Diet for Soft-Shelled?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ClareScifi, Apr 4, 2012.

  1. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,853
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    I have one pullet, who is 27 weeks and one day old, who is laying soft-shelled eggs. She did this a few weeks ago, when she first started laying, but after a few soft shells her eggshells became nice and hard.

    However the last couple of days they have been soft-shelled, and yesterday she laid her first wrinkled egg, the only one I have ever gotten from a chicken. This concerns me, because when I cracked it, the white was part watery, which is a symptom of Infectious Bronchitis Virus. Everyone thought the weird egg was due to her young age/laying stage, but I'm not so sure, especially since I got another soft shell from her this morning.

    Yesterday, morning she laid a soft shelled egg a few hours before she laid the wrinkled egg. So something is going on.

    I have been trying to encourage her to eat laying mash, but she doesn't seem very interested in it. She doesn't really seem to care for oystershell, either.

    So what can I feed her that might help her problem in case it is a nutritional imbalance? Would scrambled eggs be a good idea?

    She does eat fresh greens well.

    She doesn't seem to have any other symptoms of the Infectious Bronchitis, but the watery bit to her egg white yesterday does worry me.

    I don't think she could have gotten injured in a fall. That can be a cause of a wrinkled egg. But the double ovulation makes me think it is maybe a reproductive issue.

    I wouldn't worry about her nutrition, except for the fact that she eats All Flock with the rooster, as do the other hens, who haven't had laying problems like this. There is free choice oystershell on the side for the extra calcium they might need (since the All Flock doesn't have as much calcium in it as laying mash). I don't feed the rooster laying mash because it has too much calcium in it and could damage his kidneys.

    However, I do make the laying mash available to the hens while they are in a separate area from the rooster, so they can eat as much of it as they want. The Barred Rock and Sebright hen love the laying mash, and I saw my other half white leghorn girl eat some of it this morning. Early on, she also laid soft shells but not recently.

    I think the girl with the problem may be half Buff Orpington. So she lays giant white eggs which may be a lot harder to produce than a smaller-sized egg. Her eggs are the largest of all my hens' eggs.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    196
    216
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    Two eggs in one day would tax the calcium in her body heavily. The soft shells before is the problem. Three things I can think of to try. 1.Feed her crushed egg shells. 2. Vitamins, D, should help calcium absorption. 3. A calcium heartburn tablet, crushed of course. Hens usually gobble eggs shell down with gusto. If she is eating calcium rich greens it might be an absorption problem. Vitamins should help that. The heartburn tablet is making sure there is calcium in her gut to absorb. Shes a young hen, the egg shell and vitamin boost should help.
     
  3. ClareScifi

    ClareScifi Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,853
    40
    174
    Mar 30, 2011
    Well, I gave her scrambled eggs this morning, and she lapped them down. I forgot to give her the eggshells.

    This afternoon she laid a perfect egg! Just about an hour ago. Yippee!

    Maybe the soft-shelled egg this morning was her sister's? I haven't found her sister's egg today, so perhaps they are both laying soft-shelled eggs from time to time. Since the soft shell looked white, I assumed it was my white egg-layer, but it could be that the colored coating doesn't show, and it was her sister's egg, instead. Maybe the first one I found yesterday, before the wrinkled one, was also the sister's egg.

    She did eat some laying mash this morning. I do feel better about her, getting this perfect egg.

    I try not to feed much spinach, chard, beet greens, or kale, due to the calcium. Instead I feed her lettuce, arugula, and a bit of red cabbage, all of which she likes-- not as much as spinach and chard-- but well enough.

    Thanks for the great suggestions.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by