Calcium needs changing? Or is it feed changing?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Gypsi, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had a good solid year of nice hard eggs from my hens on nothing but Layena Crumbles.

    2 things happened this July. One - I think layena changed their formula to increase something, and they may have cut calcium down.
    And Two: It hit 100 plus degrees in mid-June and did not drop until early August.

    So when I got my first soft egg, I got a small bag of oyster shell calcium, which my hens have no interest in, although there is a bowl next to their feeder. I have sprinkled it on their feed, on their treets, I manage to get some into them but not much.

    Then I started crumbling eggshells into their treats. That has gone a little better. I had to quit giving them oatmeal, even with eggshells it seemed to produce really soft fragile eggs, some with shells, some with only the inner chorion (or is it an amnion?), some so thin I put my finger through when I attempt to lift the egg.

    Today's treat was yogurt with bananas and the perpetual crumbled eggshells hiding in it.

    Granted some fresh sand in the run helps, but I just did that a 3-4 weeks ago. Is it the age of my birds? (they are at least 18 months to 2 years now), the food, any clue?


  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Try mixing the oyster shell in with the feed
  3. Gypsi

    Gypsi Chillin' With My Peeps

    They seem to avoid most of it, already tried that. mainly wondered if anyone else feeding Layena noticed soft shells. If my typing is bad, I have a 13 lb cat in front of my monitor... ayaayyeeeyaya
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    I would think that there is many forms of calcium other than the oyster shells? I am not getting eggs yet but your not the only calcium deficient hens? I interested in an answer also.

    Sorry I am no help,

  5. ky-chicken-farmer

    ky-chicken-farmer Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 28, 2011
    I feed Layena and have for a egg shells havnt changed and are still hard
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member


    So, you're trying to increase calcium uptake, while still feeding the Purina?

    Layena is a complete feed, with the daily minimum requirement of calcium that a hen's diet should require, even without adding another calcium source. With the calcium you are adding by sneaking it in through other sources, your hens are receiving a much higher percentage of calcium than their daily requirement. If after all that, you still find soft shells, it might be time to re-think a bunch of stuff here.
  7. hannakat

    hannakat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2010
    Beaver County, PA
    Not much help, are we [​IMG]

    It would be interesting to hear what affect the heat had on other flocks. I would imagine they adapt, but extremes like that have to produce changes on some level. Is it the whole flock or just some?

    I don't use that brand of feed, so can't help with that question.

    Mine don't touch the oyster shells sprinkled in the feed either. My RIR has a tendency to lay eggs that are on the soft side and she gets the same feed as the others, but not as soft as what you describe.

    Hope you find some answers!
  8. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Just a couple of thoughts.

    Usually when I give them more oyster shells that does the trick.

    So one thought is the "treats". Chickens can only eat so much and like us if they fill up on the wrong stuff they will get diarhia, constipation etc , etc.

    This is what I recommend. Make sure they have on demand "insoluble grit". Make sure they on demand "soluble grit." Keep a dish of each. A large dish in an area that stays dry. Hold off on all the other things your feeding them, for awhile. Something is out of balance and the treats may be it.

    I notice when I over do the treats, I start to get funny shaped eggs.

    If you live in an area that gets wet, like I do , try worming your birds. I try to do this twice a year.

    I like to give them vitamins ONCE A MONTH, just because. In their water for just the days water and then dump it and add fresh. Easy does it though. To much and it can hurt their kidneys.

    I also like to give them ACV ONCE A MONTH, just because I've read it helps. Again just for the days water. I use gallon milk jugs to do all this. So I can measure better.

    I also like to mix some Cod liver oil in the scratch once in a while, just cuz I read in Practical Poultry magazine that it helps.

    Everyone has differing op's on what and how to do things. I try to develop a system and routine. Chickens are worse than humans when it comes to change. They get used to the routine and YOU. Even a visitor in the yard can upset them.

    You basic commercial feed has a balanced diet but sometimes not enough calcium to get things going for new layers. Everything else is dessert.

    Hope some of this helps,

  9. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2010
    Marshfield, Ma.
    Like Freds Hens said you have to rethink the whole process. I was a little bored and did some research of softies. There can be many factors that produce soft shelled eggs and lack of calcium being the obvious. A lack of protein and vitamin D3 can contribute to it as well. D3 is needed to help metabolize the calcium and protein in the structure. There are a few health issues that can be attributed to the laying of soft shells too. Worms, Newcastle disease and Infectious bronchitis can give you them. Heat stress and stress in general maybe from a predator that they are seeing could be a factor. Shock could be as well but where it has gone on for a while think you could rule that out. Molting could be a factor, generally speaking most birds stop laying or lay very infrequently. If they are trying to lay during molt eggs may come out this way. This has happened to me as one of my Barreds just started laying soft ones out of the blue every three or four days. I was thinking that i would have to cull her because she went sour but gave her some time. I now realize what she was doing is that she was molting and trying to lay. She has since returned to nice solid laying.

    Seeing all your girls are going through it I would think it is attributed to some form of disease. You will just have to eliminate them one by one.(disease not chickens). My thinking anyway.

    Good Luck.[​IMG] Keep us posted.[​IMG]
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The last two posts have good advice.
    A ton of research has gone into poultry nutrition and layer feed is ALL that is needed. Any other intake screws with that balance.
    I would quit all treats feeding only layer feed and add a tablespoon of organic ACV to each gallon of water and wait a week.
    If there's still a problem investigate disease.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011

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