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OE shell quality problem

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by iLikeMineFried, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. iLikeMineFried

    iLikeMineFried Chirping

    Jun 29, 2016
    Northern Wisconsin
    My OE will be a year old this July, so she's still young. She started out laying just fine, and her two sisters are doing great. This one is very flighty and cautious and has been having egg shell issues. It started 2 months ago when she laid a huge double yolker. Ever since her eggs have been thin shelled but rough like sandpaper, and ranging from white to dark brown with inconsistent coloration. Will she grow out of this, or does she have a defective shell gland? I have also found a few shell less eggs under the roost from her, and her eggs have a lot of meat spots in them. We feed all flock feed and have a large dish of oyster shells in the coop. I see her eating them all the time, so I know she's getting plenty of calcium. Any suggestions?

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    When I have a problem like this, I try to determine if it is a flock issue or an individual hen issue. Since the other two are doing fine, this sounds like an individual hen issue. They prove you are not doing anything wrong.

    The egg spends most of its time in the shell gland. First the shell is put on, then the last bit a coat of brown is put on over the shell. This probably explains the varying shell color. If the egg is laid early the brown doesn’t have time to go on. Even a dark brown egg layer can lay a white egg when this happens. If it rarely happens it’s not a big deal, we are all allowed an oops occasionally, but this is regular so it is a problem.

    Sometimes hens release two or more yolks to start the egg making process when they should be releasing only one. If the yolks are released at the same time, you can get a double yolked egg. If they are released at different times or get separated on their way through her internal egg making factory, the hen can lay two or more eggs in a day. Often the shell gland does not make enough shell material to cover two eggs so you get a thin-shelled egg. Again, if this were rare no big deal, but this isn’t rare. Are you seeing two eggs a day from her? I don’t think this is a major contributor, I think for some reason she is regularly laying eggs early before the shell is finished being put on.

    There are certain triggers that tell a hen to release a yolk for her next egg. One of these is laying the previous egg, but one is tied to light. This light trigger is to prevent them from laying an egg at night. I’m sure there are other triggers, possibly related to nutrition or if a yolk is ready.

    Meat spots can be dried blood spots but usually they are pieces of internal organs that have sloughed off and entered the egg making factory. Some hens are more prone to that than others.

    I’ll include two links that talk about egg quality problems. Maybe you will see something that I missed.

    Egg Quality Handbook

    Egg Shell Defects

    Some of these problems can be attributed to stress and some chickens are more prone to stress than others, just like one of my dogs is a lot more stressed out by storms than the other. A possible contributor to stress is that they are not getting enough dark at night. Does the coop actually get dark at night or do you have a light shining in through a window to keep it bright in there?

    My guess is that there is something wrong with that hen. She is old enough to have straightened out any pullet issues and not old enough for old age to cause these problems. I don’t know why she was OK for a while, then this started when she laid that double-yolked egg. Some diseases can cause some of this, but your other two appear healthy and laying normal eggs. Diseases don’t always affect every hen in the flock, some seem to have an immunity, but the diseases that cause things like this usually do. I don’t think it’s a disease though I’ve been wrong before.

    I think the trigger that tells her when to lay the egg is just wrong so she lays it early, but that doesn’t explain the meat spots. But obviously I’m just guessing.

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