Seeking advice/help.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by karmlacres, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. karmlacres

    karmlacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    143
    0
    102
    Oct 3, 2010
    Ok, I'm not sure what is going on or what to do really.

    My hen has been laying an egg a day for 2.5 weeks. I kept 7 for the incubator - not sure what to expect from this yet for a few reasons. But this is a story for another day! LOL

    My hen had been laying in her box. Great! She typically sleeps under it so it was great to find the egg in the box. This continued until recently. She laid one on TOP of the box. When I found it, someone (I'm guessing the hen, rooster or both) pecked at it. For some reason I didn't remove the egg (I think because I was being rushed to go somewhere - maybe church? And in that case, did not want to go in all dresssed up). Anyways, when I got back to the pen, it was gone. EEEEK! So then she laid another egg or two in the box. But then I found one on the ground. When i found it, it was pretty dirty. Guessing the hen, rooster and 2 ducks walked all over it, kicked it around. It's now one of the eggs in the incubator. DH didn't clean it before putting it in, so this is one that I don't have much hope for.

    Well, last night... I found another egg on the ground. It was dark. I left my lantern outside the pen for no real reason then to free my hands. I reached and I touched something squishy. I was sure I was touching the egg so I tried again. Still squishy. So I retrieved the light. Sure enough, the egg was squishy. I thought I had read that they came out squishy and then hardened. I couldn't get DH to retrieve it last night before bed and I didn't feel like going back out - I had tore my arm up on the chicken wire reaching for the lantern. I went out to get it today and it was gone. GRRRR! All 4 birds were huddled where it had been. I'm guessing they finished it off.

    They been fed the same food all along. I may have had to get a new bag sometime between the time she started laying and now. Can't remember. But it's highly possible.

    Lately, the birds have been extra bonkers when the see/hear me. It's very strange. They have food. They have water. Nights have been getting cooler (they aren't in a house/coop yet -- soon! All 4 birds snuggle together to sleep. But the days are in the 70s and very nice. So it doesn't seem that they are complaining about the nights during the middle of the day.

    Anyone have any ideas on what is going on with the random egg laying? Are these more likely fertilized? I'm not sure how that even happens! Is this normal - for a hen to lay in her box and then start dropping them randomly? They have been AROUND the box area.

    Should I be concerned about the soft egg I found? Should I change her food? I get some Layer formula/food from Southern States. And now that I think of it. I had gone to get more food one day and they were out. I had to wait a day or two to get some. So it was a completely different batch of feed from what I had before. Could the food be bad? This is the best I can think of to get all 4 birds all riled up like they are. They see/hear me and it's like they need something. Man, my dog is sooo much easier!!! hahaha
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    456
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    They may not recognize the nest as the place to lay eggs if it is not in a coop. The squishy egg is a soft shelled egg, something lots of chickens do once in a while. If you have a roo who is mating them, they are most likely all fertile; it happens inside the hen, way in. The egg gets hard before it comes out, not after; we pad nests as they drop them a short distance when they lay so it is less likely they will break.

    I suspect their "freakiness" is over not having a coop or other place to call their own. Get a big cardboard box if nothing else. Maybe put the nest next to it. Where do they sleep?

    It's always possible to get a bag of stale or even moldy feed. Check it over; consider replacing it.
     
  3. karmlacres

    karmlacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    143
    0
    102
    Oct 3, 2010
    They don't have a coop in the sense of a "house". We took an old medicine cabinet of a sort, turned it on it's side and put it on "legs". She has a box that is basically 1 foot cube. It's fluffed up with shavings for comfort and egg cushioning. She had been laying in it -- of the 17 or so eggs, all but 3 were in the nesting box. This nesting box is elevated about a foot. All four birds snuggle up together under it. It's in a corner of the pen. I've had them all since they were about 3 weeks old and and now somewhere between 5-6 months old. No more than 7 months old. So they've been in this configuration for some time now.

    Thanks for confirming that the food could be bad. I'll try to give them some treats tonight and get some more. I can't visually see anything wrong, but I'm sure the birds are more discerning than me!
     
  4. Boo-Boo's Mama

    Boo-Boo's Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

    If your pullet laid a soft shelled egg, she may not be getting enough calcium. When you go after more feed, get a small bag of oyster shell and offer as a 'side' dish to their feeder. I've had a few even with oyster shell out.

    The egg is hard when the hen lays it...it is not soft and then hardens as it hits the air as some think. That is why there are times there is lots of straining (have one hen that makes lots of straining noises).

    Your pullets may have been frightened by a predator...chickens do not react well to stress. I know how difficult it is at times to get a coop/run completed...happened to us, but they really need it to protect them.
     
  5. karmlacres

    karmlacres Chillin' With My Peeps

    143
    0
    102
    Oct 3, 2010
    Thanks for the info!

    We are almost done with the copp and pen on the farm. We've been keeping the birds in our backyard. I'm pretty sure we're not allowed to. Our two immediate neighbors love the rooster, so they don't want him to move to the farm. We just need roofs - on the pen, on the hen house - and doors. And finish off the inside. Digging the trenches by hand for the pen was definitely the hardest part of this. The assembly isn't that bad... it's just finding the time. It looks like Friday night may be our next chance. Yippee! The weather has been awesome and my girls will love to get out and ride their dirt bikes [​IMG] My children-girls!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by