Finicky Eater with Egg Shells Rapidly Getting Softer

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Merrykh, May 19, 2016.

  1. Merrykh

    Merrykh In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2014
    Bakersfield, California
    I hope someone can help me. Forgive me if I'm posting in the wrong manner. My hen has always been a good layer. She is free range in my urban back yard for the last 3 years. She is so picky. I had her on Layena, which after a while, wouldn't eat it, and then I later found a recipe for a mix that was supposed to be so good for her. I spent so much on all the ingredients only to have her pick here and there and walk away, never to return to it. I read about soaking and feeding the fermented feed, but that didn't even interest her. Waste. I've also tried pellets as well as the crumble. I just put the Layena back by itself and I hardly ever see her eat out of it. Of course, I don't watch her 24/7. I do give her scrambled eggs occasionally and I always mix in finely crushed eggshells. She has a dish of oyster shell available. Her eggs have been getting softer and softer until they are like a water balloon. She has crushed a few in her box. I added more bedding for a deep cushioning, as well as getting the egg asap before she sits on it to lay again. I'm afraid she'll get egg bound soon. I can't figure out how to get the calcium she needs into that stubborn girl. I was hoping that all the bugs, creatures, roots, etc, that she gets from the yard would sustain her. Oh, and when I say picky, she won't eat anything I offer from the produce I have, except squash. No strawberries, grapes, lettuce, carrots, peas, corn, sunflower seeds, melon, you name it, she won't eat it. She does peck through the seed waste that falls out of my finch aviary and cockatiel aviary. Otherwise, she seems to be perky. Oh, and when I give my dogs their wet food, THEN she comes running. So, I could possibly hide something in the dog food if anyone can help with what to do about increasingly soft shells.

  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Crowing

    Oct 21, 2015
    No where Nebraska
    Increase the amount of egg shells you feed back to her. That should give her plenty of calcium.
    I have heard of birds being divas but yours seems extreem. There may be a something else going on besides a finicky eater.
  3. DanEP

    DanEP Songster

    May 15, 2010
    Cadiz Ky
    First thing I'd try is putting her back on layer pellets so there's nothing to pick thru and restrict her options. If she's filling up on her favorite foods she won't eat the right foods. There is a reason they call it dog food, it has what your dog needs not your chicken. Trust me when she gets hungry she will eat the layer long before she starves to death.
  4. Merrykh

    Merrykh In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2014
    Bakersfield, California
    Thank you so much! It was Layena crumble that she was on and when I saw that she was not eating it, I thought I'd try the pellets to see if that appealed to her. There was so much crumble dust that I thought she wasn't able to pick up anything and lost interest, hence going to the pellet. She definitely didn't want the pellet. I will go back to the crumble and rest assured she won't starve herself. I just couldn't see how my yard, though very lush for insects, snails, etc, could provide enough to sustain her, so that's why I would give her egg, a big tablespoon of dog food when she came around, just in desperation to know she ate SOMETHING. I even stooped to buying the giant mealworms from the pet store to make ME feel better that she got nutrition. Thank you very much for the support! (And no more dog food! =]
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  5. Merrykh

    Merrykh In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2014
    Bakersfield, California
    Thank you! I WILL increase the shell(from other eggs than hers). There was a time when I could just put the dried out, crumbled shells on the ground and she'd pick at it with eagerness. Then, she stopped. I am hopeful this corrects her problem.

  6. ladyearth

    ladyearth Songster

    Nov 23, 2013
    a member on this forum said that the calcium was in the "yolk"
    cause one hen in particular has been laying soft shell or broken soft shell for two weeks or so now.
    they get Organic layer fed, plus I crush up two fresh egg shelsl and throw it to them everyday plus I keep frre oyster shell in severl places out of the weather for them. Plus they graze all day in 1/2 acre plus free range over 1 hr each day all over.
    they prob eat worms galore since so much rain here over the last 6 months too....
    I just think something else is going on cause at least one or two having soft shell lately too
    plus soft runny poo is increasing
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I'd give her nothing but the layer feed(or a higher protein crumble with oyster shell on the side).
    You're spoiling her....go back to the basics..she'll eat it when she gets hungry enough.
    She needs the vitamins and minerals in the balanced chicken feed to absorb/process the calcium.

    What breed is she?...3 years old she may just be at the end of her productivity.
    Last edited: May 20, 2016

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by