Hens losing feathers, laying thinly shelled eggs

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Kenniem37, Jun 14, 2019.

  1. Kenniem37

    Kenniem37 In the Brooder

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    May 4, 2018
    Arizona
    9F591B3E-62FC-4569-90EC-0EA9020FC63A.jpeg 5DA260B1-4622-45AC-BF9F-E962EE028FB2.jpeg 81C45B6A-FF58-4B0A-9660-11481917BB64.jpeg BB2C3901-CEB8-4E06-8AEE-38F6ED797308.jpeg 0E2B7E9B-C1F2-4722-A56F-6BB96D4C1CFE.jpeg B2829E9E-3CFE-4967-9AEC-D7C69346E9CC.jpeg Hello all!!
    For the past week we have noticed 3 of our 4 hens (18 month or a little older Rhode Island Red, golden laced Wyandotte, Minorca, and Easter Egger) have feathers that were thinning out. The fourth (Minorca) has not changed in her appearance at all. I also noticed one hen was eating the eggs after she laid them (Minorca) We immediately started to add oyster shell calcium to the feed instead of just throwing it down in the run and within two days that behavior stopped and has not returned. We have been inspecting each bird for lice or mites daily and see no sign of it. We have always used diatomaceous earth in their dust bath, coop, run, etc. since they were babies. As I mentioned before the Black Minorca mix has not lost any feathers at all. All four are laying still but today, our golden laced Wyandotte laid an oddly shaped egg with a sunshine design and paper thin shell. I’m assuming the feathers and now the change in egg are related to a nutritional deficiency. We feed them purina organic layer pellets. Last week I started giving them more millworms to add protein. No change in poop has been identified at this point. Does anyone have any suggestions or any idea what’s wrong with my girls?
     
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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Great Horny Toads

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    Flat sided eggs can be from a glitch or even a slight respiratory problem.

    Brittle shells can be from a calcium deficiency, from warmer weather or ACV in the water, both can interfere with a hens use of available calcium. It can also be from a respiratory problem.

    Most birds this time of year are losing feathers. Some are just old feathers, others are lost to lighten up the coat. It is quite normal.

    You should always have a separate bowl of oyster shells for the calcium needs. Hens will consume it as needed.

    DE is a respiratory irritant, and kills good bugs. It really doesn't do much for mites and lice on birds.
     
  3. Kenniem37

    Kenniem37 In the Brooder

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    Wow!!! Thank you for that information. I use to give ACV very regularly to the birds but recently I have stopped. That could be part of the issue. I will definitely leave a bowl of calcium for them. I had heard that if you scatter it on the ground they will consume as needed but I panicked when I saw the bird eating the eggs and putting it in the food suddenly made sense to me but I won’t continue doing that. What are the symptoms I should look for with a respiratory issue?
     
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  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Great Horny Toads

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    You may hear rattling or wheezing when they breathe. They may sneeze more often.

    I had a pullet lay eggs like yours for about 2 months before it stopped.

    Sometimes egg eating can be from a protein deficiency as well as a calcium deficiency. I personally prefer to feed a non medicated starter grower or an All Flock ration that has 18% protein. Sometimes the 16% protein in a layer ration can leave them deficient, especially if extras are fed.
     
  5. Kathy Golla

    Kathy Golla Crowing

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    Have you raised hens before in AZ?
    Do you live in a hot part of AZ?
    If it’s these hens’ first summer as non pullets, heat could be a factor in what you are seeing.
     
  6. cottagecheese

    cottagecheese Songster

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    ACV actually enhances the absorption of calcium, it is advisable to add one tablespoon per gallon of water when you get thin shelled eggs. Unpasteurized ACV is a source of probiotics too and it's a lucky thing the raw, unpasteurized brands are usually organic too, because apples are near the top of the list of the 'dirtiest' (containing pesticide residue) produce.
    https://www.fresheggsdaily.com/2014/04/soft-shelled-or-rubber-eggs-causes-and.html

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10380633

    Vinegar is known to increase iron absorption, it only makes sense that it would increase the absorption of calcium too, since they are both metals, behaving similarly.
    You could give them some cottage cheese :love or other types of cheese for more calcium and protein, turns out their problem is with lactose, not dairy in general, and the above mentioned do not contain lactose, so it's ok to feed them in reasonable amounts. http://www.exoticpetvet.net/

    ETA: Just noticed you're feeding layer pellets, then please be careful with the calcium because too much of it can lead to gout.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
  7. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Enabler

    I'm in AZ. also, and I got my first egg today that didn't seem to have a shell at all on it. It held together so that I could carefully pick it up, but the outside was like a thick inner skin of a shell that was very opaque.
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Great Horny Toads

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    From my reading ACV interferes with calcium absorption during warmer weather. Electrolytes are a better option.
     
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  9. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Great Horny Toads

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    That's an egg without a shell. It happens occasionally, generally as hens are starting up or shutting down in production. The egg comes out before the shell can be applied. Generally it's caused by stress and resolves itself over time.
     
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  10. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Enabler

    Thank's! She's a pullet that only started laying egg's maybe a month ago. I've never had one do that before, though.
     
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