EE laid Normal to Balloon egg? Help.

Robind15

In the Brooder
Jul 20, 2021
29
7
27
Central Florida
Hello! My first EE laid her first egg beautifully. Not blue or green but a cream egg. Then I saw her in the yard under bushes one day trying to lay an egg. I decide to carefully pick her up and put her in the box. I turned around to pick up her egg and it was squishy like a balloon!

She hasn’t laid since. She wants to lay but not in the nesting box. She rather go through a fence ans in deep bushes to lay. Which I don’t want to do.

What’s wrong with her? How can I help her?
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
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The first few eggs often have issues while a pullet's internal laying machine gets all the kinks worked out.

The "balloon" egg sounds like a soft-shelled egg; it's a common thing to happen to new layers. If you aren't feeding layer feed (which contains calcium), then you need to put out oyster shell or crushed up egg shells for the girls to eat to get the calcium they need to make firm shells when they lay.

If your birds are free ranging, they may not equate nest boxes in the coop with good places to lay. Do you have some fake eggs in the nest box? I've heard other people say they use golf balls. The idea is to make the bird think that that is where I should lay my eggs. If other birds lay here, it must be ok.

Laying time is a dangerous time for chickens, at least in their minds. They're, well, sitting chickens, for any predator. They need to feel safe while they lay.
 

Robind15

In the Brooder
Jul 20, 2021
29
7
27
Central Florida
The first few eggs often have issues while a pullet's internal laying machine gets all the kinks worked out.

The "balloon" egg sounds like a soft-shelled egg; it's a common thing to happen to new layers. If you aren't feeding layer feed (which contains calcium), then you need to put out oyster shell or crushed up egg shells for the girls to eat to get the calcium they need to make firm shells when they lay.

If your birds are free ranging, they may not equate nest boxes in the coop with good places to lay. Do you have some fake eggs in the nest box? I've heard other people say they use golf balls. The idea is to make the bird think that that is where I should lay my eggs. If other birds lay here, it must be ok.

Laying time is a dangerous time for chickens, at least in their minds. They're, well, sitting chickens, for any predator. They need to feel safe while they lay.
Yes they have been on layer feed. They feel range all day. I have a community box that has 4 plastic baskets filled with grass patches and yes golf balls too. One of my older more dominant hens is being broody and is always in there. I have to take her out many times of the day. I realize sometimes that when the older hens are busy in the box the young ones won’t go in. Maybe she not feeling safe because of the older birds.

She has gone 5x from the coop across my drive way through two cattle fences to get to this thick brush spot. Which in perspective is 4 car lengths away but still I’m like no you can’t be laying back here something is gonna get you!

I had this gut feeling to lock her in the nesting box by herself then wait 30mins to see what happens. I know she has to lay or she knows she has to lay but won’t get comfortable if the traffic picks up through the nesting box. Do you think that will help?
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
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I had this gut feeling to lock her in the nesting box by herself then wait 30mins to see what happens. I know she has to lay or she knows she has to lay but won’t get comfortable if the traffic picks up through the nesting box. Do you think that will help?
You can try it, if your nest box has a ventilated door that closes/locks.

Or just don't let her free range until she's laid for the day, though that might be tricky with other birds needing to come and go.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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One of my older more dominant hens is being broody and is always in there. I have to take her out many times of the day.
Take her out and put her in a breaker crate.
I'd bet hard cash money that is big part of the problem.

Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop/run for a week or so can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. Fake eggs/golf balls in the nests can help 'show' them were to lay. They can be confined to coop and maybe run 24/7 for a few days to a week, provided you have adequate space and ventilation, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it. ..at least for a good while, then repeat as necessary.
 

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