Are my EEs just too worn out? Molting? Something else?

crunchymama11

Chirping
Aug 31, 2018
27
54
76
DFW
I am having some chicken drama. It started 3 weeks ago when an EE (2 1/2 yo), Emma, went broody for the 1st time ever. We eventually broke her broodiness (she was very stubborn). While we were dealing with that 1 night, we noticed a soft-shelled egg had just been laid in the coop and broke everywhere. We scooped out as much as we could, but the chickens still got a taste of egg. Emma was in the nesting box when this happened. I have another EE, Amelia, and 5 brown layers. After a few more soft-shelled eggs laid and eaten, drama in the nesting box, sudden aggression towards 1 chicken, multiple birds separated and brought inside, trauma from the nesting box drama and my top hen not laying in the nesting box nor allowing other hens to lay inside the nesting box, I have determined the soft-shelled eggs are coming from both my EEs. They girls are eating an 18% layer feed with occasional crushed egg shell thrown in run and free choice oyster shell. I do add some high protein snacks when molting- BOSS, cooked eggs, cooked beans. When I noticed the 1st soft egg, I threw extra OS in the feeder JIC the soft-egg layer wasn't eating the OS.

It's been 3 weeks, and the other chicken drama has mostly been resolved, but the EEs are both still laying soft-shelled brown eggs- not their usual green eggs. Amelia is molting- badly. She is laying her soft-egg just anywhere. It seems she is not aware she is laying an egg at all. These eggs get eaten quick. Emma- who I wasn't expecting to lay for a while due to the broodiness- is laying her soft shelled eggs in the nesting box. Sometimes it seems to be a whole egg shell, sometimes it appears to just be half an egg shell but normal size yolk. These aren't being eaten. She isn't molting yet that I can tell. My EEs are my egg-laying machines. Are they just "done" laying and their bodies are just too worn out from laying so much? Or are the soft eggs due to molting? I do not add supplemental light to my coop but all my girls mostly lay year-round, including some during their molts. Should I cull them bc the egg-eating was leading to some bad behaviors? Will they return to normal if it's molting? Is it something else? All the other chickens are laying hard, normal eggs.
 

MarkJr

Change in America begins at the dinner table
Premium Feather Member
Jun 15, 2020
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Elkton, OR
Cram an antacid down them before bed every night and see if eggs clear up. If so, look closely at your feed.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,607
23,438
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
Try this:

Since you know exactly which birds are the problem, isolate them for a private breakfast. 2-3x a week serve a small bowl (like 2 Tbsp is fine) of wet or fermented feed with oyster shell mixed in. If they don't like chunks of oyster shell, crush it up or use the powdery remnants from bottom of the bag. Should only take them a minute to eat and after that they're free to go.

If it works you should see results in a week or two, and you can try reducing it to 1-2x a week and should hopefully continue getting good results.
 

rosemarythyme

Crossing the Road
Jul 3, 2016
12,607
23,438
792
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
There’s an easy way and a hard way. @rosemarythyme is definitely the low contact, low stress way of doing it. Wish I’d have thought of it before figuring out chickens can spit a piece of antacid 20’..... without lips.
I like low stress! :D I just wormed my whole flock - learned first hand how much they *appreciate* me trying to force something into their mouths!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
88,005
106,451
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
but the EEs are both still laying soft-shelled brown eggs- not their usual green eggs.
Impossible for a bird to go from laying green eggs to brown ones.

There are only white and blue shells.
Brown eggs have brown coating on white shells.
Green eggs have brown coating on blue shells.
The brown coating can be very light or very dark, and can vary day to day.
 

crunchymama11

Chirping
Aug 31, 2018
27
54
76
DFW
Well, that's why i was confused at first at who was doing the soft egg laying. But then I saw it with my own eyes. Idk. I can try to upload the picture from last night's soft egg, laid definitely by my EE, and it's light brown. I'm not tech savvy, though, but I will try.
 

crunchymama11

Chirping
Aug 31, 2018
27
54
76
DFW
Try this:

Since you know exactly which birds are the problem, isolate them for a private breakfast. 2-3x a week serve a small bowl (like 2 Tbsp is fine) of wet or fermented feed with oyster shell mixed in. If they don't like chunks of oyster shell, crush it up or use the powdery remnants from bottom of the bag. Should only take them a minute to eat and after that they're free to go.

If it works you should see results in a week or two, and you can try reducing it to 1-2x a week and should hopefully continue getting good results.
Impossible for a bird to go from laying green eggs to brown ones.

There are only white and blue shells.
Brown eggs have brown coating on white shells.
Green eggs have brown coating on blue shells.
The brown coating can be very light or very dark, and can vary day to day.
See, not tech savvy :gigI was trying to respond to each of these quotes.
 

Kevin_87

Chirping
Aug 4, 2017
48
73
80
So most of what I have read says that EE's do not change egg color. However, one of mine has changed from a blue to pink egg shell. No other changes is egg quality or chicken appearance. I watched her lay the egg so I am certain on the layer. Any ideas???
 

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