My hen is acting strangely after laying a soft shelled egg

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TMBIndy, Sep 17, 2016.

  1. TMBIndy

    TMBIndy New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2016
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    I have a 25 week old black Australorp.
    She was acting like she needed to lay an egg. She was not in a nesting box but in the corner of the run. My first thought was that she may be egg bound.
    When I was in the house getting gloves, warm water etc. she had laid the egg. It was a soft shelled egg.
    All my other hens that have just started laying, their eggs are fine. I leave out eggshells and oyster shells for them to eat at their convenience. Will she know to eat them if she needs more calcium? How can I get her to lay hard shelled eggs? She also acted very tired and rested a while after she laid the soft shelled egg but appears to be fine right now. Is that normal?
     
  2. Lady Grey

    Lady Grey Out Of The Brooder

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    Following.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I've seen several pullets lay softies, they often act very strange before the eggs come out.....
    ......then go back to normal activity pretty quickly. It must feel strange.

    I'd not panic and rush to 'treat', but observe, hard to do at first until you get more experience under your belt..
    Softies are not at all uncommon in the first month or so of laying.
    Many birds rest for a time after laying any egg, so not unusual at all.

    How long has this bird been laying?
    What and how exactly are you feeding?
     
  4. TMBIndy

    TMBIndy New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2016
    Indiana
    I have 10 hens and they're all about 25 weeks old now. I have been getting 5 to 7 eggs a day. I am still not sure which ones are laying. Last week I found two soft shelled eggs but not sure who laid those either. I did read that it is common when they first start laying that they could be soft shelled.
    I feed them Purena layer crumble which is available to them 24/7. I was told that that was a good feed. I also leave out oyster shells and crushed eggshells in separate bowls for them to eat at their desire. In the mornings I always throw out a handful of mealworms,a handful of oats, and toast. I also give them a treat at least once a day (mid-day) of fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables like watermelon, spinach, corn, peas, grapes and a handful of mixed dried fruit and nuts. The snack depends on what I have and what the weather is like.
    It is hard to catch which ones are laying because they usually lay while I'm at work. When I come home for lunch that's when I find my treasures. [​IMG][​IMG]
    Will she start laying in the nesting boxes like the others once she starts laying harder eggs?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It can take up to a month or so for things to smooth out with new layers.
    Meanwhile, eggs everywhere, some of them can be rather funky looking, soft or thin shelled, huge double yolked eggs.

    If you really want to know who is laying ans who is not, you can check the vent and/or spacing of the pelvic points.
    I usually grab them off the roost at night to do this, much easier to get a hold of them then.

    Vent:
    Dry, tight, and smaller - usually not laying.
    Moist, wide, and larger - usually laying

    Pelvic Points 2 bony points(pelvic bones) on either side of vent:
    Less than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means not laying.
    More than 2 fingertip widths apart usually means laying.


    This has anything to do with the soft shells, but if you want to feed all those other foods, you might consider going to a higher protein crumble.

    I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
     
  6. TMBIndy

    TMBIndy New Egg

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    Apr 7, 2016
    Indiana
    Thank you very much for your reply. All the information you have given is extremely helpful.
    So my snack giving maybe throwing off the calcium level in the feed even if it's all healthy snacks? Interesting!
    If I switch my feed to a higher protein feed, will the girls know to eat the oyster shells and the crushed eggshells? Should I not give them snacks every day like I have been? They really do enjoy them!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    The issue with giving too many 'snacks' is they may not eat enough formulated feed,
    which contains vitamins and minerals essential to assimilating nutrient uptake, especially calcium.
    It also dilutes the protein intake, which is usually a minimum(16%) for egg production and overall health.
    A pretty general rule of thumb is to keep 'snacks/treats' at 10% of the volume of regular feed consumed daily.
    Yes, they will most likely have no problem eating the oyster shells/eggshells...I mix the 2 shells together so they get some of each.
     

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