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My hen has an egg problem that is getting worse and weirder by the day! Please share your advise if

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SesameChicken10, Jan 13, 2015.

  1. SesameChicken10

    SesameChicken10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    !!! My sweet little hen is in distress and I cannot find the answer to help her!!! My 15 month old Americauna hen has been laying a normal egg each day since last April. In the last 6 weeks her egg laying days are spread out and now all but one are soft shelled and at least 3 have had the white tube attached on the end. Her diet has not changed with the exception of calcium powder this week and her environment has not either.
    She has consistent access of the following: Egg layers mash, oyster shell, mixed millet seeds, dried and live meal worms, crickets, earthworms, shredded fish canned cat food, shredded cheese, grass, alfalfa, backyard bugs, pea gravel, shaved coconut hulls for bedding and fresh water
    Treats include: shredded beef, cooked rice, raw oatmeal, dry cereal, grapes, raisins, and more
    She is not a fan of: sweet things, most fruit, most veggies, tries a lot of what we eat and loses interest
    She goes outside with our company but lives indoors with us. Seriously, we remodeled our whole upstairs in June to accommodate her needs.
    I just went and purchased a UVA reptile bulb to set up near her house and some bird vita-drops with vitamin D to try when I get home tonight. My mom checked Sesame an hour ago and reported that she was standing on her nest and no egg in sight. She recently cuddled with her for a while and Sesame insists on sitting on the floor outside her house. I'm really worried that whatever is wrong is not reversible.
     
  2. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry, don't know, but I'll be watching this thread to learn from others.

    The only chicken we have had that had problems with eggshells was also an Ameracauna. The first several months of her life, she laid normal eggs with normal eggshells. Then the shells became thin and stayed that way. Eventually she stopped laying eggs altogether. She never laid a soft shelled or shell-less egg, only thin shelled. The only thing that helped a little (for a while), was to mix in some of her feed with yogurt or kefir. I don't know if she wasn't eating the oyster shell (we didn't feed layer feed, only grower with oyster shell on the side). Someone said she may have a genetic defect in her ability to absorb calcium from her diet. That made sense to me. I don't know if the calcium in fermented dairy is more bio-available or if she just actually ate more of it. Occasionally we did feed layer feed and that would help a little bit, but the shells were still pretty darn thin.
     
  3. SesameChicken10

    SesameChicken10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for the info that you have. I'm just hoping that she pulls out of this and stops laying anything at all if she can't be healthy and comfortable. She literally is one of our family members and we will all be devastated if something happens to her. She naps with us on the couch and lays her eggs in my son's closet. My teenage boys do their homework with her in their lap or on the back of the desk chair. She eats with us and goes with us in the car to run errands. She takes baths in our bathroom sink and roosts next to our cat and our dog for company. Everyone lets her have her way without a fuss. I just hope this is a phase that will pass quickly.
     
  4. justplainbatty

    justplainbatty Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow! You do spoil your girl! Seriously though, the list of things she has consistent access to is astounding and all those treats on top of it all is mind blowing! For every item she eats instead of layer feed and oyster, lowers the amount of digestible calcium she is getting. The layer feed also contains other minerals/ trace elements she needs to be able to absorb the calcium. Take away all the people and cat food and pick one "special" per day. It doesn't sound like she free ranges too much so that alone shouldn't bother her diet much. She has got to eat the chicken version of a balanced diet, don't feel bad cuz she won't. A lot of the treats you listed are good for certain things at different times for example, meal worms during molt for extra protein, yogurt for intestinal health,etc. Even if you cut back on all the extras, you are still spoiling your hen rotten if she has her own room in the house and a different treat every day of the week! And that is a wonderful thing![​IMG] [​IMG] and keep posting/updating! P.S I want a house chicken too but my hubby said no even with a diaper-no. So I am jealous!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, we all adore people who spoil their chickens as much as we do. Of course, chickens are such splendid creatures, they really do deserve it.

