no-shell eggs

Discussion in 'Quail' started by USAmma, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. USAmma

    USAmma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have young-ish hens laying lots of eggs for our consumption. With 17 hens I am getting between 12 and 15 eggs per day.

    About every day to every other day I get one egg with no shell on it being produced. My girls get high quality feed with enough protein, and I am also giving them calcium supplement and green leafy veggies and mealworms and other stuff to snack on. They seem fat and healthy. I am wondering if I just have one defective hen, or if they are still lacking in something in their diet. Today I got a soft-shelled egg with a tiny hard-shelled egg inside.

    Below is a photo of the tiny egg that was inside the clear egg. Next to a normal egg for size comparison.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Hens that lay shell less eggs can be suffering from several things.

    First thing is keep your protein levels below 28%. Higher than this can stress young layers and cause them to release large yolks too quickly and if the hen is having trouble with calcium conversion, she is going to lay eggs without shells.

    Next. go easy on the treats and goodies. While they very healthy to feed, give them only once a day a one at a time. You don't want them filling up on other things when they should be eating a balanced diet.

    On this note, calcium can only be converted in the body when the magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin D are in the correct balance. Hence, they need to eat their gamebird food. So go easy on the goodies. Once a day, tiny amounts. Over eating can also cause yolks to be released quicker than necessary. There are supplements out there that contain the exact amounts of these minerals for good egg laying.

    Next, make sure to offer up crushed oyster shell at all times. And sometimes they need another type of calcium. Try offering up cuttlebone fish. They sell those in the bird sections of pet supplies. It is a very easy calcium to break down in the system.

    Next, the hen could have a defective shell gland. Not common, but it does happen. Virus's or bacterial infections can also cause hens to lay eggs without the shell.

    If this hen continues to lay shell less eggs after you have done all you can, watch her. Eventually a shell less egg is going to kill her.
     
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  3. USAmma

    USAmma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    THanks for the tips and advice! So less treats, that's easy. They don't seem to like the oyster shell at all. I have tried both mixing the crumbles into the food, and even pulverizing the crumbles to a powder before mixing it in. Then they are picky with the food and it doesn't go as fast. I will try the cuttle bone fish and see if they like that better. Do I break it into pieces or will they peck at the big shell?

    If that doesn't work maybe I need to see about adding calcium to their water somehow.

    I lost a parakeet to egg-binding and it was an awful thing. :-( I had her put to sleep because it was too late to save her by the time I discovered it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Do you only keep females? If so, you can purchase powdered cuttle bone powder on line. Then you just shake it over the feed each day. If you keep males, then you would not want to do this for them. I used this on a chicken hen that had horrible troubles with laying yolks only too. And it helped her out greatly.


    [​IMG]

    If you keep males, you can use cuttle bone whole. What I do is break it in half and I just leave it next to the crushed oyster shell. But cuttle bones come with a wire hanger inside the box. And you can attach it to the pen wall/wire. They will gnaw on them as they need the calcium.
     
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Gnawing on cuttle bone also keeps beaks trimmed down too.
     
  6. USAmma

    USAmma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much! I will get both the cuttlebone and the cuttlebone powdered product and try it.
     
  7. USAmma

    USAmma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks again. I made the changes to their diet and added calcium to their water. I also wonder if having them in the garage the last 2 weeks due to inclement weather was messing with them making Vitamin D properly. I have them outside again (made changes to the coop to withstand weather changes) and they are all laying nicely. No more membrane-only eggs and the shells seem harder, and the quail are happier, too.
     

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