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Problems: Thin Shelled Eggs, Pooping in Nesting Box, and Feather Plucking

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Susie Kirsch, Dec 27, 2016.

  1. Susie Kirsch

    Susie Kirsch In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2015
    All of a sudden I have three problems (all at the same time):
    -thin shelled eggs that break in the nesting box
    -pooping in the nesting box
    -lots of feather loss

    These problems all came at the same and right after a below zero cold spell here in the Denver Metro area. I have 3 hens, they have a nice sturdy coop, they free-range the backyard most days. They will be 2 yrs-old on 04/01/17. Last year I did NOT heat the coop. This year during the cold-spell I did put a heat lamp in the coop for a few days and I did NOT let the girls out to roam.
    They are back to normal routine (no heat at night & roaming the yard all day). Suddenly, last 3 days "POOP in nesting box"! Egg shells so thin they break in the nest. I'm finding lots of feathers on back door mat - where they like to hang out.
    I don't see any evidence of bugs (mites, etc). I keep the coop pretty clean, but I could do a better job. Work, early darkness, and cold hamper cleaning the coop.

  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Crowing

    Jul 17, 2011
    North Central Kansas
    Greetings from Kansas, Susie, and [​IMG]! Great to have you aboard! Two of the three problems may be cold weather related. Even with a heat lamp your ladies may be roosting in the nest boxes at night - thus the pooping. One option there is to find a convenient way to block the boxes off at night. The feather loss may be due to confinement/boredom. If they are confined they may be getting bored and pecking at one another. The molt could still be happening I suppose but I would think most of the birds would have worked through that by now. In terms of the thin egg shells - are you confirming they are thin or are you finding them cracked and broken in the nest? If the birds are spending all day and night in the nest boxes, they could be jostling the eggs around causing the cracking. If they are just generally thin shelled, do they have enough oyster shell for calcium to keep the shells hard? Those are a couple of my best guesses...others will soon choice in with more suggestions and thoughts. Best wishes to you and your flock!
    1 person likes this.
  3. RodNTN

    RodNTN Hatchaolic

    May 22, 2013
    Serving Jesus
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I am glad you joined us! redsoxs has given you a lot of ideas that might be the problem. I hope your flock gets over this soon! Best wishes!
  4. Susie Kirsch

    Susie Kirsch In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2015
    I thought about boredom as a reason for pooping in the nest; also, that it is probably warmer in the nest. Thankfully, our cold-spell is over for now and they are out roaming the yard.
    The egg shells have been confirmed as thin. I give them oyster shell, mixed in with their food. They are very good at eating around it. I was told that they will eat it when they need it?? They don't seem to be doing that - brats!
    Hopefully, the feather loss is also boredom related and will stop.

    Thank you so much for your response; I really appreciate it!
  5. Susie Kirsch

    Susie Kirsch In the Brooder

    Jul 27, 2015
    Hi! thank you!
  6. snow5164

    snow5164 Songster

    May 16, 2015
    Canada Strong and Free
    I find mine eat more oyster shells when I mix in cooked egg shells .I microwave them 35 seconds then process them to crumbs and mix them in the oyster shells, worth a try !!
  7. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013

    I hope redsoxs post will give you some ideas of what is happening and/or changes you can make. There's a lot of winter left!

    Good luck.

  8. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Welcome to Backyard chickens.

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