Adults eating starter and grower feeds- thin shelled eggs?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by LeezyBeezy, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 13, 2010
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    I have two 1 year old hens I got from a friend. Originally, I was feeding them Blue Seal Grower-Cal Mash, because I thought I was getting 8 week old chicks. They love the stuff, but I soon started having thin shelled and broken eggs from my NHR. My SS eggs were fine, in fact, very hard shells.

    I posted on the BYC forum for advice, and started adding free choice oyster shells. They don't like it much, so I would sprinkle over the mash so they had to eat it. It seemed to work. When I got my EE chicks, I put the Grower-Cal away (to save for them as they grew) andI bought Blue Seal Layer Pellets, and switched the feed out. They don't really like the pellets. I still have problems with weak shelled eggs on occasion. They free-range almost all day, every day, with their food and water available at all times.

    About 3-4 weeks ago, I added the now 10 week old chicks to the coop. They have their own mini-coop they can escape into. They loved the starter mash, and the hens would eat it too, if they could get to it. I just ran out about 4 days ago, and started them on the Grower-Cal. The problem is, the hens love this stuff, and eat a lot of it, ignoring the pellets. (I have their smaller feeder and waterer out in the main coop, near the hens food and water). Now I'm getting smashed eggs from the NHR, with paper thin shells.

    I thought the oyster shell would help, but after reading the most recent posts on Purina feeds and the animal by-product issue, I checked the labels on the Blue Seal- and it doesn't appear there is any animal protein in it (unless that's what the methionine is). While all of my gals are growing and thriving, the NHR is having problems with her egg shells.

    If I read the labels correctly, could the lack of animal protein be the culprit? I was about to go buy a bag of layer crumbles for the older gals, since they like the texture so much. But now I am stumped as to brand, etc. Any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  2. TurkeyMountainChickens

    TurkeyMountainChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do they get to free range any? If so, they usually get their own animal protein in the form of bugs, etc.

    You can try other calcium supplements if your birds won't eat oyster shell. Sometimes they will eat regular egg shells.
     
  3. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they free range all day, almost every day. I tried just crumbling egg shells- nope, won't touch them.
     
  4. TurkeyMountainChickens

    TurkeyMountainChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 3, 2009
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    Will they eat grit? You could try giving them limestone grit. Of course, if they free range they many find their own...

    I've heard that a lack of phosphorous could also cause thin egg shells. Maybe a calcium phosphate supplement?
     
  5. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Shell strength is influenced by diet, especially vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, manganese. Shell strength is affected by age. Older hens lay bigger eggs with thinner weaker shells. After a year laying starts to drop off. Sorry to be a Dark cloud.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  6. LeezyBeezy

    LeezyBeezy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's only 1 though. But considering the SS has no problems... makes me wonder. They're getting oyster shells and both feeds have calcium and phosphorus... but maybe I'll look into other treats that have phos in them naturally. They don't have manganese though.

    So, do you think eating the more "junior" feeds isn't a problem with the shells? [​IMG] thanks!!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  7. hen-at-home

    hen-at-home Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is an interesting thread. My girls are not of laying age yet, but you are using the same brand as I use and I am trying to prep my "intellect", ha ha , for my future laying hen days so I thank you for posting and for anyone who takes the time to give any information. [​IMG]
     
  8. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Leezy Breezy, compare the tags on the feed bags and see if that helps you. Different age development feeds have different %'s of ingriedients. I throw everything at mine, BOSS, scratch, and anything but citris fruit. I read that can curtail egg laying. Either in Backyard Poultry Magazine or Gail Damerow's book "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens". Good bread and butter read. Talk to your State Ag College they can give some advice.
     

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