can egg shells be too hard?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenbythesea, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 9 brown layers and 2 of them are just starting to lay, they're about 21 weeks. They're only laying every 4 days but the nights are coming early and I've just started lights. We finally had enough eggs to make our first family scramble and we noticed that when cracking the eggs they were very strong. I only started giving them oyster shells today. should I continue to give them oyster shells or not? Is is a bad thing to have tough egg shells? I've read lots here about hens first eggs being soft shelled or not shelled.... definitely not a problem here. I'm new to the whole chicken thing and just want to be sure it's safe to give them the oyster shell. thanks
     
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  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Farm fresh eggs should be harder. They are a pain to peel if boiled. The bigger the air sack, the easier to crack. It gets bigger as it becomes less fresh.

    ETA: WOOT! Hello fellow maritimer!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  3. johnsons-r-us

    johnsons-r-us Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Very interesting! Our shells seemed harder also, and ours free range for 90% of their food. I did not know about the air sack getting bigger as it becomes less fresh. Yikes, I remember I used to like the bigger air sacks for peeling the hard-boiled eggs from the store. Now....not so much!
     
  4. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yehaw! didn't know there were any other maritimers here... glad to meet you.

    Quote:
     
  5. Gerry2011

    Gerry2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Eggs that are about 7 days old will peel easier. Eggs will stay fresh for 2-3 weeks or more. Particularly if they are not washed. If there is dirt just dry brush it off.
     
  6. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not worried about peeling them: actually I really don't like the taste of boiled eggs from home (their still too gamey for me). I mean when you crack them for baking or scrambling. The shell was very hard to crack and almost tough to pry open.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    When they start laying, it is not all that unusual for the eggs to be "different". They could be soft shelled, no shell, mis-shapen, double yolks, small, just about anything. It sometimes takes a while for the pullet to get all the kinks out of its internal laying factory.

    One thing that could happen is that the shell is hard. The shell gland makes a certain amount of shell material. The pullet egg is usually smaller than normal. With that amount of shell material on a small egg, it can go on kind of thick. I've even seen thick shells, especially with pullet eggs, listed as a possible reason a chick develops but does not pip in one of the incubation troubleshooting guides. The one from Florida.

    If you offer oyster shell on the side, it should not be a problem. It looks like they are getting all the calcium they need, either from what they find free ranging or the Layer they eat. It never hurts to offer it on the side, but I would not mix it with their feed.
     
  8. chickenbythesea

    chickenbythesea Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks... that makes sense about more shell for a smaller egg equaling a thicker shell. The oyster shell is out in their run and they peck at it but don't seem overly interested so that's good
     
  9. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Ours have very sturdy shells too. We feed them back to the chickens in oatmeal or scraps and they have the oyster shell in their run. Do you think eating bugs makes a difference? Ours range the yard a few hours a day.
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    They can get calcium from bugs, certain plants, frogs, mice and other creepy crawlies with bones, and, if you live in limestone country, from the rocks they use as grit. If the egg shells are OK, you don't need to offer any extra, whether oyster shell or egg shells. I offer oyster shell on the side and it is hardly ever touched. They hardly ever eat the egg shells out of the compost heap. They are obviously getting enough elsewhere. A lot of the time, when I have a mixed aged flock, I feed Starter or Grower to the entire flock, so they are not getting any extra calcium from Layer. They eat a bit more of the oyster shell then, but it still lasts a very long time.

    I don't see any harm in offering them egg shells or oyster shells on the side so they have a choice of whether to eat it or not. Personally I don't mix it with their feed. Why force them to eat something they don't need and their body has to work to get rid of the excess? But then, my egg shells are fine. Many people do it differently.

    Growing up on the farm many decades ago, my parents never gave the chickens oyster shell or any commercial feed, anying with extra calcium in it. The chickens free ranged all the time and found all their own food. Those egg shells were fine. But I don't keep my chickens under those same conditions in the same environment, so I offer oyster shell on the side.

    I suggest offering oyster shell (or egg shells) on the side. They are pretty inexpensive, If they need them, they are available. If they don't need them, they will last a long, long time and be really inexpensive.
     

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