Rubber eggs on dropping board

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 2ofakind, Sep 12, 2016.

  1. 2ofakind

    2ofakind New Egg

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    So, this is the end of the first week of random rubber eggs. I have 3 hens all under 2 years and until recently they have been pretty consistent layers. One goes broody from time to time but that's usually the only hiccup. About a month ago the head honcho died spontaneously( I believe she may have been egg bound as my son found egg white on the board the day prior) and the pecking order changed. The three remaining hens seem to get along well but the dead birds best pal seems to be on her own a lot regardless of now being the top chicken. Egg production is seriously suffering. I got nothing but a rubber egg yesterday and only 1 egg the day before. Before that just as spotty. The rubber eggs come only at night.

    Some food for thought-
    The coop is large enough and cleaned every day. Ventilation is adequate. It is (as far as we can tell) predator proof and this has never been an issue. The birds come out into the yard at 7 and put themselves to bed at dark. No artificial light. They free range all day- we lock them up for bedtime. They are fed layena layer pellets at will and have fresh water always. We limit treats to a small handful of scratch daily. They have a dish of grit and oyster shell that they don't seem to mess with but its there. They do not have mites. They were wormed a few weeks ago with safeguard because we saw some round worms once on the dropping board. Poop looks fine now. There is not other sign of illness. It's been very humid and hot here in central Texas. Oh and they've never molted.

    Any thoughts or suggestions are greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Softie eggs are from stress or from the system starting up or shutting down. Since it's happening at night I might wonder if some disturbance is causing it. Your hens should also be getting ready to molt and they will often lay soft eggs as they shut down and than they will totally stop laying. You might want to switch to a feed with higher protein once you notice they start to molt to help them through it and to recover quickly so they can resume laying asap.
     
  3. 2ofakind

    2ofakind New Egg

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    I thought it was strange that it's only happening at night myself. I'm worried about nutrition as well. Is layena considered good?
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I like to feed something that is 18-20% protein, so check your tag, most layers are only 16% which isn't often enough if you feed anything extras. Some are making higher protein layer now, but I feed either a non medicated grower or an All Flock ration and don't use layer anymore, free choice oyster shells make up the extra calcium needs. There is also a product called feather fixer that can be fed through the molt and winter for extra protein.

    There are many ways to feeds and many brands to choose from. Just make sure your hens over all daily protein doesn't fall below 16%, so feeding only layer is fine, but adding scraps and scratch and fruits and vegetables will lower that daily total amount, so it's better to feed something with 18-20% to keep your daily intake up and to avoid things like egg and feather eating.

    Soft shelled eggs usually have nothing to do with calcium intake. When they are frightened or stressed they will often dump an unfinished egg. There are some respiratory diseases that can cause it as well as any stress. Losing the top hen is very stressful, to a flock so it may still have something to do with that. We are also getting into fall when sudden weather changes cause stress.

    I personally think you are dealing with pecking order stress and probably birds getting ready to molt, your hens have been laying a long time and need a break. You should be seeing extra feathers laying around and balding hens soon.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    @2ofakind was it softee eggs or rubber eggs? Those two are different. I often find softees on my poo board when I I have new layers coming in. I truly believe they just feel like a poo without the pressure of the hard shell for the body to discern the difference. Rubber eggs are indicator of something more serious.

    Yes this will probably be their first molt. I would switch to a flock raiser/all flock for this period as suggested by @oldhenlikesdogs . Actually that's what I already use. You will see your consumption of oyster shell go up but that's OK.

    I also agree that it is probably accentuated by the pecking order stress. And I knew other thing like blood spots could happen. But I didn't know you could get softees without calcium deficiency but it does make sense that the body does weird things when under stress.

    My hens never went to molt at the same time. And it drove me crazy to see one almost naked in December. Ya, we are in CA, but it ain't that warm!

    Some people consider Layena to be good. Purina actually makes a bunch of products and sells them under different labels. Personally I read the ingredients as well as the percentages of nutrients and pick the one that sounds the most wholesome. I did recently participate in a tread where the person switched to Layena, had all kinds of issues, then switched back and issues resolved just recently. I know we don't feed Purina products to our dogs... but it's a personal choice. And if that's what you've been using all along, I don't see why it would suddenly start causing issues for you, although sometimes a batch could be bad.

    Last but not least... Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]
     
  6. 2ofakind

    2ofakind New Egg

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    Yeah, I looked all over and I cannot see anywhere that looks like anything has tried to get into the coop. My son has been opening the door to make sure they're all in the coop since we lost the first one. He hadn't been and she laid out in the yard all night :( maybe he is spooking them. I'm hoping to add 2 more to the flock in about a week. Is that a good or bad idea? They'll be point of lay 16 weekers
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    If you are adding more, it's a good ideal to quarantine. And it will probably upset the balance a little more. Even birds that "seem" healthy could have something that hasn't presented with symptoms yet. Also, they won't yet have an immunity to the stuff in your yard or yours to the stuff where they are coming from. So when people suggest quarantine, they mean where the birds are separated by at least 100 feet of zero interaction.

    As much as people like to think 16 weeks is POL, I'm not convinced... I have a 22 week old Leghorn, just starting to think about laying and my BO of the same age IS laying. So it's more of an individual age thing I think. May take the new girls a short time to settle in as well.

    I don't think your son is spooking them. But it's good to brainstorm. [​IMG]
     
  8. 2ofakind

    2ofakind New Egg

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    I didn't realize that. I don't even have 100 feet in my yard to separate them. Maybe I can find a way to do better than just a fence between them though. Thanks!
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    If they are about 81 18 months old there's a good chance they are getting ready to molt.....
    ......funky eggs can happen as the system shuts down, and also when they start back up after molting.

    I've found Purina Flock Raiser to be a good feed.....watch out for grain mites tho... and you'll have to provide oyster shell in separate feeder.

    @EggSighted4Life what is the difference between 'softee eggs or rubber eggs'?

    ETA: corrected number of months of age from 81 to 18....typelexia.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
  10. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    I was under the impression that softees were without shell and rubber were like coagulated cheese ball type stuff, more like hardened puss. Am I mistaken?

    I currently have the Purina flock raiser and another one made by them sold as Albers broiler raiser. Same nutritional analysis but the ingredients change about half way through the list. $1 more for the Purina label. I bought both twice to see if I could tell a difference or it was just packaging. Upon opening I could see the Purina labeled one has slightly bigger crumbles and seemingly less dust. I don't THINK I can tell much difference between the two when I am fermenting so far. And it seems logical that smaller cuts would equal more "dust". Wish I could tell if there was any significance because spending $1 extra per 50# wouldn't break the bank. But I don't believe in being wasteful either or paying for a pretty package either. Any thoughts?
     

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