Strange wet spot in the nesting box...no shell or and membrane?

AlaskaGrown

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 2, 2014
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I just got eight laying hens last weekend. The hens are between 10 months and 2-3 years old. Here is a link to a thread with a pic of them https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/873917/what-breeds-are-these#post_13270680

So far one of the hens has laid an egg that had a soft partial shell and cracked in the nesting box. I then noticed on two separate occasions this week that there is a large egg sized wet spot in a nesting box, but no signs of a yolk... Could a hen be laying an egg with no shell, membrane or discernible yolk?

I have narrowed the culprit down to either the Leghorn or the Minorca, as the first 1/2 shelled egg was white and too large to have come from a hamburg.

Thank you in advance for he help
 

Wynette

Crowing
Premium member
12 Years
Sep 25, 2007
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I don't know where you got the chickens, but it sounds to me like someone was trying to get rid of either egg eaters, or that the flock is older than stated.

A wet spot with no shell or membrane remnants is most definitely from an eaten egg; it COULD have been thin shelled or shelless but regardless, if they start eating eggs, it's VERY difficult to get them to stop. It can be done, I've done so, but it takes a whole lot of diligence on your part and is very frustrating to go through.

The reason I wonder if they are older than stated is because often, when a hen is older, she'll lay thin shelled eggs. Also, it seems like with that many hens, IF the ages were true as stated, you'd be getting plenty more eggs than you've been getting.

I'd contact the seller and ask them if they had an issue with them eating eggs.

By the way, if you suspect they're eating eggs, you need to get going IMMEDIATELY on getting it stopped. The longer you wait, the more habit forming it will be. Sorry, not trying to scare you...! I'm speaking from experience.
 
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AlaskaGrown

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 2, 2014
52
1
81
I will keep an eye on them today and see if the same thing happens. It looks like the hens have settled in. Yesterday afternoon the hamburgs laid for the first time, and we ended up with 6 eggs + 1 potentially eaten egg. I was able to get the eggs out within an hour of them being laid. I spoke to the seller and he said that one was laying a soft egg and he noticed ever once in awhile that an egg had a hole in it... I will watch them today to make sure.
 

AlaskaGrown

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 2, 2014
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in your experience are specific breeds of hens more prone to eating their own eggs?
 

AlaskaGrown

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 2, 2014
52
1
81
You were right! I just found three hens in the coop eating an egg. One orpington/production mix, a leghorn, and a red sex link. How do I get them stop egging the eggs? Unfortunately during the week my wife and I both work. We open the coop up around 5 or 6 and let them free range before roosting for the night, and free range them all day on Saturday and Sunday...

I am considering selling the three or changing my plans for Easter dinner if there is no other remedy.
 

Wynette

Crowing
Premium member
12 Years
Sep 25, 2007
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THat's probably the reason they were sold. I don't want to accuse anyone of anything, but I have seen this over & over again.

Okay, so the very best way to end it permanently is to build yourself rollout nest boxes. I don't know what your coop situation is like, and if making rollout nest boxes (there are plans here on BYC) is an option, but that is the only 100% proven way to stop it.

However, it takes time to make rollout nest boxes, and time you haven't got.

Your options are to dispatch the chickens (you state you have seen THREE doing it, so I'm sure they have ALL done this at one point...), which will resolve the issue but you'll not get any eggs and you've wasted time & money feeding them.

The other option - and there are many things you can do, but this worked for me. I added minature "curtains" to the nest box openings. They opened just enough so that the hens could easily get in & out, but not completley closed them off - if they can't see inside, they won't attempt to go in. That will help...but, if they hop in and there's already an egg in there, they may eat the egg before laying their own.

You also need to provide them a ton of things to do to get their minds OFF of eating eggs. They could be lacking protein - throw them some dried cat food, not a lot, just a handful. Provide them with a Flock Block so they have something to peck at. Get a suet feeder (i use the triple suet cake size) and suspend it from the top if you have one, or hang it on a plant hanger - some way to make it swing. MOunt it so that the suet feeder is just at head level...then load it up with dark, leafy greens, which they love and are SO good for them. You can also stuff apples, chunks of squash, whatever is on sale or in the "over the hill bin" at the store. The idea is that once they figure it out, they'll stand there for hours pecking at it to try to get the goodies out. You may need to put some on ground underneath, or pull some out through the holes of the suet feeder to get them going.

Add some boxes or large branches to their run so they have things to hop on, scratch at, etc. If you keep them busy, they "should" go in, lay their eggs, and then want to go right back out for the goodies they know they'll get.

Lastly, as you have learned, the very best way to stop them is to collect eggs often. Lots of folks aren't in a situation to be able to do that, but get creative...maybe you have a neighbor that's willing to help?
 

AlaskaGrown

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 2, 2014
52
1
81
I put a few golf balls in the nesting boxes per a comment on a different thread. I will put some curtains up and see if it works. Unfortunately we just built 4 new nesting boxes before we got the hens... I may be able to modify them to roll the eggs out...
 

AlaskaGrown

Chirping
5 Years
Mar 2, 2014
52
1
81
I just found this. I think I can easily modify my boxes to fit this design

 

Wynette

Crowing
Premium member
12 Years
Sep 25, 2007
25,574
170
421
Michigan
I put a few golf balls in the nesting boxes per a comment on a different thread. I will put some curtains up and see if it works. Unfortunately we just built 4 new nesting boxes before we got the hens... I may be able to modify them to roll the eggs out...
I forgot that important step! But, the golf balls didn't work for my hens. I had to get wooden nest eggs - I got them from a craft store. They could tell the golf balls were not the same as eggs. The very best "decoy" is a ceramic egg, but they can be difficult to find. My local FAmily Farm & Home carries them, but I don't know that they normally do - I think they have them now because of "chick days."
 

Wynette

Crowing
Premium member
12 Years
Sep 25, 2007
25,574
170
421
Michigan
I just found this. I think I can easily modify my boxes to fit this design

Hmm....I think that would work; they'd still be able to reach them if they really wanted to, though. With a "traditional" type rollout nest box, the eggs roll out of view & out of reach of the chickens.

This is the design we started with, and then we slightly modified it for our circumstances:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/287684/new-rollout-nest-design-picture-heavy-edited-1-21

However, I'd try the YouTube video way as that would be quick & easy to do...
 
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