Sleeping in nest boxes and broken eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by loucb, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. loucb

    loucb New Egg

    Jun 24, 2009
    Hi everyone! I live in New Zealand and own 4 hens, two brown shavers and two light Sussex. They are normally very good girls and lay lots of eggs! Lately we have been finding egg goo in the nest with no shell and sometimes a broken shell and goo. We thought we might have rats but it doesn't fit. Could the chicken be laying eggs without a shell or perhaps eating her own eggs? What do I do? Ahhh!
    Also has anyone got any tips to making the little blighters sleep on their perches and not in the nest boxes? The boxes get full of poo and then the eggs are filthy. We built them a lovely new house with perches and boxes so really, they can't complain!
    Would be grateful for any advice or suggestions about either topic.
    Louise in NZ
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They could be getting broken because of sleeping in the nests and the increased activity in there. If the shells seem a little thin, they might need more calcium. You could have another predator that is eating the eggs. I think usually if the chickens start eating their own eggs, you won't find much if any egg goo.

    Usually it's recommended to have the roost higher than the nest boxes, and make the roost a little wide as chickens don't really wrap their feet around a thin narrow pole very well, like most other birds do. (You didn't say much about your setup.) You could close the nest boxes off at night, and set the girls on the roosts for a week or so, to see if this will teach them to sleep on the roosts. I'd probably tackle the sleeping in the nest boxes first and see if that solved the problem.
  3. iamsara

    iamsara Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 22, 2011
    Sonoma, Ca
    I noticed mine eating the eggs occasionally.. then I realized they were molting and 'needed; the extra protein.. So i gave them some cooked beef ( like worms!) and made sure they got more food. then all of the sudden... No more eating/broken shelled eggs!
  4. wyododge

    wyododge Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2011
    If your girls look healthy, it is probably a calcium deficiency. But it really depends, if it is one chicken or all of them. We had one gooey egg out of the blue the other day, and none since. kinda weird, we chalked it up to an oddity. If they look healthy, I would supplement oyster shell and see if it clears up. It may take a bit so be patient. If it doesn't, you may have more issues. Give it a week at least though. Sprinkle the oyster shell on top of their feed so they have to go through it to get to their feed. as time progresses it will mix in and they will take both. Then, give it to them separately or amend their feed. Really your choice.

    As far as sleeping in the nest boxes, put some soccer balls or something int here at night. If you find them in the nest boxes at night, take them out and put them on the floor. The first time nicely, then get progressively more 'determined'. Let them know you are boss, and that the nest boxes are not sleeping. Believe it or not they will respond to your actions. The whole roost higher than nest boxes is an instinctual response. Chickens in the wild root in the highest point they can. BUT!!! in a coop they don't always have the fear of predation. My mother raises chickens and her roosts are a foot off the ground, not a one sleeps in the nest boxes, as she takes them out if they get caught. Chickens respond to dominance, so use it to your advantage. They way chickens dominate each other is through pecking and aggressive action. Use aggression first and 'pecking' (aka slap or if need be a boot to the egg hole) as a back up. Generally, unless you have a chicken that is pecking you, aggression works quite well.

    Just my opinion though.

    Ohh ya, dry and grind up your egg shells and feed them back also. And no it wont make your chickens eat their eggs.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011
  5. loucb

    loucb New Egg

    Jun 24, 2009
    Cheers for your advice! They get grit, protein etc. Their perches are high (ish). Will try closing the boxes off at night and I have read that putting golf balls in their nest can stop them eating eggs. It is nearly summer here so they are not moulting. We think it just one chook doing the eating. Going to try all those things! Thanks![​IMG]
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I give my girls crushed oyster shells. They have it in a nice heavy dish they can't tip over and take what they want. The oyster shells provide the calcium they need for strong shells. If an egg breaks in a nest box they will eat the egg, so if you shells are week they may be breaking in the nest boxes. I do have golf balls in my nest boxes. I put the golf balls in the nest boxes just before they started to lay so they would lay the egg in the nest boxes and not on the floor or the ground and it has worked. All of my birds lay in the nest boxes. To keep my girls out of the nest boxes I had to close them off in the evenings and then go out and open them in the morning. I did this for about a week and it worked. Also make sure your roosts are higher than the nest boxes as they like to roost in the highest place they can. In one of my coops I made the roosts to low so they would sleep in the nest boxes so I raised the roosts and problem solved.
  7. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2010
    Quote:nest boxes about 18" off the ground, roosts much higher....pick up eggs more frequently if you can...add oyster shell to a side dish, crushed egg shell...layer feed...
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    Yep...any chicken worth it's salt will eat an egg that is already broken. This does not mean you have an "egg eater". Tend to the reasons why the shells may be thin or getting broken and your egg eater will mysteriously disappear.

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