Onyx’s Egg

Onyx settled down into the nesting box this morning.


I waited. And waited. Jasper came over and Onyx rattled her feathers and yelled at her to go away. I waited some more. But, I couldn’t stay in the barn all day.  I came back forty-five minutes later, and there were three eggs in the nesting box! But, I knew which one was Onyx’s.

Onyx's egg


It’s too squat, it has a bulge, and the shell has lines. Those aren’t cracks and it’s still good to eat. However, another hen, shoving about in the nest, could easily have smashed it. No wonder I haven’t found many of Onyx’s eggs. She’s laying infrequently, and when she does produce an egg, it could easily be broken.

Making fewer, and less than sturdy eggs, is not unusual for hens in their second full year of lay. Even with an excellent diet, shells thin and production drops. (I’ll be writing about this more in a future post.) The danger to the hen is when the shells thin out so much that they break inside of her before laying. The trouble for the henkeeper is when chickens find broken eggs, they get into the bad habit of egg eating. So, for now I’m relieved to see an intact egg.

Whether Onyx laid the mystery egg outside, or whether it was Jasper, remains to be seen. I’ll be watching the Welsummer closely, and will hopefully catch her in the act!


  1. I hope Onyx feels better soon. It must have been such a relief for her to have an easier egg to lay. :-)

  2. I have a light brahma who has serious issues with her egg factory and often lays shell-less or thin-shelled eggs, despite her good diet. Earlier this spring she did have an egg break inside of her and was quite ill. She is still alive due to your excellent chickenspa and oil fix-all advice, thank you! I hope Onyx shapes up for you!

  3. I also have 3 of my BRs who have soft shell issues, which we’ve chatted about before. I switched my feed to layer pellets, hoping it would make a difference, but so far it hasn’t. My girls are the same age as the Gems. I’ll be interested in what you have to say.

  4. We just lost a 2.5 year old rhode island red hen who was having these types of issues, despite having an excellent diet & free access to oyster shell & crushed eggshells. Not sure if a broken egg was the cause. I look forward to future posts about thin-shelled eggs as our new hampshire red has this issue off and on as well & I credit your epsom salt spa treatments for helping her through. Thanks always for your informative and helpful posts!

  5. If you cannot find Phoebe..she is in the coop…laying in Buffy’s “Leave Me Alone” spot..LOL!!!!!!!!

  6. What’s going on with the chicken that has been under the rabbit hutch all day?

  7. Yes, I noticed Phoebe cuddling under the nest boxes and a black pullet now under Phoebe’s ramp!
    Was it yesterday three pullets were huddled together getting soaked in the rain? Pitiful. A learning experience about what to do when it rains.

  8. speaking of eggs my hen laid an egg today and it had quit a bit of blood on it is that something to be concerned about?

    • Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It can be a one-time issue or… Does the vent look healthy and clean? A bad case of mites can cause this (tiny blood suckers you might only notice once they’re so bad that there’s crusty blood on the hen’s bottom.) A prolapsed vent will be bloody. An ill hen might have blood released from the ovary and you’ll see it. Usually, though, it’s simply a broken capillary and it’s not a problem.

      • Terry Hermione is a large hen I checked the area around her vent and it looked good and it was clean no poop or blood stuck around her vent will keep monitoring her.Hermione was out today and did lay and egg their was a lil splotch on one end of the eggs shell.

  9. I have2 hens not laying. I know they aren’t as they are bantams so their eggs are distinct from the other 8 girls. They have laid consistently every day for the past few months. They were 1 year old on Monday. I am thinking they are getting ousted from the boxes. But I don’t think so. One of them is feisty and doesn’t put up with anything. The other moved lower in the pecking order after she had a broody spell. They both are eating, drinking, dust bathing and thir combs look normal. Should I be looking for anything else?

    • Ps I did check their bottoms yesterday for any signs of parasite. Everything looks good from what I can see. Maybe they aren’t happy about being cooped up. It’s has been steady raining the last few days.

  10. I have taken to sprinkling DE on the floor of the chicken house and have not had a mite issue this year, Thank goodness…