laying issues already in 8 month old Red Stars??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tbmorgan, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. tbmorgan

    tbmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 22, 2013
    Hi All,

    I'm a little worried about 2 of my sweet girls. I have 3 Red Star pullets that I got as day-old chicks, and they are now 8 months old. They started laying at 18-19 weeks and were ultra-productive from the get-go, laying daily and their eggs quickly reached a very large size. Now this week, I have noticed first one, then a second, of my girls acting funny. In the evenings, when I go outside to make sure everyone's in bed and close up the coop, I noticed one of my girls sitting in the nest box instead of being on the perch with the others. It is already pitch dark outside by the time she does this. She has done this 3 days in a row now. Then last night, I noticed another one sitting in the corner of the coop, on the floor (it is bedded in pine shavings, btw.) She was right up by the door, so I petted her and asked her what was the matter, why wasn't she roosting with her buddies? She got up and waddled off when I petted her, and where she was sitting, there was a wet mess of egg with no shell. It was glopped all over her backside, too. The other one laid a very soft-shelled egg after she got back on her perch, as it was directly under where she was sitting. I have 5 other hens (one more RS and 4 Australorps) and none of them seem to have any problems. They free-range all day in my horse pastures, and also get Purina Flock Raiser crumbles and free-choice oyster shell, and fresh water daily.
    Do Red Stars have repro issues this young in life? Or is this because they haven't worked out all the kinks in the egg factory yet? I know that oddball eggs happen....I'm mainly concerned because they seem to be struggling with this at a very odd time of the day (or night, rather) and because of the gunky mess I found last night. They act perfectly fine otherwise....

    thanks!
    Katja
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    ime, Red Stars and all the commercial layers do seem to be overly prone to reproductive problems compared to the average chicken. Hopefully yours are still just working the kinks out of their system. Soft shelled eggs or odd eggs don't run through the system right so they wind up trying to lay them at odd times of day and will walk around for hours doing odd contortions before they manage to pass them. I would check them over to see if the vents look clear and that there isn't anything hanging out if the soft egg broke inside.
     
  3. tbmorgan

    tbmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, my little red girl who laid the puddle of glop the other night did it again last night. At least, I'm assuming it was her. This morning, there was a puddle of yolk and goop in the same front corner of the coop where she was laying the other night. I looked her over and she looked fine. I am a bit concerned, though.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hope your girl is OK. Do you know if she has laid any regular eggs since the puddle? Do they seem happy and healthy otherwise? No signs of illness? Do you have them under lights?
     
  5. tbmorgan

    tbmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, my girls are not under lights. They stay out all day and put themselves to bed at dusk, and then I go out and do a head count and shut their door. I looked at all of the red girls' bottoms this morning to see if I could tell who it was, but they all looked good and they are all acting perfectly normal. I think tonight I will take the one I think is laying the puddles and bring her inside for a couple of days and see what she does.
     
  6. LazyOakes

    LazyOakes Out Of The Brooder

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    My first chickens were red sex links (RIR x white rock). They were all great layers the first year, but started having problems their second year with soft or no shells, reduced laying, and most recently, I had to put one down after she prolapsed again. The vet suspected that she had significant reproductive issues and would never be able to lay normally again.

    I have spent a great amount of effort trying to diagnose my ladies' laying issues. Consider things like their calcium and protein intake. I have found that giving them some game bird feed, cat food, or scrambled eggs for a few days really helps them. Laying so early and so often is hard on their bodies, a large amount of what they consume is used primarily for egg formation. If they are stressed, or eat a large number of treats for instance, they may need additional protein or other supplementation. I am not planning on using supplemental light this winter, as I want my hens to take a break in production and give their bodies a rest.

    Also, read up about different parasites, such as lice and worms, and make sure you aren't dealing with that.

    I have found a lot of information here about various supplements, fermented feed, sprouted grains, etc, and am still experimenting to find the best feeding strategy for my hens. For them, even a good quality, organic feed, doesn't seem to give them optimum health.

    In my mind, persistent egg issues are a strong indicator that something is wrong, and should not be ignored. I have learned the hard way that chickens are very good at hiding health problems. If you start noticing behavior changes, you often have a significant problem on your hands. Unfortunately, finding the root cause of the problem is not always straight forward. It is so hard to know that something is wrong, and not be able to fix it, especially with our very first chickens. Hang in there, and good luck with your ladies.
     
  7. bucky52

    bucky52 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Redstars was my first hens.i started with three in 2010.I have one left.the other two my Dh had to put down.just keep a eye on her.If she starts to fill with fluid.than you may have a problems.
     
  8. tbmorgan

    tbmorgan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, after being away at work all day, I checked the nest boxes when I got home and there were 7 normal eggs, which means that everyone laid an egg today. However, this evening, Konstanze (the one that has been laying the puddles this week) is separate from the rest of the flock and acting "off." Everyone else is happily scratching away in the front paddock, and she's all by herself in the front yard, kind of poofed up, and she has a slight off-white, creamy discharge from her cloaca. Anyone have any insight?
     

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