Yesterday, I sent Girl 1 out to gather eggs. "How many?" I asked her as she came back in the door.
G1: Five. There would've been six, but one was broken.
Me: Broken in the laying box?G1: Yep.
Me: And you just left it there?
And then she sauntered off, nonplussed.
Kids. Sometimes I'd swear this one is 18 rather than 8.
Anyway, I headed out myself to dispose of the broken egg. You really, really don't want to leave broken eggs in the hen house. If chickens get a taste of egg and like it (which they often do), you'll have a real problem on your hands as they begin to intentionally break eggs. Anyway, we've never had a broken egg in the hen house, and I was on the move to quickly dispose of it and avoid any future problems.
This is what I found in the nesting box.
It's a soft, thin-shelled egg. No wonder it was broken! A little reading in our trusty Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens revealed that thin shells are common in a pullet's very first eggs. It may mean that her little body is not fully geared up for egg production. It could also be the result of a hereditary defect, imbalanced ration (not the case here), or some type of disease. Also, "stress induced by fright or excitement can cause a hen to expel an egg before the shell is finished." The mental image of this one made me laugh out loud!
Anyway, we'll continue to watch for similar eggs in the future. Hopefully, it's just a matter of having a young layer. But, if the eggs continue to be thin-shelled, we'll know we have a larger problem on our hands.