Grower pellets and soft shells!

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by AnimalQuackers, Aug 21, 2013.

  1. AnimalQuackers

    AnimalQuackers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello!

    We have a mixed flock – two two year old Easter Eggers laying about 3-5 eggs each a week, and six approximately 16 week old (give or take) hens (an Easter Egger, a Cochin, an Australorp, a RIR and two Barred Rocks) who are, obviously, NOT laying yet. We also have a 16 week old (give or take!) Muscovy, gender unknown at this time.

    We started with the young ones, and about a month ago were given the two two year olds. We have been feeding everyone grower pellets and keeping a dish of crushed eggshells in the coop for the adult ladies to eat.

    Today, we found a soft shelled egg in the coop. Our assumption is that it is from one of the two year olds, and she is not getting enough calcium. I know the young hens are too young to be on layer pellets, but I am worried about the adult ladies creating a soft shell.

    Should I ditch the eggshells and offer oyster shells?

    I would appreciate advice and suggestions very much!

    Thank you in advance,

    Michelle in Massachusetts
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It very well could of come from the 16 weeks old pullets. Not that early for a BR or RIR to start. At 16 weeks there no reason not to start switching them over to the layer. Mix the starter with the layer, get rid of the bag that's open then go 100% layer.
     
  3. chfite

    chfite Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would offer oyster shell. The calcium may be more concentrated than just egg shells.

    Chris
     
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Egg shells and all sea shells have the same chemical composition. The hens might prefer one over the other thus consume more but the Ca is identical.
     
  5. AnimalQuackers

    AnimalQuackers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Percheron and Chris!

    My husband actually found the soft shell. The adult ladies always lay in the same place - a bale of hay that we just "store" in the coop. I asked my husband if he found the egg there, and he said no, it was actually in a nest box, which the adults have NEVER used! Makes me think you might be right Percheron that it is one of the other hens!!

    OK - will mix 50/50 the grower and layer pellets, and also offer separate cups of both oyster shell AND eggshells so the girls can have their choice.

    Thank you both so much for your suggestions. It is so nice to have a place like this forum to come to for advice and support in making sure our hens are well cared for!

    MANY thanks!!

    Michelle in Massachusetts
     
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hopefully your bale of hay is alfalfa. It will give them hours of play time in the winter and also provide good Ca and protein. It will also keep your yolks orange when they don't free range.
     
  7. AnimalQuackers

    AnimalQuackers Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh! No - it's just straw for the floor of the coop. But good to know! Looks like we will be getting some alfalfa hay too! :)

    Thank you again so much!
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Just once, honestly I'd write it as a one-off and not worry about it. My reproductive system has done enough weird things in my life, I'm just not too surprised when an animals does, too.

    I had a red sex link who started laying at 16 weeks. New layers do weird things. Lay sporadically, forget shells, double yolks, no yolks, shells with ridges and lumps and bumps. It's all in the range of normal for new layers. So are meat spots in the eggs.
     

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