Unidentified Object Found in Laying Box

Barrett Farm

10 Years
Jun 8, 2009
Silicon Valley
Hello BYC users. I am new to your forum. I have always just read a book or looked online. I have had chickens in my backyard for over 20 years now. My flock has grown from 2 in 1988 to as many as 18 hens in 2008.

I have experience dealing with aggressive hens picking and pulling feathers, hens attacked by dogs and pullets ripping open skin on poultry wire. I thought I had seen it all. But this morning, I found something I had never seen before.

In a laying box, I found a lump of mass that could be fat, or dried egg yolk. My first thought it was a brain but it is too large for a chicken. It is a little larger than the size of a chicken heart, very light in color with 3 to 4 bumps or masses on the side, two are large and darker in color, like an ugly mole or wart.

I have had one hen who is quieter than normal. She protects her food but doesn't eat much. Last night I got her to eat some dog food. I checked her twice to see if an egg was stuck. Her feathers are beautiful and she is happiest in my arms. She has been cranky around other hens and pullets running them away from her space when food is present. Otherwise the flock is healthy. They are calming down. There was some anxiety from a cockerel in the group and a hen that was down right mean. Both are gone and everything is returning to normal.

Did she just pass a dried yolk or something from X Files?


The Teapot Underground
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Mar 1, 2007
Hanson, MA & Lebanon, Maine
I don't know the answer, I just wanted to say

I've heard others finding things like that in a nest box, I'm sure someone will come up with a better response than I can!

Rorys peeps

In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 7, 2009
Hi. I am new to this site as well and new to keeping chickens. I have one hen now for about 3 weeks. When she first came she laid one egg, but then stopped for about a week. it probably took her a while to settle into her new surrounding. Anyway she started laying again and i got about two eggs, but then one day i found something in her nest similar to what you have described. it looks like a soft shell of an egg all squashed in on its self. Around it her bedding seemed to be soaked with the white of the egg and a bit of yolk. I thought nothing of it because she seems happy enough. But then over the next 2 weeks i got two soft shell eggs and another "brain" as you call it. I feed on her free range layers pellets and she has grit and shell at her disposable 24/7. She free ranges every evening until dark and i feed her treats as well. Her favorite is porridge oats. Now she hasn't laid anything in 2 days.
i am interested in other peoples thoughts on this. Do you think she is lacking something??


10 Years
Mar 5, 2009
Humboldt County
Sounds exactly like a shell-less egg. Go to the "Emergency" section and look for links to more info. You may have an internal layer, with which I've had very little luck. Hope yours is better!

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