Freqent shell-less eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Spikes Chooks, Feb 6, 2013.

  1. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Two of my four chickens are regularly laying straight off the roost (as if they don't even recognise it as an egg coming) and the egg has absolutely no shell whatsoever. The membrane splits on impact and there is a normal egg yolk & white ruined on the poop board.

    They are 34 weeks old and have been laying for about 8-10 weeks (it's summer here). The RIR and Australorp lay an egg a day, fairly much without fail, and in the nesting box. Lovely.

    The Barnevelder started about 8 weeks ago and generally lays 1 egg per week in the nesting box - and 3 shell-less ones off the roost. The Silver Campine generally lays 4 in the nesting box and 1-2 shell-less ones off the roost.

    I understand this happens ocassionally - especially as they are young and just getting into the swing of things. But this has been the pattern for well over a month now. Is this unusual?

    They have free access to layer mash. Breakfast wet mash of layer mash, rolled oats, grated veg and 1/4 tsp poultry spice (mustard, garlic, fenugreek etc). 2-4 times per week there will be extra protein (non-fatty meat scraps or cat food). Once or twice a week I add yoghurt. Once a week I give Soluvet vitamins and Kelp liquid. I put ACV in their water from time to time. Bedtime scratch of creacked corn and wheat. They have free access to shell grit, though I see the two good girls eating more of it than the slow learners......

    For three days this week I have added Calcivet liquid calcium & VitD to their wet mash. I use the individual bird dosage so they get roughly 1/4 dosage each day. Should I keep this up? For how long? Increase the dose?

    There's been no change since I started the Calcivet - except the Barnevelder did lay an egg with a shell - outside in the run, rather than in the nesting box - but a better effort than usual!!!

    If this is longer than usual to get it right, what are the chances I have 2/4 hens with reproductive glitches?!?!

    They are wormed, treated for mites etc and very healthy and happy flock, hardly even an obvious pecking order they are so calm. So I am lucky in many ways - except this one. Any advice would be appreciated.

    Katrina
     
  2. LukensFarms

    LukensFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think they are being over treated. Give them a simple layer ration. Make sure they have access to oyster shell. Give them some time and don't make any changes for a couple of months. They will straighten out. Too many constant changes though good intentioned do more harm than good.
     
  3. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, that has given me some cause for thought. Although there are various things I give them apart from layer mash, it is in small quantities as I keep to about 80% of their diet being the mash. Even so, perhaps the 20% I give them which varies is not a good thing. I'll pare it back and see if it improves.

    Wonder if there are any other thoughts are there?
     
  4. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They probably have to much going on in their little tummies!
     
  5. ChucktheChick

    ChucktheChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just feed mine the basics : scratch every other day, layer crumble free choice sine I have a coupe roosters in there, and grit and oyster shells are refilled every other day. It is winter where I live and I have eleven good laying hens and I get about eight eggs a day! Their diet is a little crazy right now. I agree with LukensFarms.
     
  6. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    This could or could not be normal. I am not an expert at this, however I had/have a similar situation going on in my flock.

    I have a Black Australorp hen that is now 2 years old. She also began laying very thin shelled and shelless eggs at a very young age, although not frequently. When she was about 1 1/2 years old, the frequency became regular. Eggs with just the membrane and even just a yolk. I would find these eggs in the run, or in the morning beneath the roost bar and sometimes she managed to get them in the nest box. [​IMG] She was and is on a good layer feed and eats well, with plenty of free choice oyster shell always available.

    Well, I thought maybe she might grow out of this, but it just continued to the point of her constantly going into the nest box trying to force eggs thru her system. Day after day, week after week this was the scenario. So I talked to my avian/poultry vet about it.

    He says that this can stem from a few things. It may be as simple as an imbalance of the minerals and amino acids in the feed....the calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and amino acids must be in the proper proportion for the hen to get the shell on correctly. (Consuming more oyster shell was not the answer in this case). This issue could be caused by genetics, as it was passed down to her from the parent birds. Or this issue could stem from a defect in the shell gland which can also be genetic. If the hen is carrying a genetic issue, there is only so much you can do.

    So, he sent me some solution of liquid calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and amino acids to put into the water. She has improved to the point of at least she can now put a shell on the yolk. I thought over time, (it has been several months) that this stuff would have built up enough in her system to have her laying harder shelled eggs, but they are still coming out funky and thin. She still goes into the nest box and strains, only to NOT have laid an egg. But when she does lay one, it has a shell on it. I am not sure how this will effect her as the year or years go on. One of these eggs may be the death of her. But I have not found any shell less eggs or yolks anywhere around. (thankfully none of the other chickens have found then either...LOL I hope they all stay dumb to this egg thing. LOL)

    So in your case, if these two birds do not grow out of this, and they are eating a good diet, and they are related, it is possible that they both have a genetic disposition for laying shell less eggs. When I figure out what the cure is, I will definitely let you know! [​IMG]

    Good luck with your hens :)
     
  7. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the advice.

    TCRanch - do you still keep up the liquid supplement you got from the vet? How frequently?

    I have liquid calcium supplement already and I can buy a liquid trace elements and amino acid supplement that, together, sound like what you got from the vet.

    I have pared back to layer mash and will keep that to more than 90% of their diet. For the rest I'll stick mainly to vegetable scraps as that's an easy way to get supplements into them as well.

    No oopsie off the roost this morning - neither has laid yet, but here's hoping!
     
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Yes, I still add this liquid supplement to the water ALMOST every day. Most of the girls are molting now, so I am not sure I should add as much calcium to the water everyday, so I use it about 5 times a week.

    If I were you, I would add your liquid calcium and get some of those trace elements to add as well. My girl is better than she was from being on all these things. If they don't have to push a squishy egg thru their system, the less likely they will become egg bound or suffer from anything else that might ail them from a slow moving shell less egg. AND, all the supplements will help them out as well in other areas of their health. Even the ones that don't really need it.

    I also cut way back on any treats and table scraps. That way this hen is eating more of her layer feed than anything else.
     
  9. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks that's really helpful. I have ordered it online so I should get it Monday/Tuesday.

    Good luck with your funny layer too!
     
  10. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Good luck with your babies as well. :)
     

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