Originally Posted by Anniebee
Ok ... about Mindy....
Had hoped I would not have to say anything, but ........
Have done some research - and came up with this URL which seems the best of quite a few I investgated : http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/450/several-reasons-why-your-hens-may-stop-laying-eggs/
Mindy - after laying quite a few soft shells, ( she has layed two outside in her run twice ) shoved one with her beak towards the wire run fence, for Miss Ruby dog to grab out and eat ???? ... seems to be perhaps, giving up on laying altogether.
In the past few weeks, she has laid a few good eggs - strong shells, but many soft shells, which she occasionally eats, but also now on occasion, ignores.
She is one weird chook - always has been. Has taken to cluck cluck clucking with an enormous cockerel shriek at the end of it. ( which I took to mean "I have laid an egg " ).
Not so .... she is now 4 days without a good egg, or any egg ... and this from a very prolific layer, is a bit disturbing. While 4 days is probably not much to many people, it seems strange to me as she has been the most productive of chickens .... 6 or 7 out of every 7 days .... was always pleased when she took a day off.
I know that chickens have a 'limit' ... they only produce eggs when they can, and can run out of productivity ( for want of a better word ).
She is fiesty, interesting in everything, stands tall, talks a lot, feeds well ( always a good full crop end of day ) .... walks well, squats for anything that moves, and looks ultra healthy.
Today I bought a bag of calcium powder ( not calcium carbonate - but the type used for horses ) ... which I was assured is ok for chickens. She will get a dessertspoon full of that mixed in with some of my 'special tucker' starting tomorrow - twice a week. Am also aware that bi-carb of soda in drinking water may help - coutesy of a regular poster here - so sorry I cannot find the post or remember who it was who mentioned that.
The worry always is, will an ill-formed egg get stuck in the system ? ... which would / could result in death. There is no sign of a stuck egg ( via palpation ) .... in her nether regions.
All 3 chickens are fed Barastoc Layer pellets ( which should give them all they need ). Works for the two big girls ... but not so much for Mindy who has been several weeks laying soft shells here and there, and 4 days without any laying at all. She does not appear to be broody either.
I had hoped a couple of days back, that I wouldn't have to write this.
The other thing is, since the massive elm tree in the rear property has grown all its' leaves now, there is not much sunshine at all for Mindy to enjoy. The big girls get some sun per day. With that in mind, the long clippers must come out and do something drastic to that tree, and surrounding foliage, to let sunlight in properly for her. More work for my recently retired husband.
Just wondering - if anyone has any further thoughts about this situation ........
Cheers - and thanks in anticipation ...... AB
When my Buttface girl started to get older she began to lay a string of jelly eggs - about three weeks worth before the calcium and the tender loving care I was giving her finally started to turn it around. She's back to laying daily again - though has decided that she can't handle flying up to the roost or into the nesting boxes so we've tended to her special needs by giving her a special, low roost and a ground-floor nesting box. So at 5 years old - and after a few jelly eggs and special circumstances - we still get 4-5 eggs/week from my 5 year old SLW.
I also feed mine Barastoc Layer Pellets - but did find that we had calcium issues on occasion with it. I began mixing small amount of scratch mix in (with grit) or occasionally giving them treats of baked eggs (including the shells) and that seems to have done the trick.
It may well be that she IS laying but the eggs are completely shelless right now or the shells are getting eaten before you can see them. Buttface began laying her jelly eggs on the poop boards while she roosted at night and about 80% of the time they'd be eaten before I even let them out in the morning. I only found out because I caught them one morning. To all appearances, to me - it appeared she wasn't laying at all. Bad jelly eggs will basically come out without a shell at all, just the contents of an egg spat onto the floor or with a parchment-thin, soft membrane which passes for a shell.
I'd give her time, really. If she's laying jelly eggs and then stopped altogether, her body may well have just decided, "Right, we have enough calcium to have bones OR lay eggs so laying eggs is going to have to wait."
Even when you begin to give her calcium, it will take a while for her stores to properly replenish. It took Buttface ~2 weeks to begin laying "normally" again.
I hear you on the elms. We have them growing along one side of our yard on the fenceline. My phone reckoned to me yesterday that I walked 6km. All I did yesterday was mow my yard (half acre) which involved hours of mowing down elm suckers and nettles. 6km of elm sucker murder. Ugh.
On a related note - I have been wondering to myself if Buttface might have something like chicken arthritis. I have arthritis myself and it might just be me anthropomorphizing my chickens - but there's something about the way she walks which suggests to me soreness and stiffness. It's nothing new. She's just been sort of progressively wearing down over the last year or so. I had thought about treating it like arthritis and supplementing her diet accordingly like I would myself (non-inflammatory treats, omega 3, tumeric, etc).
I'm disinclined to put her down because apart from this - she seems fine. She lays well, her comb is red. She's a bit slow and she's getting over-mated so I put a saddle on her and we're increasing our hen to rooster ratio over the summer to give all of the hens a bit of a break (which was always my intention for this summer anyway). I originally realized she wasn't roosting when I found her sleeping on the poop boards underneath her flock. She kept leaving the special roost I made for her and going back on the poop boards. One day I found red ammonia burns on her belly and decided to try a different approach, taking one of her nestmates (someone beneath her in the pecking order but only just) and putting that hen on the roost with her. Now that she's no longer alone, she stays. Her belly healed fine, and our system seems to be working for everyone.
I'm open to suggestions on her behaviour and how I should tackle it.
Our new Araucana girls (and yeah...the whole Araucana v. Americauana thing, btw? Freaking -confusing-.) are doing well. One of them - always the one -without- a dark spot on her tail (None have names yet) keeps stuffing her impossibly fat little body through the space underneath my front gate and doing a runner.
Now..finding chickens on the footpath in front of my house is hardly unusual. My neighbours love it because my birds are friendly and personable and any chicken out there will briefly decide to follow unsuspecting people on a walk for half a block in a "Can I come home with you?" fashion before turning around and coming back home. When groups of children walk by my house I hear them squeal, "THERE THEY ARE! YOU'RE SO FLUFFY!" It's the best...really.
Except...one of these girls doesn't camp out in front of my gate. So far she's gone missing four times and each time I've found her walking down the street more than a block away from my house. My new chicken is Nope-ing right out of my yard. Dangit, bird!
Thankfully, yesterday after I put her back into my yard (I open the gate and then passively herd them toward the gate) she actually stayed. I realized a couple of days ago when I was pointing at the gate and she followed my directions that chickens actually get pointing. And then it hit me like an embarrassment truck. Of course they do. Roosters point when they tidbit. It was like I had this glorious moment where my brainparts played back all the times I watched my rooster gesture with his wattles and head, pointing to the girls - and then a big, floridly written banner reading, "You dumbass." pasted itself over the memory.
At least my self-mockery is whimsical.
Edited by tandykins - 11/7/15 at 12:51pm