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Help! Hens having problems laying & too much and large egg production

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

six months ago we bought 4 white leghorn chickens and after months trawling through BC every time I was unsure of something I finally decided to sign up!

 

So we bought 4 female white with red comb leghornes  (according to the lady we bought them from they are from Tuscany and great layers). One 'Nanna-stubs' was a runt that ate double the amount of everything but never really grew (she looked like she was 3 months old the whole time) and one day we woke up to find her dead. Two weeks ago our first chook 'Black Foot' started laying - however a few days ago we had to cull her because she had sever prolapse to the point that she couldn't poop properly (hanging out her bum):(. Blackfoot was laying up to three eggs in one go! Her eggs varied from normal, to huge duck sized double yokers, to soft shells, to a weird oval and freakishly long egg. I read that it could just be a genetic kind of thing and hoped that the last two remaining chooks would be fine when they started to eventually lay. However, yesterday our second chicken laid its first eggs with no problems, but today it laid a huge duck sized egg and is still sitting in its basket with its eyes shut, panting (4 hours now) and I'm really worried that she too is going to get sick or have to eventually be culled.

 

We are completely new to chickens and I'm not sure if it's something that we are doing wrong or whether it's just bad genetics? We bought this normal chicken feed pellets and scratch and feed them this in the morning. Two days ago I started mixing plain yoghurt (which is cheap here in France) into their morning feed for calcium as our first chicken produced soft shelled eggs twice. Occasionally we given them food left-overs or scraps but this only happens twice a week because my husband and I simply don't generate enough left-over wastage or scraps between us. The only veggie scraps we end up with is carrot and potato peels. We tried giving them lettuce or rocket scraps but they won't eat it. In terms of their environment - we have them in a small outdoor garage with a big long box of straw, individual boxes filled with hay they they sleep in and a wide ladder that they walk up and onto a large granite table. The sun comes up here at about 7am, and they get put back in at 6pm (but there is a glass door so they still get light). My husband are in the process of building our own coop.

 

Can anyone work out what on earth is going wrong and why our chickens struggle from the second day they start laying? Why their eggs are soo huge etc? It would be greatly appreciated and give me some peace of mind.

 

:thumbsup

post #2 of 6

Egg oddities are normal when they begin laying.  It's all part of their bodies adjusting to laying.  Some pullets like to rest longer after laying an egg, it doesn't necessarily mean she's having trouble.  Was there blood on the egg?

 

So sorry you lost a couple along the way.

 

If you have access to oyster shell, that would give the best calcium and would help strengthen the egg shells.

Breeding Welsummers and Barnevelders.

 

Having an Icelandic in the coop is like having a 2 year old in the house - they are into everything and don't follow the rules.



Join us for the 7th Annual Easter Hatchalong!
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1074649/the-7th-annual-byc-easter-hatch-a-long/0_50

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Breeding Welsummers and Barnevelders.

 

Having an Icelandic in the coop is like having a 2 year old in the house - they are into everything and don't follow the rules.



Join us for the 7th Annual Easter Hatchalong!
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1074649/the-7th-annual-byc-easter-hatch-a-long/0_50

Reply
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for taking the time to reply! She's really struggling and by the looks of it will pass away soon :-( No, there was no blood on her egg. I poked my finger up her butt (ick I know) and couldn't feel an egg and also had her sitting in a warm bath and fed her yoghurt with crushed egg shells - all to no avail. We havn't bought them oyster shell because up until today (after some thorough online investigating) because I wasn't even aware they needed it as a dietry requirement. It all makes sense now! I will go buy some tomorrow and hope that our last remaining chook Rosie (my fav) will be fine when she starts to lay (any day now). Gah! I feel soo guilty - poor things.

post #4 of 6

Could they have any type of sickness?  Any bubbly eyes, nasal discharge, coughing, etc?  Eating normally?  Drinking normally?  Poop look okay?  Any other symptoms?

Breeding Welsummers and Barnevelders.

 

Having an Icelandic in the coop is like having a 2 year old in the house - they are into everything and don't follow the rules.



Join us for the 7th Annual Easter Hatchalong!
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1074649/the-7th-annual-byc-easter-hatch-a-long/0_50

Reply

Breeding Welsummers and Barnevelders.

 

Having an Icelandic in the coop is like having a 2 year old in the house - they are into everything and don't follow the rules.



Join us for the 7th Annual Easter Hatchalong!
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1074649/the-7th-annual-byc-easter-hatch-a-long/0_50

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi there - no, no issues whatsoever. We are living in the countryside where it is clean, lots of fresh grass, air, no mud or anything. Poop, eyes, breathing, feathers everything is normal - it's just to do with laying. We had 0 problems with them until the first started laying. It laid soft shells a few times and because of that it developed prolapse from having to push so hard. Then ironically, on the second day of laying or second chook died today after it pushed out massive duck sized egg...it obviously had another egg up there (the first chook that started laying laid 3x eggs in one day) so I knew this second chook had another egg stuck in there. I'm putting it down to calcium because why else would have the first chook laid soft shelled eggs? I'm guessing that because they lay more than once a day they need sufficient calcium to support making more than one egg shell and they mustn't be getting it? So sad, only one chook left and I desperatly don't want it to die (because it's my favortie and my little buddy that follows me around). It's due to lay any day now and as soon as it starts laying it'll have the exact same problem as the other two that died and consequently will die. Auuugh!!

post #6 of 6

Oy, Bummer!

 

Soft shelled, large double yolkers and multiple eggs at time are pretty common when they first start to lay, especially high production birds.

That said high production breeds can have more of these problems....I'm guessing you may well have a bad genetic line of birds, if they all came from the same hatch..

 

What are the protein and calcium levels on the feed bag label?

(maybe it's not the law to label feed there like it is in the US)

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
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