hen not processing calcium correctly?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by technodoll, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For the past week or so, one of my sexlink hens has been laying a thin-shelled, rough-like-sandpaper egg.

    That must be OUCH to push out! [​IMG]

    I don't know which girl it is, could this be a sign of ill-health?

    All has been fine until now... the only change in diet has been no more free-ranging since the ground is frozen and covered in snow and ice.

    All other 7 laying hens in the coop have perfect, smooth, hard-shelled eggs and they all share the same food.

    Any ideas what could be wrong?

    Thank you!
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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  3. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's an excellent link, thank you!

    I can't find an explanation for thin-shelled sandpapery eggs though...

    All hens are healthy and get a balanced diet, there has been no disruption or stress in their lives besides the colder temperatures and absence of free-ranging the past week or so...

    The only incident that I can think of that might have set this off was adding crushed oyster shell to their food one day. The strange eggs have been there ever since, even though the oyster shell has not. It's only one hen that is having this issue.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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  5. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

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    Whe I get soft shell, I feed A D & E and try to get then more sun light
     
  6. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    You probably already do this, but I'll mention ACV here.

    ACV helps with calcium uptake by balancing body PH. But you probably already know & do it now... so, in that case, you could add a little extra ACV for a couple of days or so - maybe to their daily treat -- and see if it makes any difference. And, vit. D (the sunshine vitamin) is vital for calcium absorption, too, so adding a tiny bit of cod liver oil, once a week, isn't bad for those of us who have very short days right now.

    Occasionally, I'll get a partial sandpaper shell and think apologetic thoughts for the girl, too! So far, there have only been 3 eggs like that this winter - from different hens each time.

    Good luck!

    ETA: some links I found while googling this subject just now:
    section called "Rough shells"
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/articles/979/maintaining-egg-shell-quality

    section called "Texture"
    http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ps020

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=126542
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  7. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I checked the causes for sandpapery shells:

    AFAIK there are no health issues, no disturbances (stress) or disruptions in the amount of light the flock gets and no water shortage... As I said, it's only affecting one hen and only since the past 10 days (more or less).

    The shells are not soft, they are just very thin and brittle.

    I add a good swig of organic ACV to the flock's water container, which holds about 3 gallons - should I add more?

    I can get some Vit D or Cod Liver Oil and add to their morning breakfast, how much should I use for 13 birds (the ones in the main coop)?

    Since the issue is only with one hen, should I just wait and see?

    I just wouldn't want one of my girls to be ill and ignore it, if the change in egg shell would be an indication of anything...

    Signed,

    Concerned Mama [​IMG]
     
  8. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Seattle
    Quote:You're a good mom! [​IMG]

    About all the kids...I would not worry giving everyone the CLO or vit D dosage, for now. I do it once a week to my whole flock (of 5, LOL). Normal ACV to water ratio is 1 T. to 1 Gallon. You could add another teaspoon or two ACV to their treat. Won't hurt.

    The individual hen could be taken aside and fed some some yogurt with a crushed tums. I just wouldn't make that a regular thing, because it's a lot of calcium. But she might need an extra "bump" of calcium right now, though.

    Check out one of the links I added to my previous post. Says the "pimples" of calcium on shells isn't a disease - it could be hereditary. ??

    Anyway, lots of good thoughts for you & your hen! I'm sure she'll be fine soon. [​IMG]

    ETA: I omitted to say, once a week I give my 5 1 teaspoon of plain CLO mixed into their treat.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
  9. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks so much!

    I wish I knew WHICH girl was laying those eggs, so I could isolate her and feed her a different diet to see if's related to nutrition.

    But darn it, when I go in the coop the eggs are there in the nesting boxes, no culprit in sight [​IMG]

    I was worried it was too much calcium, could it be too little?

    All other hens lay perfect thick-shelled eggs so I'm afraid to mess with anything...

    Oh, why do they do this to us!

    Worry worry worry! LOL!
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Could be that she is not eating the calcium. I have one Delaware hen who was laying softshelled eggs constantly. To counteract her refusal to eat the limestone calcium, I would dissolve one of my own 600 mg calcium tablets into a pan of oatmeal so she had to eat it. That seemed to do the trick for her.
     

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