Hen laying two shell-less eggs/day...how to fix???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stef in Davis CA, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Stef in Davis CA

    Stef in Davis CA In the Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Riverside, CA
    Pengu, my 6 mo. old Australorps hen started laying ~6 weeks ago...she was 2nd out of my 5 chickens to start laying, and lays large brown eggs...for the first month was pretty regular and laid every one in the nest box. She started laying larger and larger eggs and has laid several big double yolkers. She had suspicious lapses in laying (I was investigating her for possible egg eating after 4 days with no eggs). Yesterday she was acting strange, squatting and fluffed up, and then after some straining popped out a shell-less egg in the middle of the lawn....then, a couple hours later she popped out a second, even less well-formed egg-blob while straining in the run (both had yolk and varying amount of white, but no shell). Immediately all the chickens try to eat the shell-less eggs, but I scoop them up [​IMG].

    I made sure she was getting lots of water and gave her some extra TLC, but today, she did the whole routine again. She was hunkered down in the next box for an hour this morning, didn't lay anything, then popped out two more shell-less eggs over a few hours right onto the lawn in the afternoon.

    I've been trying to get her to eat more oyster shell in case she is calcium deficient, but she doesn't seem too interested in it (maybe the problem is she's finicky and doesn't like oyster shell? She's otherwise a huge glutton for treats and other food and seems perfectly fine and energetic other than the bouts of straining). The hens all get an oyster shell-grit combo mix free-choice beside their food and water, access to the greens and bugs in the yard and a small handful of scratch several times a week for a treat.

    They've gone through their food slower than I expected, so they're still finishing off a 50lb bag of start and grow chick feed that I bought when they were younger....would layer pellets help?

    I used to keep a red warming lamp in the coop, but took it out a week ago...could this affect her?

    How can I help this bird get back to regular laying? Should I be giving her anything special to compensate for producing two yolks/day?

    Thanks for any suggestions!
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  2. colby318

    colby318 got 'dottes?

    Jul 14, 2008
    Stamping Ground, KY
    Holy cow! Maybe switch to laying crumbles. (Mine won't touch pellets, ugh!) If she's the only one out of the group doing this, it's maybe not a general nutrition thing. I haven't heard of a hen laying TOO fast and that's what she's doing. It takes about 25 hours for an egg to form and she's shooting them out like a tennis ball machine. I'm going to subscribe to this post to see if anybody else knows how to slow down a hen's reproductive process.

    You're not adding artificial white light to supplement? Maybe if her daylight hours were shorter, it might shut down her body's need to lay.

    I'm also glad she's not prolapsing on you. That's a plus.

    Good luck!
    Colby in KY
  3. jlmann

    jlmann Songster

    Mar 3, 2009
    You should probably switch to a laying feed instead of a starter grower. If she doesn't seem to be eating the oyster shell the layer feed has extra calcium in it. Also I've seen some good recipes on here(BYC) for feeding yogurt mixed with (I think) rolled oats or bran - this might give her a calcium boost. There are also several recipes on here that involve cayenne pepper. I'm not sure of the science behind it but it seems like a lot of people give it to there birds to help with a lot of different things so maybe it would help? Good luck!
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I would make sure she has layer pellets. Raw dairy or yogurt treats with something like spinach as extra will boost her calcium absorption. Also dose her water with 1 tbsp Bragg's raw apple cider vinegar to a quart of fresh cold water.

    Give her 2 - 3 weeks to get herself fit and nutritionally competent to lay normal eggs.

    If the problems continue after that you are probably looking at a hen that genetic issues and may or may not ever lay normal eggs.

    The onset of laying jumbo eggs and multiple yolk eggs can be a result of an enviromental factor, a disease or simply a genetic defect in her.
  5. thebirdgirl

    thebirdgirl Chirping

    Apr 16, 2008
    Northeast, MA
    My turkey was having the same problem- she had been laying normal eggs for a couple of weeks after she started, then started laying 2-3 eggs a day that had no shells or very thin shells. I switched to layer pellets then added oyster shells to her food. After about a week she settled out and now lays one egg every day again. Good luck!
  6. Stef in Davis CA

    Stef in Davis CA In the Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Riverside, CA
    Thanks for the advice, yogurt is a great idea! I gave her yogurt with some shell, boiled egg and sesame mixed in this morning and she gobbled it up. They already get apple cider vinegar in their water, but I boosted the amount. Yes, she's the only one of the bunch doing this...and there's no artificial light (other than the red heat lamp that stopped a week ago). I'll get layer pellets this evening...I'm glad to hear the story of the turkey where this cleared up, hopefully mine goes this way too!
  7. I have button quail and the store bought oyster shell is way to big for them.. So I use an old coffee grinder and grind it up.. Some of it turns out to be like a powder. And I add it to their feed..

    Maybe you could grind some up and sneak it in her feed.. Or her treats.. A good way to sneak in some extra calcium..
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  8. pittypat

    pittypat Hatching

    Apr 9, 2009
    My red hen(born last June) did the same thing: double yoker jumbo eggs three days in a row, normal for her eggs a few days, 2 rubber eggs in the grape arbor area yesterday(may have missed one the day before-but was a shelled egg in the nest box from her as well-both days), 1 more rubber egg today by my back door:( She has been laying for several months regularly-1 egg a day.

    Feed: free ranged, oyster shell, layer pellets...

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