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Hen Laid a Broken Egg

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Today I checked the nest boxes at the exact time one of my Red Stars was laying her egg. I watched her squat down and lay a broken egg, which her best mate immediately scarfed up. I grabbed the shell, took a pic, and disposed of it. This kind of solved a mystery, as each day for a while now, there has been a wet/yolks spot in that nest box, yet other eggs there are fine. And now that I think about it, we had gotten quite a few soft shell or thin, sandpaper shelled eggs this same color -- I assume hers. How can a hen lay a broken egg? And what should I do about it? They eat regular commercial feed and free-range.
post #2 of 5

What MAY help is offering a dish of oyster shell - keep out free choice.  It'll help add calcium to their diet.   

 

How old is the girl you suspect has been laying the off eggs?   If the extra calcium doesn't help, she may simply have an egg tract issue - something just not right with the parts/organs of that system.  

 

I have a serama who is almost 5 yrs old, and after laying two perfect eggs in a row back when she was around 20 weeks old, she has laid nothing but "jello" eggs since - no shell - just the membrane with white/yolk inside.  Just like with humans, or other animals, sometimes organs aren't right due to congenital issue or possible disease.  

 

I've notice that two of my older gals' (6-7 yr. olds) egg shells are getting really thin - I think for them the egg tract is just breaking down a bit and not working as well due to aging.

 

There is a bit of risk involved with the soft shelled egg laying - it's harder for them to expel the egg.  I've seen hens hunched up, acting sick, trying to work a soft shelled egg out - maybe because there's not something solid to push along???  And I'd think there'd be at least a small risk of, if an egg broke inside and not all was passed, that infection could occur.  But typically they will get it all out... 

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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post #3 of 5

I used to use layer feed and had shell quality issues.  what I switched to was all flock feed ( high protein) and put a gravity feeder of oyster shell in with the food and water.  It helped a lot.  I to had an issue with a chicken laying soft and broken eggs (she almost died from it actually) and haven't had this issue since

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
This hen has only been laying for a couple of months. I did notice today that this hen has a dirty looking bottom, and the other two Red Stars look fine.

I was feeding a 20% protein and switched to a 16% maybe a month ago. I have put out oyster shell a few times, and they eat it ALL. Like, I have watched the rooster come up after I put it out and eat up the whole dish -- is that normal? I will try going back up to 20% and do you have any other suggestions on how to do the oyster shell so he (or whoever) don't just eat it all? None of the other 25 birds have ever had any real egg issues.
post #5 of 5

I've never heard of protein solving a shell issue.  Upping protein is good for when hens aren't laying due to lack of protein (because just as eggs provide protein for us, they require protein to form).  But calcium is what's needed to produce the shell.  I haven't read the bag, but I'm skeptical that game bird feed contains more calcium than layer feed????

 

I'm surprised your rooster eats it.  Do they have access to little pebbles/grit?  I'm wondering if he's using it for a grit substitute.  Either way, I'd fill their dish weekly and keep it out for them.  If they're eating a lot, they must need it. 

 

I might suggest worming your girl if she's keeping a dirty bottom.  Roundworms seem to be the most prevalent (internal) parasite among chickens, so you might make sure she gets some Wazine (goes in their water).  You could isolate her and worm only her, or just go ahead and do everyone.  I'd also take a real close look at her bottom and make sure she doesn't have mites - look at the feather shafts closely - just poop, or is it debris looking stuff????  Hold your hand there for a bit and see if you get any mites crawling over your hand.   A parasite infestation could cause physical stress, which could cause egg issues too...

Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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Caretaker of a lovely mixed flock including: australorp, plymouth rocks, wyandotte, d'uccles, silkies, EEs, andalusian, and a few seramas, plus a golden retriever, great dane, and three cats.  I always swore that I wouldn't succumb to chicken math.  I lied.
 

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