1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    Not a member yet? join BYC here & then introduce yourself in our community forum here.

Question Could this be due to molting or something else?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Farmer Kitty, Oct 29, 2008.

  1. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    My hens are pretty much done with their molt and are getting back to full time laying. But, for the last few months I have noticed really soft shelled eggs that are usually broken. I separated the hens into individual pens and this morning when I went out at 4:30ish 3 of them had a soft shelled egg and a regular egg. They were penned since yesterday morning about the same time so I know they didn't lay yesterday and it was awfully early for today's eggs.

    They get free choice layer, free choice oyster shell (which they don't eat much of), and scratch (a 12 oz cup twice a day for 17 birds). They also get some leftovers but, I keep it low as not to interfer with their diet. The scratch is cracked corn and Boss with a little bird seed and peanuts mixed in. They also have water with either vitamins and probios (probiotic) or apple cider vinegar depending on the fill-I alternate them.

    I did have issues with some of the others having wrinkled eggs and quit laying this last spring and ended up processing those. I'm wondering if this is a molting issue or an extention of the problem from this spring. They are hatchery Black and Brown Sex-links.

    Thank you for any help. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  2. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Anyone? Any guesses?
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    Hey, Kitty - I tried to reply yesterday but my 'puter got lucked up. Not that I can be much help...but I will say that I had one hen that went through an extremely hard molt in September; to the point she could not fly to the roost at night because all her flight feathers were lost at the same time. When she wsa close to being done molting, she began to lay again and laid 2 or 3 eggs. The 4th egg she laid out in the run (which she's never done) and it was a soft-shell. I actually saw her lay it...was weird. The next egg was very wrinkled and thin shelled, but not soft. After that, she seemed back to normal. To my knowledge, she had never laid a soft shelled egg before this, so I chalked it up to molting. She laid another few eggs, and has now stopped for the winter. I wondererd if it had anything to do with getting ready to stop laying for the winter?
  4. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    Hey Wynette,

    I've been getting them for the last few months. They molted but nothing as hard as being without a lot of feathers. They would have feathers with quills sticking out in patches. The girls have started laying more again and even some of the pullets are starting to lay-the are EE's and mixed breeds.The hens layed all winter last year--it will be interesting to see what they do this year.
  5. ChickaD

    ChickaD Songster

    Aug 6, 2008
    central Vermont
    It's odd that they aren't eating that much of the oyster shell you have available. I don't have much to offer, except to suggest perhaps you could add some food grade diatomaceous earth to their layer feed (generally not more than 2% of feed, altho I never get fancy and measure...I just shake a little on top or mix it into the feed container when I think of it). It's reported by many to help increase egg production; it contains 14 minerals which can be hard to obtain elsewhere (these days silica is depleted from soil). I've been very happy with the results and DE has other important uses. Sorry for sounding like a DE commercial, but it's pretty neat stuff.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: