better/harder shells?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by BarneyChick97, Feb 15, 2013.

  1. BarneyChick97

    BarneyChick97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    11
    106
    Nov 8, 2011
    Mt. Vernon, Washington
    Besides giving chickens oyster shell, is there any other options? We have 6 laying hens, and also, 3 laying duck hens. I have one or 2 (I suspect) Wyandotte(s) who seem to lay a very thin shell once in a while. Enough that it's making a difference in how long they last! I had some eggs in the fridge (that were once on the counter), that I sorted, that went bad. They were all from Wyandottes. (I have Ameraucanas also) The eggs that were the thinnest were DISGUSTING!! Is it something they are not getting, or is it just them?? The other eggs are fine. I also feed them back their shells too. They eat Purina Layena, and they also free range.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    452
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    http://www.alltech.com/sites/default/files/alltech-egg-shell-quality-poster.pdf

    Here's a chart that talks about soft shelled eggs, which is what this is commonly called. But chickens will lay odd eggs once in a while. On occasion I've gotten shell-less (rubbery feeling) eggs, tiny eggs, eggs with calcium deposits, etc. I mostly feed standard feed with oyster shell on the side. Sometimes they have more natural forage than others. I don't give a lot of treats. When I do it's usually a handful of BOSS. Once I got 3 or 4 rubbery eggs a week for about a month, then it stopped. I couldn't connect it with anything and will likely never know why. Maybe one hen had an infection or something that cleared up on its own.

    Although in some countries eggs are stored and sold at room temp, it's been proven they last longer in the refrigerator. They also last longer if you don't remove the bloom (i.e., don't wash them) before storage. Maybe you can cut down on the problem by rearranging things a bit.

    Another thought. Some hens seem to need more calcium and vitamin D3 than others. One way to give additional calcium is a Tums in the water now and then; you don't want to do this every day. You could research this and see what other approaches are available. I remember reading once of someone having to add calcium to the drinking water routinely.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2013
  3. sagenhoney

    sagenhoney Out Of The Brooder

    25
    0
    29
    Aug 22, 2012
    They can eat yogurt too - I would stick with plain though.

    I just started getting some really thin-shelled eggs as well. My husband got pellets last time instead of their regular crumbles....and they don't like the pellets too much, but have plenty to eat on around the land.
     
  4. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Overrun With Chickens

    22,927
    117
    351
    Dec 2, 2012
    Michigan
    I have been saving egg shells every time we use them, and once we get about 20 shells and they are all dried out, I smash them up so they are really fine and then mix it in the hanging feeder with some feed. They get this maybe once a week. My dad was actually asked me the other day "What have you been giving to your chickens? I had to hit my egg on the side of the pan 5 times before it would even crack!" It was pretty funny seeing him try to crack that egg. I started giving them dried egg shells because one of my hens was laying eggs with no shell. Since I started giving them egg shell, I haven't found an egg with no shell since.
     
  5. BarneyChick97

    BarneyChick97 Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    11
    106
    Nov 8, 2011
    Mt. Vernon, Washington
    I used to save the shells, for a while too. Then I would bake them, and crumble them up and mix them in the food. I thought that was "too much work", and wanted to be lazier, so I just started to throw the egg shells in the yard as I get them. Our ducks and turkeys like to eat them too. Maybe the chickens aren't fast enough? I've not had a chicken lay one without a shell, just one or two ladies in particular that lay "thinner" ones. Like, you can see the spots on the shells, where it doesn't look "thick". More translucent I guess? Those are the eggs that seem to go bad faster. We don't buy crumbles, and haven't for a long time. I think because I thought the crumbles were wasted more easily. Once they hit the ground, not a single chicken seemed to care! I think they just need time to get used to them. I have yet to give them yogurt...maybe I'll have to try that? I was just wondering if there were any other secrets? [​IMG]
     
  6. MsChickenMomma

    MsChickenMomma Overrun With Chickens

    22,927
    117
    351
    Dec 2, 2012
    Michigan
    I found that it's less work to just toss all of the shells in a cardboard box as you use them, and then every few days pull out the dry ones and crush them in a bag. That way you aren't waiting around by the stove for them to dry.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by