Laying broken eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by razoo, Nov 25, 2016.

  1. razoo

    razoo Just Hatched

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    Hello, I wonder if you can help us?
    We have four hens, barnyard mix. One is a very large black hen that lays very big eggs.
    Every so often we find evidence of an egg being eaten.
    We did the mustard egg thing a few times. Can't say that it helped. The mustard egg would disappear or possibly get eaten.
    We continued to see evidence of an egg being eaten.
    The chickens are fed layer crumbles, with added oyster grit, meal worms, and a few kitchen scraps.

    Today, we think we solved the mystery. My daughter saw the large black hen lay an egg that appeared to be already broken in half before it was laid.
    Immediately the other hens ran to eat the egg.

    What could be the cause of her laying a broken egg?
    Is it because her eggs are so huge?
    Is there anything that we can do about it?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Unsure why she'd be laying a broken egg. Here are some former BYC threads that discuss it: https://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=Chicken+laying+broken+egg
    Hope you find some useful information. If they are eating already broken eggs it's not too huge of a deal...if they start pecking them open themselves it can be a pain to break them of that! Good luck to you!
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She could be deficit in protein or calcium. Switching to a higher protein feed than layer can help. 18-20% is best. Always have a separate dish of oyster shells free choice. A calcium deficiency can cause brittle eggs. A protein deficiency will make hens crave eggs, an easy source of protein.

    Are your hens laying on the floor? How old are your hens?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How old is bird?
    Was the broken egg that was observed being laid hard shelled or soft shelled?

    Do you have pics of her large eggs?
    Are the shells usually good and thick and hard or thin and fragile?

    What and how exactly are you feeding?
     
  5. razoo

    razoo Just Hatched

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    Thanks for your responses.
    She is about 7 moths old.
    There is also oyster grit available separately, but we started adding it to their food as we wondered if she was avoiding it.
    She lays the whole eggs in the nesting boxes. The broken egg my daughter saw her laying was in the run.
    The egg shell appeared normal for her, that is slightly thinner than the others. It was in two halves, so had its proper shape. Even though broken, it was very large.

    We give them meal worms every day, would that be sufficient protein?

    The other hens lay eggs with thick strong shells, certainly stronger than store bought eggs.
    Her egg shells are thinner. One egg she laid had evidence of three cracks which appeared to have healed themselves? I dont have a picture of her eggs, but in an egg carton, it sits in the egg carton but the lid can't close as it is so big.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    When all the other birds are laying nice solid eggs and one bird is not....
    ......then it's nothing to do with feed or supplements so much as it is something is off with that particular bird.
    Could be a genetic defect/malformation in nutrient uptake and/or reproductive organs.
    Tho sometimes a skittish bird and/or one low in the pecking order who is harassed can have funky eggs from the stress.

    Tho you didn't tell us what kind of feed the are getting
    (brand, type, and protein percentage is good to know),
    I would not put oyster shell in the feed.

    Was the egg your daughter saw laid soft or hard/thin shelled?
    How long has this bird been laying and have her eggs always been problematic?
     
  7. razoo

    razoo Just Hatched

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    Specifically the feed is Southern States, all grain layer and breeder crumbles, 16% protein.

    The egg my daughter saw laid broken, was not soft. It was normal in terms of soft vs brittle. It was slightly thinner than the other hens eggs, about the same as store bought eggs.

    After the rooster, she is highest on the pecking order, Appears very calm, not skittish. She is larger than the other hens, to pick up feels heavier than the rooster.

    The other hens started laying around six months old, she was two weeks later than them. She has been laying for 3 to 4 weeks. We don't know how long she has been laying broken eggs. Two weeks ago we first saw evidence of eggs being eaten.
    We don't know if any eggs were intentionally broken or if she laid a broken egg which they then eat.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sounds like maybe they break easily...so fair game for them to eat, can be hard to discover as they often leave nothing but a wet spot.
    Not much you can do to 'fix' it...hope it is still a new layer problem that will resolve.

    I've had a few birds that just don't lay good eggs, something out of whack inside, it happens.
    Just finally pinpointed yesterday who the weak layer in my flock was, after weeks and weeks of soiled nests and funky thin shells.
    Those eggs stopped showing up and she went into a hard molt, she'll be banded and added to the cull list.
     

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