eroded feathers, soft eggs.


9 Years
Feb 11, 2010
Vancouver Island, B.C.,
I have a problem with one of my RSL hens.
She is 1 1/2 years old. Her 5 siblings/same age are all fine and healthy. So are the other hens in the flock.(19 in total)
After their last molt, a few months back, her feathers came in really thin and scruffy. It mainly seems to affect the larger wing feathers. She has lots of fluffy grey down.
But her flight feathers seem eroded like they have been scratched or chewed away and she seems a bit thin.
I found her on the nest yesterday long after everyone had laid and left and the other eggs had been gathered. She was sitting on a lovely egg but it had a soft chalky shell.
I have been getting soft eggs occasionally and now I know from whom.

Could she be having trouble absorbing calcium? She seems otherwise fine, running with the pack, and haven't seen anyone picking on her.
Is there some way to increase her calcium intake without treating them all?
They get quality feed with added calcium and ground up eggshells freely fed, but it seems she can't absorb it?
I don't know what else it could be.
Any ideas?
This can be a protein issue and this time of year there's not much to be found. Perhaps seperate her and feed her cooked eggs for a while and see if her feathering and eggshells improve.
Hey there, Vancouver Island!! (I have family in Qualicum Beach.
) Sometimes it takes longer than you'd think for feathers to come back in. In fact, it almost sounds as if the feathers you're seeing are the old feathers. Besides calcium, feather growth is dependent on proper protein ratios, so try adding extra protein to her diet -- scrambled eggs, chopped chicken (*gasp*) and anything else she'll happily eat.
They do actually get lots of meat scraps and other bits like squash and other veggies from the kitchen as well as free ranging on acreage all day.
Like I said before she is the only one that is scruffy and poorly feathered and laying thin shelled eggs.
So I assume it is an absorption issue on her part. If so then supplements wouldn't help would they?

I can try to separate her and give some scrambled egg and oyster shell.

I'm pretty sure that she isn't having a delayed molt because she was molting at the same time as the others and they all feathered out nicely months ago.
She was fine until the last molt and just didn't grow out full feathers. They came in ratty.

Thanks for the feedback.

And a big Vancouver Island wave back to "Me and Jack". I have family around Qualicum area too.
By any chance did you worm her during her molt? This will cause waxy re-feathering if this is the case. I don't know what else to help her that you can try.
No I have not wormed them at all. I have never seen any evidence of worms so didn't feel a need to.
I have heard that sex link hens can have health issues so maybe she is just an unlucky one.

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