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Author Topic: Broken Eggs.  (Read 2862 times)
Jerrymac
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« on: December 29, 2008, 03:12:27 PM »

I guess I need to rethink the nests. Right now I have wooden boxes with straw inside for the nest, but the past few days I have been getting broken eggs. I believe it comes from one chicken laying an egg and then another chicken or guinea going into the nest and breaking an egg. The guineas are getting to be pains. They go in and remake the nest and bury eggs in the process.

I read some where here..... Brian I think..... has a set up so the egg rolls out of the box when it is laid. Can someone describe how that is made? 
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 03:27:24 PM »

I have had that happen a couple of times here as well. Usually its if there wasn't enough shavings in the box and like you said other chickens come in and lay on top of each other. I usually find anywhere from 5 to 12 eggs in a single box in the mornings and each hen remakes the nest and it ends up with most of the shavings gone.
I have only had it happen a couple of times and I think its been much better since we started using shavings instead of straw in the nest boxes.
I think there is just so much more of it that it takes longer for them to push it all out.
They have 9 nest boxes to choose from but they all like the same one.
Anyway, those nest boxes that you are talking about are just usually a slanted bottom that tilts to the front of the box and then there is a ledge with a little barrier to catch the egg and stop it from rolling out after its laid.
The only thing is if you have alot of layers that can still build up as well. If you don't have alot laying at the same time everyday and you can clear the ledge it should be fine.
A dozen or so of mine seem to like to lay early in the morning in that one box but since adding alot of extra soft pine shavings at night I haven't had a problem.
You can google those types of nest boxes and get the plans for them but you can probably just modify the ones you have.j
The other thing I have seen is that people use those big 5 gallon plastic buckets laid on their sides for the hens to lay in and they are bigger and roomier than some nest boxes and the plastic may be more forgiving than the wood when it comes to eggs hitting the bottom.
Something like that may help, I have seen people leave them as is and fill the bottoms with shavings and I have seen them cut the tops off (which is actually the side of the bucket).
You can google all sorts of designs that may work for you.
Good luck, its frustrating to find eggs broken or cracked, not only that if you don't catch them in time a hen may peck at it and once they get a taste for eggs you have a much bigger problem on your hands, egg eating hens, and they will eat every egg they can get a hold of.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 04:00:42 PM »

I know about that "every one wants the same box" thing.

I had three boxes, one in the corner and then the other one and then the last one, all in a row. They all went for the one in the corner. Later on I put a slanted cover over the boxes as a roof. Trying to keep the none laying birds out of the nest at night.... they kept filling up with poopy  tongue the roof seemed to help.

Then I had the bright idea of putting partitions between the boxes. That seems to have worked out really well. Now there is no real favorite nest. But alas I didn't get the other coop built as quickly as I had hoped and now I got more chickens laying. I find three hens in a box at once sometimes and others hollorin' for them to get out of the way.

You might have something there. Not really sure they are kicking the straw out, but I did notice it packed down. Seemed really bad so I clean some of the bad stuff out and put in some new. But I think someone (Guinea) dug it down to the bottom again. They make really deep nest in the straw. I got some shavings, I will go now and put some in the nests.
Thanks.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 04:24:28 PM »

A slanted nest box can cause the eggs to roll the direction of the slant, I've know some henhouses to have it set up so the eggs roll out the back of the nest box and fetching them is a snap.  Commercial eggs production doesn't use nest boxes they just have a slanted bottom on the cage and the egg rolls down the slant onto a platform or conveyor where they are gathered and moved to the next stop, the cleaning station.

Natalie is right about the hens using the same nests and rebuilding it each time, and occasionally an egg gets broke when 2 or more chickens are in the same nest box at the same time.  I've had as many as 3 broody hens trying to set in the same next box at the same time, the result if that not all of the eggs are covered all the time and getting any to hatch is more luck than anything else.

To solve the broken egg problem as much as possible:
Use large Nest boxes 16X16X16 works for large as well as small and medium chickens.  Keep the nesting materials in the nest box.  I usually have to put more hay or wood shavings (I use both) in the next boxes each week.  The nesting materials act as a cushion but 2 hens trying to use the same nest box at the same time can be problematic.  Chickens like to use each others nests and it is not unusual to have a flock of 2 dozen layers and only find eggs in 3 of the boxes.  Also don't be afraid to let them build nests on the floor, this will take some of the stress of the favorite nest boxes and some hens prefer to lay their eggs on the floor.
Most of the eggs are laid between 6 and 2 pm so timing the collecting of the eggs can make a difference so that the eggs don't build up too much.  I try to collect mine around noon as the majority of the laying for the day is over by then.  Check every nestbox, look or other places they might like too lay and check under the setting hens.  Usually a setting hen can be picked up, eggs removed, and sat back down again without making to big of a squawk.
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2008, 04:45:04 PM »

So I go out and remove all the hay out of the one box. As I am doing this a hen jumps up on the roof I mentioned earlier. I guess it is her turn to lay and guess which box she wants. So I dig out all that nasty stuff and put in brand new fresh wood shavings. I step back and now she is acting like she don't know how to get off the roof and down to the box, so I help her down to the perch in front of the box.  She steps up on the side of the box and is looking inside like she is saying, "Oh no no no. This just won't do just wont do at all." she looks around at the other box next to it, but doesn't want to go there. She goes back on the side of the box and is still looking and complaining. So I put a little bit of the hay into the box. She now steps into the box and is looking around to see if this is going to be good enough for her. I will go back later and see if she liked it.

