Shells are cracked when layed...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AshleyBelle, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. AshleyBelle

    AshleyBelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Bloomington, IN
    Hi ya'll! Well, I'm having a small problem. A lot of the shells are cracked after being layed. I witnessed one this morning. Most eggs are layed in the boxes and they always push around the hay/straw/chip mix so much so that it's bare plywood when their eggs drop. Actually, no matter where they lay, they make a hole so it's plain, bare plywood and thus we get some cracked eggs. We have 6 hens. 2 BAs, 3 RIRs and 1 Buff Orp. The one I witnessed was a RIRs. They are being fed Country Road Crumbles (they don't like/eat the pellets), have a separate feeder for oyster shells and seem happy and healthy.

    I've read many articles and other people stating that they will eat whatever amount of oyster shells for the extra calcium for good hard shells! Is she really getting enough calcium or is the best box she's laying in too hard? Should we put something "softer" in the boxes to help avoid more cracked shells? What do we do about the rest of the coop that's hardwood? I'm more worried about the cleanliness of the main floor if we put something carpet or outdoor rug like down.

    Any suggestions? Anyone that has dealt with this, what did you do to change the softness of the floor?

    P.S. The pictures attached are of the cracked egg I witnessed this morning. They are not ridiculously cracked but enough so that I'm afraid to eat it.
    [​IMG]
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    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. btruegs

    btruegs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    your hens need more calcium. try adding a dish of oyster shell by the layer feed.
     
  3. btruegs

    btruegs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    scratch that. id put a shallow plastic bin in tthe lay box with straw or chips
     
  4. ShockValue

    ShockValue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine do the same thing with scratching down to plywood. They have large nesting boxes with a lot of material, but they still scratch all the way down. They almost bury themselves when laying because I've added so much nesting material to try and get them to knock it off.

    So far our eggs come out unscathed because they lay with very thick shells. (Even the eggs they dropped 3 feet off the roost bar were fine.)
     
  5. evemfoster

    evemfoster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had this happening years ago. I solved it by putting Styrofoam with a plastic cover under the nesting material. The foam has to be in a protective wrapping or the chickens will eat it, they just LOVE eating Styrofoam. I used thin sheet Styrofoam cut to the shape and size of the nest-box. I wrapped the foam in heavy plastic sheeting and duct taped it closed. Then i had to screw down the corners of the foam using washers to keep the screws from pulling through. Otherwise the hens would pull the foam back out of the nest boxes. Then I just put their nesting material on top. I would often find they had scratched down to the plastic before laying their eggs. But the checked eggs stopped. (It may have worked better to just cover the foam with 2 or 3 layers of duct tape. I didn't try it).

    I did have to replace the foam in one of the nest boxes a lot. The one of the hens that used that box was a very aggressive scratcher. She eventually ended up in freezer camp when i got tired of replacing the foam.

    Oh, the egg in your photo is graded 'checked', the shell is cracked but the membrane inside the egg is still intact. It's considered miner after laying damage. They are ok to eat and are still sold for eating in farm stores. I have never given a thought to not eating one with such miner damage. Just crack the egg in a different spot when you use the egg. As long as the shell is clean when the egg is picked there shouldn't be a problem. I would make sure it is cooked 'well done'. However I would never eat a checked egg that is 'dirty' when its picked. There is just no way to safely wash a checked dirty egg.
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Sounds like you would do well to affix a "pad" of sorts (could be just about anything really) in the bottom of each nest - attach it directly to the plywood and bed over that. They can dig the bedding all they want, but won't be laying directly onto the plywood so the pad will cushion the egg. That being said, you may also want to give consideration to the overall strength of the eggs as I have had hens lay from considerable height and onto some awfully solid surfaces and not had damage issues - same with having dropped the eggs myself (or knocked them into something by accident) - a good, well shelled egg can take quite a bit of abuse w/out cracking.
     
  7. AshleyBelle

    AshleyBelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Bloomington, IN
    These are all great responses! Thanks everyone!
     
  8. AshleyBelle

    AshleyBelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Bloomington, IN

    I thought they were pretty strong. They are much stronger than typical store bought when I try and crack them. Maybe store bought aren't a good comparison? How do they get harder shells when they always have food and water and extra calcium with oyster shells with them 24/7?
     
  9. AshleyBelle

    AshleyBelle Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 13, 2014
    Bloomington, IN
    @evemfoster

    That's good to know that those cracked eggs are still ok to eat!!! I have several cracked but none of them have ever broken the membrane. We wanted to make some deviled eggs anyhow so we'll use those! Thanks :)
     
  10. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one hen who regularly lays a very thin-shelled egg, regardless of diet. (She has other problems too, but so sweet.....).

    I bought golfing carpet (for practising golf indoors, apparently). I have heard fake turf works too, though is harder to clean. I cut it into shape for the 3 nesting boxes and have two spares. The golf carpet squares go down on the plywood, then straw on top. It prevents some of them from breaking - and is also much easier to clean up when one does break. I just take the golf carpet out, wash it and replace it with one of the clean spares. It has helped a lot. All the best
     

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