Egg Stomping

There is an egg-stomping, egg-smashing hen in the big barn. I don’t know who she is. All I know is that there are seven hens in that coop. Two of them, the golden comets, Agnes and Philomena, are young and lay everyday. One of the old girls lays occasionally. I don’t know which one, although I suspect that it’s Maizie. One of these three laying hens, in her enthusiasm to get into the nesting box, or, perhaps just because she is careless with her dinosaur feet, tramples one of the eggs. When I go to collect the eggs, one is in pieces, a yolky mess in the shavings. She doesn’t eat the egg. If she was an egg-eater, she’d be gone. That sort of bad habit is picked up by the other hens, until you have broken shells and not much else for your chicken-keeping efforts. Sometimes, hens lay thin-shelled eggs that break easily – then the hens learn to eat them. However, that doesn’t appear to be the cause. The smashed eggs that I’m finding look normal. I wish that I had a camera in that coop to spy on the hens. I’d like to know the culprit and see what is going on.


  1. This happens in my coop under similar circumstances. After much observation (and agonizing about who’s going to get the hatchet for eating eggs), I think my broken eggs occur when two layers end up sharing a nest box. My girls spend an inordinate amount of time getting things set up just right for their egg, even when there is a colleague already in the same space. Attempts to point out the three other empty, perfectly serviceable nest boxes are usually fruitless, and four ‘dinosaur feet’ (love it!) at once are a bit much. Fortunately this is only an occasional event.

    • As chickens get older, their shells thin. Despite plenty of calcium in their diet, the shells will be more susceptible to breakage. So, when the girls pile on top of each other to lay, or try to shove each other out, there’s bound to be breakage. I’ve tried putting decoy wooden eggs in the other boxes, but they haven’t fallen for that trick.

  2. Speaking of egg stomping…. My buff orpington has been broody for about 1 week now. She ended up breaking one of the eggs under her, and now has egg stuck to her underside. Ugh!! She has been dusting and trying to clean it herself with little success. Should I bathe her? I dread the thought of bathing a broody hen!!

    • Is she sitting on fertile eggs? I’d clean her up so that she doesn’t spend too much time out of the nest trying to tidy herself up. Can you take a warm, damp towel to her, or is it so bad that you need to dunk her? Whatever you do, she won’t like it. But, hey, same as when my kids were little :)

  3. Solo my Barnevelder lays very thin-shelled eggs, despite being only two and having the same diet and access to oystershell as the rest of the girls. She regularly breaks her own egg, and it is generally eaten, but thankfully nobody has yet worked out that the whole eggs have egg in them too! You can get (or make fairly easily) something called a ‘rollaway’ nest box with a sloping floor that, as the name suggests, rolls the egg away as soon as it is laid, into a cushioned channel inaccessible to beaks.

    My broody Gladys sat on an egg when broody once and as it was a very warm day I whizzed her into the house, gave her a very quick wash and blow-dry at the sink then got her back on her eggs in under fifteen minutes. But then she loves a bath. Very dirty feathers can be carefully snipped away with scissors, but be careful not to cut the shaft too close to her.

  4. Luckily, she is not sitting on fertilized eggs so time is not a factor. I just want to be sure that she will not be attractive to bugs, etc. I did put down some DE in the shed/nesting boxes. Maybe I will try to wipe her down. Wish me luck:) Thanks for you input!