Hen laying shell-less eggs, daily

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by FiveUrbanGirls, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. FiveUrbanGirls

    FiveUrbanGirls In the Brooder

    Sep 8, 2009
    I'm a total newbie at keeping hens. We have 5 laying hens. I have no idea what breeds they are. We acquired them from our neighbors about 5 weeks ago. All but one lay daily. The eggs have a nice hard shell and great yokes. The hen in question (Elvira- she's brown, white and gray speckled, lays blue eggs.) did not lay the first 2 weeks. I attributed it to stress, however, when she did lay, I found only a thin membrane in the nest. A few days later she laid a nice big egg, all subsequent laying has been with out the shell, though I sometimes find a membrane in the hay.

    I spoke with our neighbor about Elvira. They never had a problem with her.

    I'm stumped. I feed the girls laying feed daily mixed with oyster shells and grit as well as cooking scraps. In addition they get: oats, corn, laying feed mixed with yogurt and oyster shells, the kids green smoothie left overs (if there are any!), and greens (I throw the garden plants in their pen when the plants stop producing.). All the others are laying great eggs, why is she not picking up the nutrients?

    Elvira doesn't act funny and she seems to be at the top of the pecking order. We're thinking of culling her. Help!
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    From your description and her laying blue eggs, she is probably an Easter-egger.

    Here's a link to the egg quality handbook that talks about shell-less eggs.


    If she was really OK at the your neighbor's, that narrows it down. Do you really trust your neighbor? You can google the diseases to get the other symptoms. She might still be suffereing from stress.

    I would not let it go on too long. Those shell-less eggs can lead them to egg-eating.

    Good luck!
  3. monita

    monita Songster

    Oct 6, 2009
    Shelbyville, Tennessee
    i have never even heard of a shell less egg much less seen one. would you happen to have a pic of one that you can post?
  4. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Also, though I don't think it's a 'cause' in this case, I'd feed them the oyster shell free-choice in a seperate pan/bin/feeder. Somehow hens seem to know if they need extra, or less, and by mixing it into the feed (layer feed already has some in it) you risk the ones who need less getting too much, and deprive the ones who need more the chance to get it.
  5. Uppity Peon

    Uppity Peon Songster

    It sounds as if they all have access to good food. But perhaps this one hen is a junk food junkie and passes up on the layer feed and oyster shell in favor of corn and table scraps?
    1 person likes this.
  6. FiveUrbanGirls

    FiveUrbanGirls In the Brooder

    Sep 8, 2009
    I trust my neighbor, to some extent. The hens were hatched at their place, so she's known them since birth.
    However, she seemed to be a bit clueless on some things (like parasites. I asked if the hens had any issues and she said hens don't get parasites...). All I know is that she had 13 hens in an ok sized coop, but a pretty small run, for 13 hens). They were not allowed to free range very often. That's why I spoil them :}.

    I found another membrane and yellow stained hay in the box early am. Elvira had the ping pong ball dried to her chest feathers.

    Would a defective shell gland come on suddenly? The poultry site said to cull hens that lay shell less eggs regularly...[​IMG]

    I'll try the oyster shells in a separate feeder. I hope it helps. She's a dear, and I love gathering blue eggs!
  7. FiveUrbanGirls

    FiveUrbanGirls In the Brooder

    Sep 8, 2009
    Quote:could be, but that's one reason why I mix layer feed and os into some yogurt. They get corn about once or so a week.
  8. emys

    emys Songster

    Nov 19, 2008
    How old is the hen in question? Is it possible, the neighbor never had an issue with her, because she hadn't started laying for her yet? or because one of the other hens she was housed with was eating all the evidence??

    I have been nursing a late-bloomer laying hen for the past several weeks.
    She laid shell-less eggs for just over a month when I first got her. The other chickens she came with were laying perfect little pullet eggs. I kept wooden eggs in the boxes and checked the pen several times a day to discourage egg eating. Then one day she began laying very very thin shelled eggs. They have gotten SLOWLY thicker each week or so. I can now collect her eggs every day even though she still doesn't quite have a thick shell yet, they don't get broken. She was just five months old when I got her back in late August. Since she is still improving in egg size and shell thickness, I just call her my late bloomer. (I won't ever try to hatch her eggs - don't want to go through this again.) She is also a very large hen, who has continued to grow larger in stature during the time I have had her. I think it has to do with her beginning her laying cycles before she was mature enough to do so. Hormone problems due to being bred for production for generations. (I was told she was a Rhode Island Red, but she is the color of a New Hampshire.)

    Don't know if this is helpful to you, but, thought I would share in case it is.
  9. FiveUrbanGirls

    FiveUrbanGirls In the Brooder

    Sep 8, 2009
    She is a mature hen, I think she's about 4 years old. We have another easter egger who is the same age (from the same group of eggs) who lay's perfect eggs every day.
  10. karol

    karol Hatching

    Aug 1, 2013
    My Buff Brahma laid two shell-less eggs in two days and now she is not laying eggs. My Rhode Island red also did not lay today but the Goolden Wyndotte did. Temps arre high 90 degrees this afternoon and high humidity. All three hens are eleven months old. The Buff Brahma seems listless and not eating much. Is this due to temperature or could something else be going on? If temps, is there anything I can do to relieve stress? Does this mean no eggs this summer-it is only June in Atlanta.

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