Hens brooding & not eating oyster shell

Debbie10

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
6
0
7
I have 38 hens and 9 out of those 38 are constantly staying in the nest. We have to pick them up to get the eggs from under them.We even have 2 at a time in one nest although we have 18 nest in the coop. Also, they are not eating the grit & oyster shell like they need to be. I put it in with their food and in separate dishes. I am getting soft shell eggs & yesterday I actually got an egg That had only the film around the yolk. Any suggestions?
 

liz9910

Crowing
7 Years
Apr 8, 2012
12,404
563
386
Northern California
Welcome to BYC! The hens that stay in the nest are considered "broody" and this is a hormonal thing where they want to hatch chicks. The only way to break them of sitting is to put them in a wire cage with food and water for a few days (no bedding). They will go back to laying eggs. If you only have hens I would feed them layer feed, which has calcium in it already. Another reason for soft shelled eggs could be that they need to be wormed. Good luck to you. https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/maintaining-a-healthy-flock you should check out this forum, lots of helpful information. :)
 

Debbie10

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 23, 2013
6
0
7
Thanks for your response. We do worm them as needed by the directions on the bottle. I give them pellets & crumbles mix together with the oyster shell & the grit. I also put it in separate dishes for them.
 

TwoCrows

A Native Raven
Staff member
Premium member
9 Years
Mar 21, 2011
41,046
62,300
1,492
New Mexico, USA
My Coop
My Coop


Welcome to BYC!

Sounds like they are broody and broodies don't eat well. Are these birds free ranging? If they are, they may not be eating enough of their layer feed. If they are filling up on other things and not getting enough calcium in the layer feed, this will cause soft and shell less eggs. So make sure their feed is the main stay of their diet. Between the layer feed (and make sure you are feeding layer and not flock raiser) and oystershell on the side, they should be getting enough calcium to put the shell on.

You can also post this in our Behavior and Egg Laying Forums if you continue to have issues...

https://www.backyardchickens.com/f/18/chicken-behaviors-and-egglaying

I hope you can get this solved soon.
 
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