HELP! Hens laying soft shell/no shell eggs!

CalBickieMomma

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Thanks everyone! So update: My RIR, Hattie, is STILL laying soft-shelled eggs (I often find them beneath the perch beneath her - broken on the ground with the shell either split or kind of crumpled). I've been feeding them a mix of Super Egg (pellets with a tiny bit of oyster shell and hen scratch in it) and Layer Crumble, as well as All Flock mixed with Game Bird Crumble (since it's molting season and my girls don't free range because of murder-y dogs and other possible hazards). They've been getting 2 scoops of the Layer mix mixed in with one scoop of the All Flock/Game Bird mix. PLUS I've been giving Hattie calcium pills each day (a total of 800 mg per day). And they still have their oyster shell/crushed egg shell mix available if they want it I would think, by now, her egg shells would start going back to normal. And it IS possible she lays a hard shell egg every so often (I'm not home all the time and I have several other brown egg layers, so one of those eggs could be hers). But I'm starting to suspect she might have a calcium absorption issue. Anyone else have hens with this problem?
 

rosemarythyme

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I would think, by now, her egg shells would start going back to normal. And it IS possible she lays a hard shell egg every so often (I'm not home all the time and I have several other brown egg layers, so one of those eggs could be hers). But I'm starting to suspect she might have a calcium absorption issue. Anyone else have hens with this problem?
If the pills aren't helping then yes it's likely the problem is with her and her ability to absorb or utilize calcium, as you should've seen results by 1-2 weeks after starting the supplement.

I don't know if there is a solution, hope someone can advise on what else, if anything, can be done.
 

CalBickieMomma

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If the pills aren't helping then yes it's likely the problem is with her and her ability to absorb or utilize calcium, as you should've seen results by 1-2 weeks after starting the supplement.

I don't know if there is a solution, hope someone can advise on what else, if anything, can be done.
Thanks! I honestly don’t care if she ever laid another normal egg for the rest of her life. My fear is that it’ll eventually lead to egg yolk peritonitis or some other complication ☹️.
 

rosemarythyme

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Thanks! I honestly don’t care if she ever laid another normal egg for the rest of her life. My fear is that it’ll eventually lead to egg yolk peritonitis or some other complication ☹️.
You'll mainly need to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't get egg bound (as soft eggs are harder to push out) or prolapsed from pushing so much. Really best case scenario would be she stops laying entirely on her own but it's pretty difficult to make them stop (you'd need a vet to do implants or shots, or maybe keep her in darkness all the time, but that leads to other issues).

Probably can ease off on the calcium pills, since they're not doing anything for the egg shell, though slightly elevated calcium in her diet shouldn't hurt, in case that helps at all with her passing softer eggs out of her system.
 

CalBickieMomma

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You'll mainly need to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't get egg bound (as soft eggs are harder to push out) or prolapsed from pushing so much. Really best case scenario would be she stops laying entirely on her own but it's pretty difficult to make them stop (you'd need a vet to do implants or shots, or maybe keep her in darkness all the time, but that leads to other issues).

Probably can ease off on the calcium pills, since they're not doing anything for the egg shell, though slightly elevated calcium in her diet shouldn't hurt, in case that helps at all with her passing softer eggs out of her system.
Thanks so much! I lost her sister (my other RIR who I got from the same bin, so very possibly biological sisters) last month due to complications from what I suspect was egg yolk peritonitis (she had water belly and when we tried to drain her, she ended up getting liquid in her lungs and died :hit), so I’m terrified I’ll lose my Hattie, too :(. So long as she keeps pushing out the soft ones, I’ll try not to worry too much. I had read about someone taking their girl in to get a hysterectomy, but I bet it’ll cost a fortune if my vet even does that kind of surgery (he sewed Hattie up a year and a half ago when she got a huge gash in her, so maybe:idunno.
 

BDutch

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From what I have been reading, I do suspect an egg shell disorder in her internal laying system. There is a possibility she heals during a stop period (moult/winter).
I don’t think it’s the calcium in the feed that causes these shell less eggs. If you get thin egg shells from all chickens, the problem is probably lacking Ca. One or a few chickens that lay eggs without a shell is often caused by a disease or internal infection.
 

CalBickieMomma

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From what I have been reading, I do suspect an egg shell disorder in her internal laying system. There is a possibility she heals during a stop period (moult/winter).
I don’t think it’s the calcium in the feed that causes these shell less eggs. If you get thin egg shells from all chickens, the problem is probably lacking Ca. One or a few chickens that lay eggs without a shell is often caused by a disease or internal infection.
I'm hoping she can heal during this autumn/winter. From what I can tell, she is able to expel the rubbery shell (but I don't know if the shell bursts when it hits the coop floor (wood shavings over dirt) because I find the remnants first thing in the morning, or if it breaks while she's expelling it (hoping the first scenario is the case, because - like I said - I worry about the eggs breaking internally and having the yolk/white cause bacterial infection). Having said that, the shell does look a bit shriveled on top of the liquid part of the egg, so she could be pushing both the inside of the egg and the outside of the egg out at once :(. She was two in June, so she's too young to be starting the major slowing down process (but if she is for any reason, that would be good because then she would stop laying naturally).

I read somewhere that oregano oil helps prevent egg yolk peritonitis, so every other week I add some to their water (I do a complete water change once a week and have started adding probiotics once a month, followed by the oregano oil, then mix in NutraDrench at week three, then back to oregano oil, then probiotics and so on and so forth). I also add garlic powder to their feed and will start mixing in ground Cayenne pepper, too. Anything I can do to keep them as healthy as possible! :wee
 

BDutch

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I keep it more simple. There are wild oregano plants in my garden they can eat from. Add some yoghurt and apple cider vinegar to the crumble leftovers. Put garlic in the water or their feed about once a month. My chickrns don’t need fancy supplements.
 

CalBickieMomma

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Jul 27, 2019
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San Luis Obispo County, CA
I keep it more simple. There are wild oregano plants in my garden they can eat from. Add some yoghurt and apple cider vinegar to the crumble leftovers. Put garlic in the water or their feed about once a month. My chickrns don’t need fancy supplements.
I don't let my chickens free range (my dogs aren't chicken trained and we have occasional predators and my chickens are like my children :p ). They have a nice, big covered run and coop, but I still feel a bit guilty for not letting them roam the yard for snacks, so I try to give them as many extras as I can :wee.
 

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