_artist

Chirping
Apr 6, 2018
51
60
96
Western North Carolina
Hi, I have 4 barred rock hens who have been laying for over a year. All summer, I've gotten 4 eggs a day from them. For the past two weeks, I've only been getting 3 in the nest, and I find one cracked in the poop under the roost! This has happened to at least a dozen eggs in the past two weeks, leading me to believe one hen is just pooping out her eggs in her sleep at night? Do they just start to do this after a year of good laying?!
Is something wrong? Should I try t figure out who it is and if she is ok? (No idea how to tell who it is!)
We have one hen who was half-eaten by a coyote this past winter, but she made a miraculous recovery and started laying regularly again a couple of months after the attack. I do worry if she had some internal damage and might be the egg pooper now, but that seems implausible since she's been fine for so long. She STILL gets a little bullied by the other hens, and I also wonder if they are somehow keeping her away from the next box during the day, but wouldn't she just go elsewhere to lay, rather than holding it in until she lays in her sleep?! I have two nest boxes (but they all prefer one,) and their coop/run is quite big. They've had past next box rebellions and found other places in their area to lay, so I'm not sure why someone is holding it in until it falls out at night.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,608
36,222
1,122
Colorado Rockies
I've had hens do this, too, and I am at a loss as to why it happens. For it to be going on for two weeks, though, indicates something is definitely up.

I'm going to suggest something not knowing if it will work, but it's harmless and won't hurt to try. On the off chance that this hen has a glitch in her 25 hour egg cycle, give her a calcium citrate tablet with vitamin D3 each day for the next week. I've had numerous hens benefit from calcium therapy and their various egg issues resolved afterward.

Of course, you will need to identify which hen it is that is dropping her eggs from the perch at night. When I have such an issue and I need to figure out which chicken it is, I go out to the coop after they've all settled in. I take a pad and pencil with me and draw a diagram noting who is sleeping in what positions along the perch. In the morning, hopefully if you find another dropped egg, it will match up with a hen on your diagram.

Another approach would be to set your alarm for just before sunrise and go out to the coop and see if there's an egg and who is sitting above it. Aside from a game cam, I see no other way to make this determination.

Good luck figuring out who it is. I hope the calcium solves the problem.
 

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