Are hens confused by their own shell-less eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Ballerina Bird, Feb 1, 2015.

  1. Ballerina Bird

    Ballerina Bird Songster

    Aug 29, 2014
    This is a silly question, but I am curious. Usually my girls are very orderly about egg laying -- they politely take turns using the box and have pretty much gotten used to the routine. This morning, a couple of weird things happened. One hen stayed upstairs when I let them out, and when I when I went to check later, expecting to see an egg, there wasn't one. Then, later, I looked out to find that they had both gone up to the coop, something they haven't done since they first started laying about a month ago. They were just up there scratching and tut-tutting aimlessly. Then, a little later, I let them out for a free range, and I suddenly saw a shell-less egg on the ground near them. This is the first time this has happened. I know I don't necessarily need to worry about the shell-less egg itself unless I start seeing them repeatedly, but I am wondering whether the occurrence of the egg would have influenced their earlier, slightly wacky, behavior. Again, silly, I know, but I also know that we are all curious about the odd things our girls do!

    While I'm asking, also, I've been continuing to feed grower crumble along with free choice oyster shell rather than layer feed, according to advice I've received here. But is the shell-less egg a sign that they need layer crumble now? Should I mix the layer and grower together for a while? They're only about 7 months old and seem to be doing well on the grower crumble, so that was why I was continuing to feed it, plus some have said that they can get too much calcium from shells plus layer feed.
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes, a shell less egg can make them act weird. It must feel strange.

    I had one last summer stand in one spot almost catatonic for 30 minutes, thought she was ill, went back out to check on her and found a softshell on the ground and she was strutting around ding her normal chicken thing.

    Softshell or shell less eggs are not unusual during the first month or so of laying. Doesn't really have to do with feed but more of the system getting tuned in.

    I like to feed a 'flock raiser' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and all molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

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