Hens Laying Eggs From Their Perch

“I am writing from all the way down in New Zealand, and I’m not sure if this is a common problem or not, but two of our chickens are routinely laying their eggs on the perch. I often have to throw them out as they completely crack. If they are just dented and the membrane is not broken, then I use them first for cooking. Would you advise this?

I know that sometimes an egg early in the morning might take them by surprise, but for one of our girls, she is doing it every morning – and now the other has started doing it too! We have another hen who is a great girl and has always laid in the nest box. Any suggestions welcome! We love your newsletter.” ~ Rylee Pettersson

Rylee, I’m glad you wrote.

I’ll admit, this is a new one to me but I have a few thoughts.

It’s unclear as to whether your hens are coming down from their perch and then returning to lay their eggs. I’m going to make my suggestions based on that assumption.

Is there anything about their nest boxes that they might find distasteful?

This would be the place to start. Make sure their boxes are large enough to be comfortable with a soft spot to lay. Ensure that they are clean, dark and high enough off the ground to give them a sense of security and protection from predators while they lay.

If their perch is in a dark area of your hen house, is there a way that you can get more light into that area? Usually hens prefer to lay in a dark, secluded area so my thought process is that by adding more light, they won’t find their perch such a comfortable place to lay.

Is there a way you could block off their perch as soon as they wake in the morning?

I’m not sure how you would do this because it would be particular to your situation but anything that would deny the hens access to the perch would work. I’m guessing that once they have been retrained you would not need to continue this practice but it might be necessary for 2-4 weeks.

The important thing about retraining is that they NEVER have a chance to repeat the unwanted behavior until they have been completely retrained. At that point, they shouldn’t want to repeat the unwanted behavior. This is true not only of chickens but all animals you are training.

Another option, depending on your situation would be to remove the existing perch and put up a new one in a different place. Sometimes just a complete change like this will break the bad habit.

If nothing else works, you’ll need to make the best of the situation.

My thoughts here would include building an shelf-like area just below the perch that you could line with straw (or whatever soft material you like) to provide a soft landing spot for the eggs. Remember however that chickens do most of their pooping at night so you’d need to clean the area daily before they start to lay their eggs.

As far as using the cracked eggs, I think they are okay to use with a few stipulations; If the egg is dirty in any way I would not use it. A dirty egg needs to be washed before use and the crack allows bacteria into the egg, even if the membrane is intact.

If the egg is clean, give it a quick rinse and cook it right away. This is more feasible in the colder months than in the hot summer. The crack basically makes the protective bloom useless and degeneration will begin immediately.

  • I wouldn’t hesitate to use a cracked egg that has just been laid, and is clean.
  • I wouldn’t hesitate to use a cracked egg that is a few hours old if it is clean and the weather is cool.
  • I would not use an egg that is cracked and dirty.
  • I would not use a cracked egg that has been outside all day, even if it is clean.

Rylee, as your weather is getting warmer this time of year, make sure to collect often!

I hope you’ll find something useful here, thanks again for the question.

Click here to get instant access to 170+ detailed Q&A’s just like this one on every chicken keeping topic you could imagine

Click here to grow the most productive organic garden you’ve ever grown. Once you integrate this into your gardening, you’ll never look back. It’s one of the easiest, most natural, organic ways you can help your plants thrive

See Also…

How To Grow A More Productive Veggie Garden…

How To Turn The Food I Grow Into Healthy Hearty Meals…

How To Keep Chickens, Rabbits & Other Livestock…

How To Turn Herbs Into Natural Health & Wellness…

How To Become More Self Sufficient In General…