So I'm guessing the slopped boxes don't have any nesting material. And I would have to make the catching trough in front of the boxes inside the shed, and possibly have to put some sort of lid over that or the chickens could jump up on it and break the eggs. 

Wonder if it would be best to have wire mesh for the bottom or a solid board?
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« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2008, 09:18:54 PM »

I use shavings, 2-3" thick.  They do all want to use one nest, but change every few days.  I have 2 golf balls in each nest (4) and they move those darn balls around so there aren't any in 1, or 3 or 4 in one nest!  How they get em out & in is a mystery as they are plastic crates w/shallow boxes on the bottom (USPS priority shhh) & 4" ledge in front to keep the shavings in!  J
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Natalie
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« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2008, 09:47:47 PM »

It just occured to me that there is a nesting material that is sold through a few different companies that is like a mat of grass or something similar.
It is suppose to be reusable and all that but when you mentioned not being able to use shavings or straw in a sloped box it made me think of this stuff. I think if the box is sloped enough the egg would still roll out into the egg tray regardless of bedding material, especially since they have to get in and out of there they will more than likely disturb the egg enough that it will roll forward.
I am thinking that you may solve this problem with the extra shavings or new nesting material anyway and not need to do the slope thing if you aren't really thrilled about doing a new project right now.
Let me see if I can find a link to that nesting material and if I am allowed to post it I will.
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Irwin
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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2008, 12:06:29 PM »

Try adding more calcium to there diet this may help to. It will make the egg shells stronger
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« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2008, 12:26:28 PM »

I second Irwin ,oister chells are great.
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poka-bee
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« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 02:41:55 PM »

3rd for me, they are cheap & if they need them they will chow down, if not they leave em.  They are really going to town now, must be cause of little wild greens available, & none actively growing. J
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Natalie
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« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2008, 04:54:22 PM »

I always use oyster shells mixed in with their feed and they can take what they need when they need it.
I have heard of people feeding the shells back to the chickens, I just don't do it.
They cook them in the oven and then crush them up and feed them back to the chickens.
I have always been afraid it will cause them to be egg eaters, which I have heard can happen from doing that.
I know people say once they cook the shells the chickens don't associate the taste with their own eggs but I don't want to take any chances, thats why I don't throw them in the compost heap either since they like to pick through there as well.
 Besides, I like to use my eggshells in the garden, crushed up  and mixed in the soil among the tomato plants.
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2008, 05:42:17 PM »

Chickens can be funny. If you feed them egg shells that haven't been heat treated they will develop a taste for the albumen and start eating the eggs.  Broken eggs in the nest can cause the same problem.  The problem with egg eaters is that once they start the only cure is chicken soup.  I have one chicken, haven't figured out which one yet, that every time she lays an egg she pecks a hole in the larger (air cavity) end which insures that I won't get any chicks from her.
After every crab or shrimp dinner I take the shells out and let the chickens peck over them, it gives them a little protein as well as an excellent source of calicum for the egg shells.
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« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2008, 07:25:25 PM »

Brian, lets not forget the entertainment factor!  I love to watch em scramble & grab then run off to a corner!  J
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2008, 08:02:11 PM »

How to play chicken football
 Needed; one semi-hard bread roll
             A bunch of chickens

Throw the bread roll out amongst the chickens and watch the game begin. Haven't determined yet what counts as a touch down  Undecided
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2008, 09:03:16 PM »

How to play chicken football
 Needed; one semi-hard bread roll
             A bunch of chickens

Throw the bread roll out amongst the chickens and watch the game begin. Haven't determined yet what counts as a touch down  Undecided

I'll bet a 2 week old loaf of French bread would last most of the day. I'll put that on my bucket list.
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Natalie
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2008, 09:42:21 PM »

If you want to see something amusing give em a marshmallow.
This past fall we were sitting around the bonfire in the backyard enjoying the crisp fall day and roasting marshmallows, just as I was about to put my stick in the fire one of the hens ran over and yanked the marshmallow right off of the stick and ran like the dickens.
I don't even know how she knew it was food but another one found one on the ground and took that one too.
The other 30 or so chickens out in the yard ran after them and the fun began.
She ran off and put it down when another one ran up and grabbed it, then another would rip it right out of the other's mouth and this went on and on until it was a sticky mess and this rooster got it stuck to his beak and could not put it down.
He tried and tried to get this marshmallow off of his beak but couldn't.
Pretty soon the others were eating it off of his beak, he looked so demoralized.
All the ones who had sticky mouths decided to wipe their beaks on the ground to get the marshmallow off, but all that happened is that the grass is now stuck to the marshmallow that is stuck to their beaks.
In the end I had 30 or so chickens with marshmallow and grass stuck to their beaks.
This went on for at least 45 minutes with all those chickens and 2 marshmallows.
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reinbeau
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2008, 10:08:07 PM »

Silly chooks!
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« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2008, 05:57:46 AM »

I always build a big community nest.  About 18" by 36" with a moderate sized hole and a hinged lid.  Put plenty of straw or grass in it for them to make into a nest.
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« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2008, 10:17:13 AM »

crushed oyster shells help the most when hens break or eat eggs, I use to add them to each pen all the time and it help with shell toughness and also added calcium to their diet and stop the eggs eating. you can get a 25# or 50# bag from any feed store.
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« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2008, 10:35:27 AM »

Brian, maybe there in Texas but here in the winter, spring, fall & most of the summer it would sog up pretty quick! rolleyes  J
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