ok, im at a loss now

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by colorado cowgirl, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. colorado cowgirl

    colorado cowgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    I am totally at a loss, I have no idea what is going on.

    I have a "small" flock of chickens, 75 in all,* only 2 roosters in the bunch, both leghorns*, they consist of white leghorns, Rhode Island reds, americaunas, and 1 barred rock
    the leghorns and RIR are a little over a year old. the others are 9 to 10 months old. the reason I say small is because I am used to being on farms where 3 to 4 hundred is the norm.

    about 5 months ago, I went out to the barn to make sure everyone had plenty of water, and to give a lil treat.
    I found a very small light brown egg, about the size of a quarter, it had a shell on it, and I brought it in, took pics etc.
    I knew it was way too early for the newbies to be laying, When I accidently broke it, inside was a lot of white, and just a drop of yolk.
    after that, nothing.
    I figured it might be one of those odd flukes that happen from time to time.
    fast foward to present day.
    the newbies have begun to lay, the problem is that there are no shells on them.
    just a soft membrane, I can see the yolk floating inside the sac.

    My birds are free range, I open the barn door in the morning and its the "running of the chickens".
    I have 8 gallon waterers where they roost at night.
    I have at least 20 other gallon and 3 gallon sized waterers scattered around the property where they like to hang out, I rinse and wipe them out daily and refill them.

    I feed them layer pellets, and offer them crushed oyster shells in a seperate feeder no more than 3 times a week.
    I do give them scratch now and again, kinda a treat for them, of course they help themselves to the geese's cracked corn.
    I do offer greens to them once or twice a week, although they much prefer my greenhouse and the veggies I am trying to grow, they have decimated my sugar snap pea plants, and my green beans.
    they eat every bug that moves and is within distance.

    they have plenty of shady spots to hide in to get out of the sun.
    they have the barn overhang, a couple of trailers, the tack shed, the garage, under the stairs etc.

    I am at a total loss as to why they are laying eggs with no shells.
    I had one red who would lay with no shells, she had a run in with a fox, and well, anyways you can guess the outcome of that one.
    As for the others, I used to get a couple of dozen eggs a day, now I am lucky to get any at all.
    I figure its the heat that is getting to them, so I am a lil less concerned about them than the newbies.

    I am just scratching my head trying to figure out whats going on.

    any ideas or imput?
  2. punky rooster

    punky rooster Awesome

    Jul 21, 2010
    Quote:I believe its lack of calcium.. Try some oyster shells. Not 100% sure though.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2011
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hmm, sounds like you are feeding them the right kind of food. Sometimes, when my chickens free range too much, they start getting those membrane shells. I think it's because they're eating all free range goodies, and not much of the layer feed....Then I lock them in for a few days so they can eat the layer feed and some oyster shell, and all is good after that.

    Other things I can think of, is maybe they need a good worming, or maybe they are molting? (Although, the younger ones probably won't molt until next year........)
  4. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 10, 2010
    Just curious: why do you offer oystershell no more than three times a week?
    I always thought that you should offer oystershells free choise once they start laying.
    Is it because you have young birds in the flock with the layers?
  5. tasha82

    tasha82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 17, 2011
    hiya im new to chickens,mine are free range aswell.eating all my veggies,since theyre not eating the layers pellets as much ive got some mash,they wouldnt eat that so i mix a few seeds in it and wet it roll it into balls and give them to the chickens which they wolf down,i also put some grapes etc in sometimes .might be abit hard tho for you to do it for 75 of them haha,xx
  6. Sir Birdaholic

    Sir Birdaholic Night Knight

    There are alot of "new laying" hens that have to get their body adjusted to egg laying. After a few shell-less eggs, & fart eggs, they should get to popping out normal eggs. [​IMG]
  7. vnploveschickens

    vnploveschickens Chillin' With My Peeps


    You say that your chickens are "helping themselves to the geeses cracked corn". Well, you should put a stop to that as there's not much nutrition in cracked corn.

    You should put out the oyster shell in a separate dish, free-choice. Some hens need alot more calcium than others. Its funny how they just "know" when they need it too.

    I have found that roosters and chicks may look at it, may peck at it, but don't really eat the oyster shells like the laying hens do.
  8. colorado cowgirl

    colorado cowgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    Quote:well, kinda.
    see, when the older hens were laying and we fed oystershells, the shells would become incredibly hard and very diffacult to break open.
  9. colorado cowgirl

    colorado cowgirl Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 9, 2011
    Quote:If I could put a stop to it, I would.
    I have yet to find a way to keep them out of the cracked corn.
    I have 14 ducks and 12 geese.
    I had them in pens, until one of my kids let them out one day, since then they stick around and swim in the drainage ditch, eat the weeds and harass the other animals.
    I put the food in dishes, up by the garage, the ducks and geese come and eat, some days they eat everything, other days they only eat half of what I normally feed them.
    It is hard to tell what kind of a day it is going to be.
    any ideas on how to keep them out?

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