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Odd egg laying hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Lauren13, Aug 11, 2013.

  1. Lauren13

    Lauren13 Hatching

    Aug 11, 2013
    I bought my first ever hens 5 weeks ago, they are brown hybrids and started laying at 19weeks old. At first we got a few good eggs here and there and then very rarely we'd get a completly un-formed runny one. After a few weeks we got into a good cycle with 3 eggs a day but now they have gone a bit funny, not always laying in nest box, sometimes in the coop, others hidden in the pen. Also we have been getting maybe only 2 eggs a day and 1 tends to be runny and twisted shell. Not sure which one is laying and who isnt. we have given them some grit but the farm we bought them from said they shouldnt need it until they are older. Any suggestions?
  2. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    What are they being fed. The grit advice seems a bit strange so wondering what they advised you to feed them and if they are getting enough calcium.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member Premium Member 7 Years

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Odd eggs and soft shelled are more common with young layers, but can also be the result of incorrect feeding (usually not enough calcium in their diet), in some cases the hen may have a problem absorbing calcium from her feed, parasites such as worms can cause soft eggs and other egg problems, as can stress or certain diseases. Before we get to deeply into that though, can you tell me a bit more about your hens and their management? What are you feeding them? Are they getting layer feed, or at least some kind of calcium supplement such as crushed oystershells? Have you checked them for parasites such as worms (there may be signs in their droppings), or mites? Is there anything that you're aware of that may be stressing them, like a dog?

    Their habit of laying eggs everywhere but where you want them to may be solved by placing some fake eggs or golf balls in their nest boxes. To "show" them where you want them to lay. Also making the nest box semi-dark inside (some people found it helps to hang little curtains over the front of the box) and making the box somewhat more private helps too. Hens would naturally lay with brooding and chicks in mind, so providing a spot where they feel safe, secure and undisturbed is ideal.

    About the grit: if you feed a chicken, even a small chick, anything other than it's usual chicken feed, things like treats for example, they will need some grit to help them break down the food. If your chickens are free ranging, however, they should be able to get enough roughage from the soil and picking up small stones etc and won't need any supplemented grit. It wouldn't hurt to offer them some in a bowl somewhere near the coop just in case, if you are unsure. They will help themselves if they feel they need it.
  4. Lauren13

    Lauren13 Hatching

    Aug 11, 2013
    Hello! thanks for your reply, I feed them Layers Pellets, and in the late afternoon i let them free range for about 30mins - 1hr. Then once i put them back into their pen i give them corn/seed mix which they love. Ive given them all varietys of scraps that chickens are supposed to love, they fight over it, peck a bit and they quickly loose interest so i've stopped experimenting with that.

    havent fed them oyster shells but did give them grit mixed in with their pellets but it all sunk to the bottom so i stopped that. But since the eggs have been funny we've put a bit by their feeder.

    i havent checked the chickens for mites or parasites yet, ive sprinkled the coop with a bit of red mite powder just as prevention but havnt seen any signs of any un-wanted guests. Also not seen any signs of worms in their droppings but i should have a better look from now.

    we did leave one of their first layed eggs in their nest at the begining and that certainly helped encourage them to lay in their, but the habits stopped. i think maybe one chicken hasnt got the hang of it all and they just copy one another, for example the other day i got 2 good eggs in the morning, in the nest boxes, then in the afternoon their was 2 runny eggs and 1 hard all in a circle in the pen. As if 1 hen layed and the others felt they had to too so just layed un-finished eggs. That all happened the day after a thunderstorm, so maybe this unsettled them but that was over a week ago now.

    They all seem nice and healthy though, one day Sally was not well and not running around like normal, stayed in the coop with her back feathers up and the next day there was a running egg in the coop and she was fine again.
  5. Lauren13

    Lauren13 Hatching

    Aug 11, 2013
    Just feed them layers pellets, they free range for 30mins - 1hr in the arvo so get some nice grass and bugs and then i give them some corn.

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