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knocking nesting material out of box - broken egg

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by thomshap, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. thomshap

    thomshap In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    I'm a pretty novice chicken owner here, and I have 5 hens, 3 of which are still pullets and two of which are at least a year old. The two older hens did not lay for a couple of weeks after we introduced them to their new setting, but both girls are laying now. Unfortunately, one of them is incredibly thrashy when she is laying, so that she knocks most or all of the pine shavings out of the nesting box, regardless of how much I add each day. This morning's egg had a broken tip, as if it had landed hard on the wood of the nesting box. So I have two questions; one: is it safe to eat the egg -- the membrane is intact, just the tip has broken shell; two: what can I do to discourage her from knocking everything out of the box, or should I lay some newspaper or something else in the bottom of the nest box to soften the blow when the egg drops? This is the only time she's had a broken egg (and it's only the third egg we've had from her -- the first one was a *huge* double-yolked egg, the other two have been more normal in size) so I might be overreacting to the situation, but I'd hate to put her through all the work of laying eggs we can't eat because she's broken them, especially if she lays another gargantuan one.

    Thanks for any advice you might have.
  2. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    The egg with the crack should be fine to eat. Make it soon (like immediately) and cook thoroughly.
    Some people have resorted to putting a cushion in the nest box, like the foam non-skid shelf liner; or carpeting. A few layers of newspaper should work fine as well.


    Welcome to BYC

  3. Jajika

    Jajika Songster 10 Years

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    What you have described is perfectly normal behavior for hens.

    Not matter how much straw I put in the coops and nesting boxes, my chickens scratch around like crazy.

    I too pile it high and deep. However, it depends on what time of day before most of the straw is pushed a way.

    Don't fret, just let the chickens do what they do naturally. I'm not in favor of anything with foam or a cushion. It will get dirty and possibly moldy. Just pile on the stuff you put in the coop as best you can and keep an eye on it.

    I have had a broken egg or two. If it is just a crack, I cook it right away.

    Have fun.
  4. thomshap

    thomshap In the Brooder

    Jul 10, 2010
    Thanks for the replies. Yeah, she did it again today -- not broken as badly, just a little crack, but she's in there for over an hour and completely drives all of the bedding out of the box. I hate to micromanage the chickens (as I have a tendency to in other areas of my life) but she also hollers a LOT when she is done, while the other laying hen is stoic. Does this mean it's especially hard for her or is it just a difference in chickenality? I know chickens evolved to do this whole thing just fine on their own, but there are so many threads dedicated to all chickens gone wrong, that it's hard not to be a little paranoid.

    I'll try some folded newspaper in the bottom of the nesting box beneath the shavings and see if that makes a difference for the broken egg part of this, since I can dispose of it when it gets soiled.

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