Laying at night...broken eggs


8 Years
Apr 2, 2011
NW Ohio
I have 4 hens that have been laying for weeks. One that has not and is a 6 month old NHR. The other day, I found a soft shelled egg, on the very edge of the roost, as if she laid at some point after dark, but before morning as I went into work early that morning.

Yesterday, I got my normal 4 eggs.

Today I went out to find yet another egg, hard shelled at least, but it was from the roost, had fallen and landed in the poo, and had a big crack, but savagable. Carefully cleaned it, boiled it, and fed it to my confined, injured, non laying, hen in my garage. She LOVED it.

Is it she doesn't know to use the nest boxes, or is it because she is new, and it happens when she is asleep, and it just happens???

I am hoping since it takes 25 hours, and times will change, she may end up laying when she is finally OFF the roost! LOL

Any ideas?? Thoughts??

I am worried about the habit of egg eating if she can't get her nest box, egg laying boundaries set.
Just to let you know you're being read. But I've never heard of a chicken just "oozing" out an egg at night. Thin shells could be taken care of with feeding oyster shell on the side.
It sounds like the new one is starting to lay. Sometimes they don't realize what is happening on the first few eggs. The eggs just pop out wherever they are, whether that is on the roost or just walking around. Almost always they gain control over the process in a few days, become able to hold it until morning, and start looking for a nest before they lay. Almost always. I had one that did not learn for over two months and kept laying from the roost, but that is exceedingly rare. They are living animals. It is usually impossible to say what they will always do, but on this one I'll say almost always.

It takes about 25 hours from when the egg starts its journey through the internal laying factory until it is laid, though the hen can hold it for a while if she wants to. But there is not a link between laying one egg and starting another one. The second egg can easily start before the first one is laid. I've had hens that were regular as clockwork. Their egg would be laid the same time each day, which means the second egg started before the first was laid. And I've had some that were pretty irregular. When an egg starts the journey is caused by hormones. I have not read anything I trust as to what causes the hormones to start the second egg, but some people think light has something to do with it. And since they lay at all times of the day, different ones have different triggers.

When a hen first starts to lay, she may not have all the kinks worked out of ther internal egg laying factory. That's why you can get all those weird first eggs, double yolkers, no yolks, really small eggs, soft shelled eggs, wrinkled eggs, whatever. Usually within a very few eggs, the hen gets those kinks worked out. If your other hens are laying eggs with good shells, than that first soft shelled egg has nothing to do with how much calcium the pullet was eating. It has more to do with how her body processes the calcium. That's one of the kinks her body needs to work out. There is nothing wrong with offering oyster shell on the side, but because a pullet just starting to lay gives you a soft shelled egg does not mean you have to start trying to cram extra calcium down the throat of all your chickens.

I don't blame you for having some concern over them learning to be egg eaters. Most flocks go through pullets occasionally laying eggs from the roost when they are learning to lay and don't develop into egg eaters, but it can happen. A cracked egg is not usually much of a problem. A shattered egg will almost certainly be eaten. The usually do not draw a connection between a shattered egg and one that is not opened for them, but occasionally it does happen. I won't tell you not to worry, but I will say it does not happen often.
I have found several under the roost, one on the ground outside, and just last week as I sat watching the girls in the stopped eating and out popped her first egg!

They don't really "get it" yet I can imagine. I thought they would know they were going to have an egg...guess not!

All the harder shelled eggs are being found in the nest boxes or hidden nests...this will be dealt with girls are on lock down till they "get it"
(I found a secret nest last night with 5 broken up eggs in the nobody goes out till later on today)
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