Any idea what could be wrong with this hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenmomma16, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She looks like this and hasn't molted in 2 years at least and most likely has never molted as I got her at a year old. She lays regularly and has never taken a break. I know it's great that she is a good laying RIR but I'm concerned for her health.
    [​IMG]

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    Sometimes her eggs look like this and sometimes the shell is so weak and/or not properly formed that it's found broke. Also worth noting is that all my other hens lay nice hard shells and never have a problem.
    [​IMG]

    But then the next day she lays a perfect egg (almost, sometimes the very top is not quite smooth)
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Kino

    Kino Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Does she receive enough protein in her food? Do you use pellets? Some weak shelled eggs can be caused by lack of protein.
     
  3. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She does eat pellets. No scratch but table scraps occasionally. During summer my chickens are locked up almost 24/7 due to landlords being back from AZ and they have a chicken killer dog, but as of 2 days ago they left and my chickens are out almost everyday all day. It will be up to her to get the high protein goodies. I was considering switching to Purina's Feather Fixer (if I remember correctly) for the time being as a lot of my girls are molting any way. Has anyone tried it? Results? The lady at the feed store said it was "specially formulated for molting hens"... I don't really care for Purina's other products so I am reluctant to try it.

    Here is what they have available 24/7
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Kino

    Kino Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've never used Purina's chicken pellet foods, but it is up to you if you'd like to try it. It may help your hen, it may not. If you see no improvement in your hen that acts up, then you can switch back (if you want); unless it is effecting all of your chickens negatively, then stop using it in general.
    Does she act sick in any way or manner?
     
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Let It Snow Premium Member

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    They never molt their first year, she should molt soon, some of my better layers are still going and probably won't molt until November, make sure she has free access to oyster shells, I have never used feather fixer, I usually just switch my ration from a layer to a non medicated grower to raise protein levels. Her legs look pretty bleached out so her body is running low on calcium, don't worry I have a feeling you're going to have a bald molting hen in the next few weeks.
     
  6. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I will adjust their feed and see what my feed store has to play around with protein levels tomorrow. I sure hope she dumps her feathers this year! Her "sister" has already molted twice, this year and last year(her first molt). And actually, I have pullets that were hatched Feb. 1 of this year and they are molting right now. I was not expecting them to do that. [​IMG]


    She does not act sick in any way and is actually a pretty happy active lady she lays about 4 eggs a week. I did have one hen once that didn't molt in many years but she was very old, and her eggs were hit and miss (more miss) and they had an odd rough texture. I suspect she had cancer. She also had very low energy. My current hen has different symptoms.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I don't think protein makes for stronger shells......calcium does.

    This bird could just have a glitchy shell gland....if your other birds are laying 'good' eggs, your nutrition regime is probably fine.
    She may not be assimilating nutrients properly, usually a genetic thing and not much you can do about it.

    As to why she's not molted I'm not sure, unless she is not as old as the others?
    Could also be a genetic glitch.
    Not all birds molt at the same time of year, especially if you are using supplemental lighting for winter laying.
     
  8. ChristieB

    ChristieB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Some birds don't do a full moult, the occasional one you won't know they are moulting except for a few extra feathers laying around.
    Protein doesn't make shells harder, too much protein can cause soft shells as it throws out the balance. If everything else is fine I'd just leave the feed be, you would know if you had a serious problem as all your hens would be laying strange.
    I know with some production breeds the ability to lay so much comes at the cost of appearance, normally that means your hybrids like isa browns that are used in egg farms but the rir is still in the production category, unfortunately this might mean she doesn't live as long or might stop laying completely sooner than the others, if she's otherwise healthy though there's not much you can do except make sure she's eating right :)
     
  9. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was assuming the protein suggestion was for assisting feather growth and not for shell quality. She has 2 issues going on, feather growth and poor shell quality. Her diet is being supplemented with lots of free range which started a couple days ago so I am hoping she will be able to find what her body needs. She has been following the rooster around faithfully so hopefully he is sharing the goodies. In the meantime I'm leaning to the conclusion it is genetic because she did come from a feed store (hatchery) and we all know how "good" commercial hatcheries are about weeding out unwanted traits. [​IMG]
     
  10. chickenmomma16

    chickenmomma16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, just re-read the post in question. I guess I read it the way I knew it should be.
    Protein = feathers
    Calcium = egg shells
     

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