Continuous soft-shell eggs Do I have a problem?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by joebryant, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    For at least two weeks, maybe longer, one of my black hens has laid a humongous soft-shelled egg, one about every three or four days. I thought it would eventually fix itself, but the problem must be getting worse. Anne just brought in today's egg (broken) and the indoor-outdoor carpet from the nest so she could clean it.

    After reading a post yesterday about a hen's having to be put down because of something similar, I'm getting worried. When I say it's a soft shell, I mean that it's nothing more than a very large, clear membrane with an egg inside. The membrane is covered with a flaky, muddy looking substance that can be washed off the EXTRA large membrane.

    Is this common and almost always ends with whole eggs being laid?
    Should I wait longer or get her to a vet right away?
     
  2. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hi Joe

    There are several threads concerning eggs without shell here-

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/se...0&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=egg+without+shell&sa=Search

    Meanwhile, how old is this hen and how long had she been laying?
    Has she ever been sick?
    Are her droppings normal?
    Any resistance to eating or drinking?
    What is her diet and does she receive ground oyster shell in her feed or in the coop?
    Have there been any changes in routine such as more time outdoors lately?
    Is she in moult or showing any signs of beginning one...

    Eggs without shells can be a sign of influenza, but without accompanying symptoms it's likely to be an internal cause...
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    First, let me say you are doing the right thing by collecting the soft shells immediately. It's very easy for them to break, and for chickens to get curious about them...before you know it, you could not only have a laying issue, but an egg-eating issue.

    Here's a link to a page that may help:

    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/ourbooks/1/egg-quality-handbook/
     
  4. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:How old is this hen and how long had she been laying?
    She will be one year old May 14, and she began laying two+ weeks ago.

    Has she ever been sick?
    I've seen no signs of her being sick.

    Are her droppings normal?
    Yes, as far as I know. I haven't seen any strange looking ones.

    Any resistance to eating or drinking?
    No, none at all.

    What is her diet and does she receive ground oyster shell in her feed or in the coop?
    She free ranging every day, plus in the coop is a constant supply of "layer feed' from TSC plus a large container of crushed eggshells that I got from McDonalds.

    Have there been any changes in routine such as more time outdoors lately?
    No.

    Is she in moult or showing any signs of beginning one...
    No.
     
  5. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Thanks, I got the following from that URL:
    "Defective shell gland Cull birds which persistently produce such eggs."

    CULL?
    I don't want to kill her. She's more a pet. I don't care if I don't get eggs from her because we get more than we need from the other two hens and the silkie hen.
    This is probably a dumb question... but just in case... Can a vet fix her some way so that she can't lay anymore eggs?
     
  6. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Joe, calm down.

    Get some crushed oyster shell from the feed store. Put out a pan of it and let the hens free choice feed from it. Also, if you have some organic yogurt or some raw milk (goat, cow, sheep - doesn't matter) or some cottage cheese - give them a nice 1/2 cup with some dark rich greens (spinach is perfect) every day for the next week (or two) and see if her eggs improve. If it does you may want to treat them weekly or biweekly to a good dose of dairy with a some plants greens high in calcium and potassium).

    These orpington girls are big bones and full bodied. They need more (im my experience) than the average backyard chicken. It took her almost a year to get to the point of lay which means her body is fueling itself for growth and not neccesarily to produce fine eggs for you.

    Try the diet supplement and I bet she will improve. Also, dose the water with Braggs apple cider vinegar with the mother in it. 1 tbsp to a quart of fresh water.

    And, yes, a vet can give her a hystorectomy.
     
  7. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:WILL DO! Thanks (much).
     
  8. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had a hen do that a few years ago. The year before she started laying massive shelless eggs, she had suffered a very nasty case of coccidiosis which ruined her reproductive tract. She laid eggs bigger than my fist... I have picture, I'll have to post it... that were all shelless She ended up prolapsing her entire large intestines and I had her put down immediately. It was really terrible. Her body cavity was practically empty because it was all hanging outside her body. [​IMG]

    I would treat your entire flock for cocci. Even if that's not the case, it won't hurt to do that. Be checking for prolapse. Soft shelled eggs are harder for a hen to lay because there is nothing for her to push against. The muscles get tired after so long and end up coming out with the egg.
     
  9. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:WILL DO! Thanks (much).

    Wooooooooo Hoooooooo! It worked!
    I've been giving them lots of yogurt, collards, and spinach. Anne's been putting the vinegar in their water.
    Today she laid a medium size, hardshell egg! THANKS AGAIN!

    BTW, I was ready to take her to a vet, but she was walking normally and didn't seem different from the other chickens. Glad I waited.
     
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Forks, Virginia
    Nice job, Grasshopper! [​IMG]
     

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