Do chickens lay eggs while sleeping on the roost? Broken eggs-help?!?


9 Years
May 19, 2010
Franklin, TN
2 days in a row now, I've found broken eggs in the coop under the roost in the morning. The roost is inches away from the nesting boxes (on a different wall) so it's not like they can't get there. And it looks like 2 different hens have done this. When the first one happened, I thought maybe someone had kicked it out of the nesting box, though there is a pretty good lip on it to prevent them from rolling out. They do use the box regularly but these seem to be happening overnight. They are in their coop from dark to about 7AM, then are outside all day free ranging though they have access to the coop & the run all day as well.
*the first egg was normal but the 2nd was one of those with a soft shell. I think it's probably the same hen because it's right under the same spot (and my girls seem to have picked out their positions on the roost). The first one was green so that tells me which hen it is, the 2nd was hard to tell because of the soft shell. They do have oyster shell & yogurt frequently along with a complete feed so I'm guessing the soft shell is one of those weird flukes.
So my question is: do chickens lay while they are sleeping on the roost?
I haven't had any lay at night. They usually start about 8 am and are done by 3:30 pm(approx 16 hens). The only time i had a soft egg was when one was standing on the waterer and layed her egg right into the water, it actually was mush. probably was her first one and she didn't know she was supposed to go into the nesting boxes. I use locally grown/made organic layer feed and oyster shells.
I had the same thing happen to me as well. A couple of days ago, I went outside to open up the coop door and found a soft shelled egg right under the roost. I wasn't sure where it came from or when.
Mine have been laying a while and have always used the nesting box (except for one who layed up in the trees for about a week). The first egg was a normal shell and the 2nd a soft one. I"m wondering if it may just be a fluke or if others have had this happen. I'm not really concerned about the soft shell as it is just this once but more about laying while sitting on the roost!
@wyandotte freak - mine usually lay about the same time as yours - just heard the egg song as I type - I've never had one in a box when I let them out in the morning.
I'm wondering if maybe the shorter days is causing an issue. They are getting locked up in their coop at 7-ish instead of 8:30 or 9, and maybe the extended darkness is throwing them off. But you'd think they/she would figure out to hop over to the box if she's getting the urge to lay!
My Lt Brahmas recently started laying. They were dropping their first eggs from the roost in the middle of the nite. I wondered if perhaps their bodies just were having to learn the process. They each did it about two times each and no more.
I actually get a "night" egg a couple of times a month. I have no idea who's doing it so I call her my Midnight Mystery Egg Layer.
I don't have a poop board because I clean the overnight messes up right when I let them out in the mornings, so I haven't had one broken yet. It just lands in the 3 or 4 inches of pine shavings and is waiting for me in the morning (sometimes a little poopy). The first few were soft shelled but lately they have been normal eggs, just laid on the roost at night for some reason. My girls are just under 8 months old so I wonder if this is just because they are young. Otherwise everyone uses the nest boxes. So, I guess the mystery continues...
i found a shell-less egg in my nesting box and jello egg in the coop under the roosting bar in the same week!!!
i decided to give them oystershell now and it hasnt happened again...
If they're new (or fairly new) layers, this is very common; just make sure to remove all the remnants as soon as possible! If you don't, they'll begin eating them, and you DO NOT want egg eaters! Make sure they have oyster shell, and the issue should soon go away.
Interestingly enough, today I had the soft egg under the roost AND 1 egg from every hen in the boxes. Completely a mystery. We only have 4 hens so it's pretty easy to see what's what. So everybody laid an egg in the box today, and one of them laid the soft egg from the roost.
Thanks @Wynette - I do clean the bottom of the coop every morning as soon as they go out to free range - I had heard that about the egg eaters plus I like to start out clean every morning. We have vinyl flooring on the bottom so its easy to clean.

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