Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by roostersandhens, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Hello,
    So, some of my hens have been laying super thin shelled eggs. Some hens haven't even been laying. I don't care a bit about the eggs, but I do care that my hens aren't getting enough calcium. They eat layer pellets. I give them oyster shell mixed with scratch, but they always eat the scratch and leave the oyster shell, no matter how well I mix them together.. So, are there any foods that chickens like that would be a good source of calcium?
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Offer oyster shell in a dish by itself and get rid of the scratch all together for two weeks and I bet their eggs will improve... I'd guess that they're filling up on scratch more than their formulated feed, and therefore are lacking in needed nutrients...

    ETA: If it works, you can still offer scratch for a treat, but just a small handful a day, scattered about, just enought for them to peck about for for about 5 minutes - then it's gone.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    This would be a good thing to try.
    my hens always eat their shells better than the oyster shell.
    Some folks feed yogurt for calcium.
    I've usually fed my birds lots of leafy greens-spinach, Swiss chard, etc that are high in calcium.

    I did have two older rsl hens that just always had thin shells. They still laid huge eggs, but fragile.
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I have found that when my hens fill up on other things and don't eat enough of their layer feed, one of them in particular will lay thin shelled eggs. Especially this time of year when there are less hours in the day to eat their layer feed and get enough calcium. So really limit the treats big time. You will probably be surprised at how the shells thicken up.

    However if still the hens are laying thin shelled eggs, there is a calcium powder out there that is used for parrots. It is sprinkled on the feed and is high in calcium. I used it for a hen that was laying only yolks for a while. If you need me to dig it up for you, I will get right on it. :)
  5. Thanks, and btw I forgot to mention that my chickens are free-range..
  6. mrmole

    mrmole Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 13, 2013
    I agree with teach1rusl, the scratch is probably filling them up and they are not getting the calcium they need from the layer pellets. I offer the oyster shell in a bowl by itself for my girls. although I have had good luck by just grinding the oyster shells into a fine powder and I would mix it with some yogurt or mixed with mashed hard boiled eggs oatmeal works too. you can also just putt some whole hard boiled eggs into a blender shell and all and grind it up really good and feed it to your girls. it will not take long for the shells to harden up.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Another suggestion - add liquid calcium to a wet mash for them. I have a RIR who doesn't seem to select enough shell grit from the separate bowl, or to get enough of it when I mix it into their morning wet mash. She can lay very thin shelled eggs or ones without any shell at all - just the membrane. Then she and other others eat this egg! If she does it I supplement the mash with a product called Calcivet. I'm in Australia so it might be branded differently where you live. You can also individually dose the chicken doing this.

    Just a thought, in case you try the other very good tips given above, and still find a problem.

    Good luck
  8. Thanks everyone, in a few weeks I may update and see if her shells are thickening. Thanks again!
    NatureNikki likes this.

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