    Now, I have one question. Are you, by any chance, mixing the oyster shell, and lately the calcium powder, in with the layer feed she eats? If you have, it's possible that she could be suffering from a calcium imbalance. Oyster shell and calcium supplements should definitely not be mixed in with her feed.

    And I totally agree that it's possible that the over-indulgence of special treats has displaced the important nutrients she needs from eating a balanced feed. You do need to cut back considerably on extras.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I would think that taking her back to nothing but a basic balanced chicken feed and very little else might tell the tale.
    Agrees the calcium should only be either in a layer feed and/or oyster shell always available in a separate container.

    All those other foods could have her system way out of whack...might be a "killing them with 'kindness'" type situation.
    It would be hard to ascertain which of the plethora of food items might be causing problems because there are so many of them.

    One thing I don't see listed is the availability of grit...a good crushed granite grit...pea gravel is too rounded to act as a good grit I think.
    Another thing, what do her droppings look like? If the eyes are the window to the soul, the poops are the window to the body.
     
  7. SesameChicken10

    SesameChicken10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you for responding! I will cut back on her readily available treats and supply just her chicken basics while we are not home. I have her confined in her 55 gallon tank today and she is sulking a little on her perch under her lamp. She did drink water for me and had some vitamin drops before I left for work. She is getting covered in pin feathers and may be going through an unusual winter molt because she is an indoor hen with constant "68' weather". Thankfully she doesn't have any stressful breathing or raspy sounds so I'm not thinking she contracted something from a visit to Coastal Farms.
     
  8. SesameChicken10

    SesameChicken10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh, I agree about watching poop for problems and yes there has been a change. She usually has 7-8 fluffy dark green and white poops and then 2 cecal poops. This is a routine schedule for her and I probably pay way too much attention but that is how we gauge when we take her in the car or have a nap with her. We like to have her somewhere appropriate when she passes her cecal because of the smell and runny consistency :) The fluffy poop is no big deal to us and cleans up with 409 and a paper towel. When she is getting ready to lay a rubber egg, her green and white poop gets tiny and slightly runny. No cecal is passing since day before yesterday. That really worries me. I will make sure that she cuts back on extras and probably go get a fresh 4 lb bag of layer food just because another brand may be more appealing to her than the Purina she has now.
    She is not at all afraid to lay her eggs in front of us and we feel bad when she squeals and strains to pass one. Her last egg was on the back of the couch instead of in her closet nest she chose to use since last year. I petted her back and wiped off her hiney while she passed the liquid that came out behind the rubber egg. She rubbed her face on my hand and sat down to rest. The egg before was in front of our living room TV and she just walked off like it didn't happen. She went over and got in my son's lap. She has never been a fan of her eggs and quietly walks back to her tank to eat and pretend that she was never in the closet.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Good that you have.... ahem..... 'control of her bowels'....lol.... since she's in the house.
    I gotta wonder if she's stressed, tho she may not seem so, from living such a strange life for a chicken(no flock mates, in a house with people) but here'snot many who do that to compare it to.

    What about granite grit?

    Trip to Coastal Farms? Was she exposed to other chickens?

    What ever balanced chicken feed you start giving her now, keep it simple and consistent for 2-3 weeks to let her adjust fully to a more normal(for a chicken) diet.
     
  10. SesameChicken10

    SesameChicken10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't take her in Coastal when they are selling animals and I never put her on the floor. Same with when we go to Home Depot and any place that allows dogs. She is carried backwards like a football under my arm and peeks out from under my sleeve. She is an awesome accessory with her fluffy butt and green legs dangling next to my purse. I am careful about what she gets into on the counters when we check out since she loves to throw things on the floor and go through the "impulse buy" display near by. She gets treats at drive through windows but not enough to hamper her appetite and she does not like most things that are fried. Her diet is most likely the culprit and I will make sure she is regimented properly.
     

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