new hens/no eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nutmeg, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. nutmeg

    nutmeg Out Of The Brooder

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    I have two new hens. They are both a year old. I have had them almost two weeks now. One of them layed a good egg a few days after I got them and one of them is laying eggs about every 4 days with a very thin shell and they break right away.
    While I would like to have the eggs I am more worried about the well being of the chickens. Should I be concerned? Should I feed them something special? The breeder I got them from fed them an unusual diet They fed all their birds peanut butter sandwiches, shredded kale,cabbage and chopped up hard boiled eggs. That was their bedtime snack.

    At first I thought it was due to the stress of being moved and getting used to a new home. They seem to have adjusted just fine. They do free range so they may be laying somewhere and I have not found them yet.

    I am planning on fencing in a large portion of the yard for them so they can have the best of both, free range space and safety of the enclosure. I have half the fence up and will get the rest done this week. Hopefully that will narrow the search zone a little and I might find something.
    My other two hens are 16 weeks and not quite ready to lay yet.
    Should I be worried or just keep looking?
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    It could still be the stress of the move combined with hot weather, which also affects shell quality. I really think you need to get them a good quality layer feed as their main diet along with a few of the hardboiled eggs and kale they like. They need more calcium in hot weather and also, add some organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar to their water to increase calcium absorption. And plain active culture yogurt will help, too.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2007
  3. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC. If you question yourself about not finding any eggs you prolly need to look a little harder.
    The soft shell egg layer prolly is in need of oyster shells fed free choice in a seperate feeder. The hens will eat as much as they need to bring the calcium to a proper level. Saving your egg shells from the kitchen, rinsing them and letting them dry and then crushing into small pieces, also works in place of the oyster shells, they are almost 100% calcium and good for the flock. Good Luck.

    bigzio
     
  4. nutmeg

    nutmeg Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, I do feed them commercial feed. I give them a laying mash and what they call scratch at feed store. Plus they raid my garden for tomatoes and beans!! Gotta get that fence up!
    I will add the crushed egg shells for them or maybe just get some oyster shells to offer them.
    It has been quite warm here but no wheres near as warm as elsewhere, we're averaging in the 80's.
     
  5. JacobsRewardFarm

    JacobsRewardFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    I just watched my older BR lay a paper-thin-shelled egg, turn and start eating the yolk. I took it away from her and cleaned out the nest. It has been pretty hot here, until today (mid 80's today) but I think I'll add some oyster shell to their diet, just in case. She and the other chickens get an organic layer feed and free range all day. I have just started adding ACV to all the water buckets on the place (sheep, alpacas, donkeys, as well as the chickens) for the health benefits, and to dissuade mosquito larvae and algae.

    Also, I bought this chicken as an adult. Could the thin shell have anything to do with her age, for instance, if she's really old?

    Cindy T.
    Parker, TX

    edited to add: I've never seen an egg actually layed before - that was kind of cool!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2007
  6. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    Cindy, soft egg shells are caused by a lack of calcium in the diet. I would check the label to see if any calcium has been added to the feed. It is a important ingrediant for laying hens. Oyster shells given in a free choice feeder allows the hens needing the calcium the ability to consume what they need.
    Special treats high in protien are good for the flock. Dry cat food and black oil sunflower seeds do wonders, and the hens will love you for it!

    bigzio
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    There is another cause of softshelled eggs and that is extreme heat stress. I saw a study on it recently. Even if they're chowing down on oyster shell, heat stress increases the need for calcium and also makes it harder for them to absorb it. Add unfiltered organic Apple Cider Vinegar to their water, two or three tablespoons to a gallon (not in a metal waterer) and it will help with calcium absorption.
     
  8. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

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    Keep them on layer feed only and try what SpeckledHen suggested with the
    vinegar.

    GET RID OF THE SCRATCH. It's like candy to them. They will fill up on it and
    not eat enough of the layer feed they really need. My chickens love it but we
    only use it as a treat to hand feed them.
     
  9. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Scratch bring up their body temp because it is harder for them to diguest.
    Not a good idea to feed scratch in hot weather.
     
  10. JacobsRewardFarm

    JacobsRewardFarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, all. I will get the oyster shell going, keep up the ACV, try to keep her cooler, and see if we can't turn this around.
    God bless,
    Cindy T.
    Parker, TX

    PS - the hen's name is Mary. Her RIR buddy is Martha. They are good hard workers. ;-)

    [​IMG]
     

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