Golden Sex link Problem

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by orrpeople, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. orrpeople

    orrpeople Overrun With Chickens

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    I found out (sadly, after we had already brought home six sweet girls from the farm store) that golden sex link hens have some health issues surrounding their breeding for egg production. I have two ladies who - after they have laid a beautiful brown egg in the morning - sometimes exhibit symptoms for being egg bound. They stand frozen and hunched up, begin to "push" and eventually produce a membrane only egg. They are free range, fed a high quality organic layer feed an have oyster shell free choice. But, they are young. Both began to lay at about 18 weeks and are now 20 weeks old. Has anyone else had this experience with goldens? Does it eventually get better? Is there something I should do for them?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    When pullets first come into lay, they sometimes have problems with the laying process. It’s a pretty complicated process and sometimes it takes a week or two to get the bugs out of the process.

    Some golden sex links are based on the commercial hybrid layers, some are made by crossing two dual-purpose breeds. The ones from the dual-purpose are no different than other dual purpose chickens. The ones from the commercial hybrids are highly tuned to egg laying and are more prone to problems. The best way to tell the difference is size. If they are small like a leghorn, probably a commercial hybrid. If they are the same size as a dual purpose bird the same age, probably from dual purpose.

    What appears to be happening is that the pullets are releasing two yolks a day instead of the more normal one yolk. They normally make about enough shell material for one egg and don’t have much shell material left to cover the second egg. Any hen of any age can do this but pullets just coming into lay are more prone to this. If they are commercial hybrids really tuned to high egg production, this is even more likely. You might see double yolked eggs also.

    Some of them get it under control as they get older. That’s true about most of those weird pullet eggs you hear about. But not all do. One possible cause of them releasing extra yolks is that you may be feeding them too well. A high protein diet makes hens more likely to release an extra yolk. One big reason commercial operations feed a diet of about 16% protein is not that they are tightwad cheapskates that like to abuse their chickens like you often read about on this forum, it’s because a higher protein diet puts them at risk. A high protein diet also causes the eggs to be bigger. With their smaller bodies extra large eggs also puts them at a health risk.

    Since yours free range what you feed them may not be all that much of their overall diet, but I suggest you cut back on the protein level of what you are feeding them and see if that helps. Don’t feed them high protein treats. Look at the protein level of your feed and see if you need to reduce that a bit. With their smaller bodies the commercial hybrids really don’t need a lot of protein for body maintenance. The bigger dual purpose hens really don’t need that much extra protein either but they can handle it better. This may be something yours outgrow but reducing their protein intake probably is a good thing.

    Good luck!
     
  3. orrpeople

    orrpeople Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you so much for your thoughtful insight. We have been giving mealworm treats, so that can go. I'll check protein contents of feed as well. They are small-bodied, so probably not a dual purpose (our Barred Rocks and Buffys tower over them.) Thanks again!
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Look at overall protein...I use a higher protein feed but it is offset by the lower protein scratch grains I like to give daily.

    The softshell eggs are pretty common with new layers...and that funny standing stock still staring off into the distance before dropping a softie, pretty common too.
    Freaked me out the first time I saw it happen....it's got to feel pretty strange to pass a softie....lol!

    High production birds are also more inclined to release multiple yolks per day when first starting to lay.
    It can take up to a month or so for things to smooth out.
    Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  5. salsss

    salsss Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too have had these problems with red sex link pullets. I have three of six laying already...they are 16 weeks old. Two of them were egg bound but baths and calcium got them back on track. Maybe 5 eggs with no shell, one with a tiny bit of a shell. The last few days have had all three laying normal (one yolk even!) eggs, but today I got only two. Everyone looks happy but I'm watching for anything....

    Altogether I've had about 1.5 dozen from these girls, and they have been laying two weeks or so. I've been feeding lots of scratch grains, and now only one yolk!

    This is the first time I've had chickens and have had emergencies....lucky for me my vet will see my chickens, though I don't think she likes to.

    They are so sweet but I'd not get this breed again...
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2016
  6. orrpeople

    orrpeople Overrun With Chickens

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    Wow, salssa, poor birds! They are fortunate for your excellent care through this time. My first layer (17 weeks) has been a clockwork egg layer, with only one day off in three weeks, but she has produced at least one double yolker. The interesting thing through this whole process for me has been that they seek out the nest box for the shelled egg, and then just drop the membrane or yolk only egg wherever they happen to be standing: middle of the yard, roof of the coop... Somehow they must know?
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Actually, I think they don't know.
    The softies don't feel like a regular egg and take them by surprise.
    All young pullet softies I've found have been out of the nest....older birds lay some of them in the nest and some of them elsewhere.
     

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