Hello, from Southern Illinois!


In the Brooder
Jun 30, 2016
I'm brand new to raising chickens. My girlfriend and I have always wanted to raise our own, so we designed and built a chicken coop tractor when we were offered 5, one-year-old Ameraucana hens for free. Sadly, three of the hens were killed by a raccoon two days before we were expecting to receive them. The two remaining hens were grief-stricken for about a week before they started laying again. Since we built the coop and run large enough to accommodate five laying hens, we decided to add three Rhode Island Red hens to the mix. Luckily, my aunt had a batch of about 40, five-month old, RIR hens she was ready to sell. She ended up giving them to us for free! Although the chickens themselves didn't cost us anything, the coop tractor cost around $390 in raw materials. I'll try and post a pic of the setup after I've finished nailing the shingles on the roof.

Anyway, the RIRs are getting close to six months old now, so we're expecting eggs from them any day. The only issue we're having is one of the Ameraucanas isn't laying very often (once a week), and when she does, they come out lighter blue with a coarse, thin shell. I'm feeding them Purina brand layena pellets with oyster shells already mixed in. They have access to new fresh grass every day when we move the tractor. I wonder if she just isn't eating the pellets. They have access to as much as they want, but the bin holding the pellets is quite dark, so maybe she's too afraid to stick her head in to eat. When we're out there, they prefer to be outside the coop on the grass, so we've hardly seen which ones are eating the pellets. I'll probably post this issue with some pics of the setup to the forum when I get a chance this weekend.

Pork Pie

Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jan 30, 2015
Hi and welcome to BYC - glad that you have joined us. I'm not sure what the issues could be. You could try posting on the chicken behaviours and egg laying forum for expert advice.

Best wishes


drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
Out to pasture
Maybe the layer feed doesn't contain enough calcium. You could put out a separate container of crush oyster shell for free choice use. If the hens feel they need more calcium they will take it.


Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
Welcome to BYC
Here is a breakdown of egg quality problems, including lack of pigmentation on egg shells and other egg shell issues and causes:


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