Shell-less egg and free ranging

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Prairie Mary, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Prairie Mary

    Prairie Mary Out Of The Brooder

    I've spent a good amount of time reading here on the forum but still feel the need to post. I just got a shell-less egg from an Americana. Last year I had to get rid of my RIRs because every one of them laid shell-less eggs consistently. I feed layer (Beaver, Purina or Nutrena) free choice. throw out some scratch around noon and free range all day on an acre (for 5 hens). They also get well water which is somewhat high in iron. I have calcium on the side but they don't touch it. The girls are 4 years old.

    So . . . . anyone know if the free ranging is the problem? (the grasses just went to seed in the pasture)
    Which layer feed do you think is best out of Purina, Nutrena, or Beaver?
    Are the girls too old ( 4 yrs) to expect good eggs from?

    I also have a batch of new chicks, but I really don't want to cull more chickens if it turns out that owner-error is the problem and not the chickens. [​IMG]

    I love this forum - thank you all for posting and answering. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Prairie Mary:cool:
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2011
  2. panner123

    panner123 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 15, 2007
    Garden Valley, ca
    I would bet free ranging is not the problem. I free range my chickens year round and have no shell less eggs. But this does happen from time to time. If she only does this once in awhile, I wouldn't get rid of her. Just give her a break. I have had hens laying at 7 years old, not like they did at 2. I mix my own feed so I know what is in it.
  3. Prairie Mary

    Prairie Mary Out Of The Brooder

    I don't have a problem with an occasional shell-less egg. I'm concerned because it got to be every single egg with the RIRs and the only thing I could come up with is that that breed was prone to shell-less eggs. So maybe I'm reacting too early but since I couldn't solve it in the past, I don't know what to change. They're eating very little layer, instead choosing to "eat out". Hah! So I'm thinking it's lack of calcium . . . and they don't touch the oyster shells. {shrug}
  4. greenegglover

    greenegglover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2009
    I don't know if there is any proof or study behind this but I moved over 100 miles with my flock. Old place crystal clear place irony and yucky(to my taste). I didn't have any shell-less eggs till a few months after the move. So during the warm months I use a hose filter that you can buy online(Wal-mart or at a RV store for around $20). I haven't had any since. Also waterer stays cleaner. Not sure if maybe it was a fluke, but don't see what it can hurt. Maybe other people have had same issue. Changes in climate??? I think everyone has had a crazy spring this year.
  5. Prairie Mary

    Prairie Mary Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks greenegglover. I do wonder about the water since during the winter, I carried water from the house (which is treated) and switched over not that long ago. Well, and the water changes when we get a lot of rain. Just a point of interest - it seems that the underground reservoirs are changing (iron in more wells than in the past) and they think it's due to Mt St Helens (which blew in 1980).

    Thanks for the tip on the hose filter!
  6. rodgis

    rodgis New Egg

    Jun 13, 2011
    Re: Sick Chicken? or First Egg?

    HI, I'm new here, from the Philippines. Used to raise chickens in Kansas as a kid.

    I bought a pair of Chinese Silkies (Wu gu ji) a few weeks ago. She (Wu We) suddenly yesterday was dragging, her wings hanging, stumbling around in their little pen (3 1/2 x 3 1/2 feet on the ground) looking really sick! I immed. went to town and got some antibiotics which I gave her at about 3 pm. I put her in a box, thinking she was surely as good as dead. Also, her bill was open and she seemed to be panting some. I got her to drink some water later in the evening, which had a little MMS in it (sodium chloride), and she was literally lying on her side, feet stretched out, jerking! Poor thing! I didn't know if she'd make it thru the night? Well this morning she was upright, not quite able to walk, but obviously better. At about 2 this afternoon I took her out of the box to get more antibiotics down her little throat, poor thing, and I noticed her first soft-shelled egg in the box! WHAT??? Was that all about laying her first egg?
    Well, she's still better, and eating. The egg busted, of course, because of the soft shell. So, I have to wonder if she was sick or in so much pain from about to lay an egg? And I know that we fed oyster shells to our KS. chickens to produce hard shells. No one here suggested anything like that.
    So what is going on with this poor little hen? I think perhaps she's been a little loose (bowels, not sex) perhaps from the broccoli stems they LOVE! Not sure. Perhaps she really does have something, but the fact that she just laid her first egg at the same time as this incident really baffles me!
    Any thoughts? Especially about the soft shell? I must say the egg was a lot bigger than I thought it would be. I feed them what was recommended here, don't give them oyster shells. They live on the ground, there is a little sand in the pen .
    But, hey, she's recovering! Whew! I wonder if there will be another egg tomorrow and if it will have a hard shell? I hope, for her sake that it's smaller!

    Thanks, Rod
  7. Sylverfly

    Sylverfly Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2009
    Northeastern Michigan
    You could also try offering egg shells instead of oyster shell. You can get a ton of egg shells from most restaurant just ask if they will save you the shells from the eggs they use. Then put the shells in the oven a while and crush them up pretty fine. My great grandmother used to do that. I guess you cook them in the oven to make them crush better or somethingÂ…probably kills any bacteria on them too. Most chickens prefer eggshells to oyster shell it maybe tastes better or is easier to digest or something. Anyway it may be worth a try?
  8. cybercat

    cybercat Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 22, 2007
    Greeneville, Tn
    Since you free range I would save your egg shells. Let the m dry then crunch them up. I spread mine out once a month or when eggshell bucket is full. Chickens love eating eggshells.

    I free range too but all day. Feed wise I will not feed the three you list for they are all plant only protien feeds. You might want to add some tuna or some other meat too the meals. Chickens are omnivores and require meat protien to really do well. I would also cut out all scratch till winter. It is not needed and drop protien levels bad. Use blacksunflower seed instead of just scratch.
  9. HomesteaderMel

    HomesteaderMel Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 13, 2011
    SW Florida
    I read a book in which the chickens laid many shell-less eggs. The problem was too much protein- in the book, there was a large dragonfly population that year, and the chickens had protein overload!
    Not sure if that will help at all, but thought I'd mention it [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  10. Prairie Mary

    Prairie Mary Out Of The Brooder

    Thank everyone - all are things to think about.

    Protein: yea, the pasture has manure in it and hence lots of bugs. Not sure it's enough to cause protein overload though. [​IMG]

    Egg shells: I have some from last fall (SO glad I didn't pitch them). I couldn't get the girls to eat them. However, I read a blog the other night that mentioned putting the shells in yogurt. The yogurt boosts calcium too so I think I'll try that. Does it matter if the shells are from our own chickens (in case there's something wrong with the hens)?
    To prep the shells I laid them out until totally dried out and then put them in a large ziploc bag and crushed them really fine with a rolling pin. Brown and green eggs.

    Feed: VERY good tips. I'm not sure why they sell crappy chicken feed around here. Does anyone have some names of feed that are good? . . . . Anyone on the west coast have a name of a good brand? It's quite possible I could find good chicken feed if I knew what to ask for.
    As for supplementing, Chicken of the Sea tuna has 140mg of sodium - isn't that a lot for chickens? The BOS seeds I can definitely do. Silly me - watching them swallow those whole made me wonder how many they should eat so they haven't had many of them.

    It seems like the older the hens get the less they want to eat layer. They all lost a lot of weight this last winter. They even leave some of the scratch laying around. I mixed in some wild bird seed to give them some variety. The only thing they really go for is cottage cheese and yogurt. They even leave earth worms alone. Isn't this weird?

    I really want to solve this. I can live with most things but rotten egg in the nest box straw is too much for me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

    So brands of feed and any other advice and I'm set![​IMG]

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