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Need help with thin shelled eggs

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by drjulian, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. drjulian

    drjulian Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 3 Pekin ducks which are 2 ½ years old. Up until now they have been excellent layers, each laying 1 egg per day with very few misses.

    Recently (last couple of days or so) they have all begun to lay broken eggs, to be more specific, the shells are so thin that they break from the ducks sitting on them.

    What is most frustrating, is that nothing has changed in the coop or run, and their diet is the same as it has always been (Layena pellets, occasional BOSS, available oyster shell and a handful of peas daily. Once in a great while watermelon rind and some veg scraps). In their run is a small pond with fish, mostly tilapia, and I have seen them eat an occasion frog. The water they drink is from the pond or from the fresh water feeder in their coop. They free-range in the run during the day and are closed in the coop at night as always. (We cannot free-range them without containment or they become hawk, bobcat or alligator food.)

    Of course I have read about thin shells being due to calcium deficiency, however, our soil her in FL is made up of crushed shells, and they are getting Layena which is high in calcium. I also sprinkling a bit of crushed calcium carbonate on their peas each day. So I am sure they are getting enough calcium. Up until now their shells have always been quite strong.

    Does anyone have any idea what may be happening here? Since it is effecting all of they at the same time, it sure seems like a diet issue but I am at a loss of what to change.
    BTW we have no vet here that has any knowledge of poultry, we are in a very rural area and cows, goats and horses are the common animals of choice. Their attitude is that chickens (and ducks) are disposable so no one ever brings them in for care.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  2. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is just a thought but maybe they are eating something that is blocking their calcium absorption. When I was doing research I read that spinach is bad for ducks because it inhibits their ability to absorb calcium. I don't know if there are other foods that have a similar effect. [​IMG]

    There are other factors that can lead to thin shells too like hot weather, overweight ducks, or they could be stressed. Is there anything that has happened or changed recently that would cause them to get stressed?
     
  3. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Try giving one of them an oral calcium supplement and see if that helps with her eggs. I use calcium gluconate from Tractor Supply from the cattle section and give about 50 mg per pound orally once a day for a few days.

    [​IMG]

    Refrigerate after opening.

    -Kathy
     
  4. drjulian

    drjulian Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your reply.

    I give them some of this sprinkled on their peas just about daily. Is the liquid better?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  5. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Something like that is fine if you can be sure they're getting enough of it. Do you have a kitchen or postal scale?

    -Kathy
     
  6. drjulian

    drjulian Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your reply.

    I do not give them spinach. The vegetable scraps they get include tomatoes, bell peppers, and corn.

    Regarding the stress question, actually yes there was a recent stress:

    About 2 weeks ago the ducks starting laying in areas other then their nesting box. I set up a camera in the nest box and that night discovered a nearly 6' rat snake which actually swallowed a porcelain nest egg (pictured below with the egg in its throat).

    I killed the snake and cleaned out the next box. After a day or two they began laying in the nest again and the eggs were normal. Then there were a couple of days with no eggs and now the eggs are so thin they break as they are laid.

    Do you think the stress was a delayed reaction? Since they went back to the nest shortly afterward and were laying normally, I figured they were over the snake incident.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  7. drjulian

    drjulian Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes. and also the powder comes with a scoop and I put one scoop on their peas about 3 or 4 times a week and they eat every drop ( I was concerned about putting too much or too often as our soil is very high in crushed sea shells and they dig in the soil all day long).

    The three eat out of the same bowl so it is hard to say if they each get 1/3 of the powder, but I would think if one is getting more then the others, the problem would not effect them all at the same time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2015
  8. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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    Lol, I hope you got your porcelain egg back! [​IMG]

    -Kathy
     
  9. casportpony

    casportpony Team Tube Feeding Captain & Poop Inspector General Premium Member

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  10. lomine

    lomine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could also try some vitamin supplements. They will help the ducks better absorb additional calcium.

    Oh my, an egg-stealing snake would defiantly be stressful. I don't know if it might be a delayed reaction; I have no personal experience just knowledge from research. You said there were a couple of days with no eggs. Could there be another snake or something else taking the eggs?
     

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