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Questions about my runt and her eggs and worms

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lesliekoifman, Mar 28, 2017.

  1. lesliekoifman

    lesliekoifman Just Hatched

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    Oct 13, 2016
    Can anyone help me with my little runt Tinkerbell? She survived a chicken coop fire when she was a few weeks old and was injured. She was close to not making it for many months -- but now she actually seems healthy and hungry and she's grown to almost normal size. I'm not certain it's her eggs -- but I'm pretty sure she is dropping them from her roost half the time. The shell is thin. the egg always cracks from the drop. I know she's not a "normal" healthy bird. I think sometimes she makes it into the nest and there is poop on her eggs, though the nests are clean and no one else has poops on their eggs. My 6 chickens have a large space plus they free range for about an hour or more a day. They have access to tons of earthworms in the yard. Could she need to be dewormed? She is about 4 months old. Everyone else seems very healthy and robust. I don't have enough experience to sort through the diversity of opinions on de-worming. Some never do it -- some do it 2x a year. I wanted to check here before I spend 50$ on valbezan, especially if it's not needed and especially if it may be too taxing for her. Super confused. I promised the family not to take the chickens to the vet when I took on this project. I do need to find a way to do this myself and with your help. Any thoughts?
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Overrun With Chickens

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    At four months old I assume she has just started laying, so that is probably a good part of the problem. My wheaten Marans always pooped on her eggs at first but now they are clean. I think she had to learn how to push right lol so she had poop coming out at the same time as the eggs. The same goes for dropping the eggs from the roost. I think its a matter of learning to control the urge, like not wetting the bed.

    What are you giving them to supplement their calcium?
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Poop on eggs and/or thin shelled eggs and/or eating earthworms have nothing to do with having worms.

    As SHK replied, typical issues to do with being a new layer,
    it can take up to a month or so for things to smooth out.

    I have an adult bird who almost always had a little poop on her eggs, think it's an anatomical anomaly.
     
  4. lesliekoifman

    lesliekoifman Just Hatched

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    Thank you both for taking a moment to respond to my angst!.

    I'm glad to hear that it's fairly common. My father somehow read that if they have poop on their eggs perhaps they have worms. But alas, that doesn't seem to be the concern. She actually has either made it to the nest or not given an egg in a week. Either way, all the other eggs look good and she continues to eat and grow. I give them all egg shells for calcium and I've been giving some multivitamins in their water to help her along a little bit. Perhaps I should add some supplemental calcium.

    Anyway...thanks again. so very thoughtful.

    Leslie
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Oft repeated fallacy.
    The only way to know if your birds have worms is to have a fecal exam done at a reputable lab.

    If shells are thin or soft, chances are they break easily and the birds are eating them.
    Often nothing will remain except a wet spot and you might not even notice that.

    Before adding more supplements....what and how exactly are you feeding??
     
  6. lesliekoifman

    lesliekoifman Just Hatched

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    Oct 13, 2016
    Thank you for your suggestions!!

    I feed them Peck and Scratch Organic Soy Free Layer. I give them my organic veggie scraps with their egg shells finely chopped up and once a week or so will give them left over bison or other meat leftovers. The kids are always finding earth worms for them to eat as well.

    Do most people just routinely send in fecal matter? Should I do that twice a year? Our local vet wanted to charge me $100 to euthanize my now healthier hen and I can only imagine what they will want to charge for a fecal test. I don't live near a rural vet, which I imagine might be cheaper.

    The organic feed is costing me upwards of 85$ a month. I don't break even in eggs yet at all. The cost is a tad daunting for things.

    I've heard egg shells are equivalent to calcium supplements.

    Any other thoughts you might have would be warmly appreciated.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Egg shells are a source of supplemental calcium....but a short lived one, as they move right thru before much is absorbed.
    Oyster shells are a better source as they stay in the gizzard much longer allowing for more efficient absorption.

    Worming is a highly debatable and subjective subject.
    Some folks worm regularly without any testing, some test then treat as needed, some never worm or test.
    I won't treat for something I cannot positively ID.
    It can depend on your climate/location, folks in the south may have way more worm load issues than here in the frozen north.
    Have never felt the need to test or treat here, I check intestines when I slaughter young cockerels and old hens and have never seen any signs of worms.
    Some vets can do a poultry fecal and give good species ID and counts and recommendations for treatment, most probably can't or won't.
    This is a testing service I've heard good things about http://www.midamericaagresearch.net/instructions.php


    Layer feed usually has minimal protein(~16%) needed for laying, so the more other foods you give the more that protein is diluted as well as the vitamins/minerals/amino acids in the ration that are essential for nutrient uptake. General 'rule of thumb' is treats should stay less than 10% of daily ration volume.


    I like to feed a flock raiser/starter/grower/finisher type crumble feed with 20% protein full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
     
  8. lesliekoifman

    lesliekoifman Just Hatched

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    Thank you for such a full response. I so appreciate it, especially when it's condensed and to the point. I have several books on raising chickens -- but, you know, they give options -- I sometimes need someone just to say this is what you need to do. So thank you.

    I will definitely get the oyster shells and go back to the higher protein feed. Sounds smart.

    Thanks again -- everyone:))
     

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