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Silver Gray Dorking Egg Shells

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Wolf-Kim, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2008
    I recently acquired three Silver Gray Dorking hens. They have laid a few eggs since I've had them, but almost half the eggs have been cracked slightly. I am pretty sure it is not an egg-eater(shells are intact just 'dented') but the shells are pretty thin.

    They get their oyster shells and egg shells. They get layer ration and I'm trying to keep their nest boxes well bedded/padded. I have had sex-links before my Dorkings and a sexlink egg you can drop or even intentionally throw(hard too) at the ground and if it doesn't hit a brick/rock/concrete, it will not break.

    It is just a genetic thing or is there something I can further do to 'beef up' their egg shells?

    I want to hatch and sell Dorking eggs, but at the rate they're laying and the rate the eggs are breaking, my success rate is limited. The more eggs that make it to the incubator, the more eggs that will have a chance to hatch.

    Just wondered if there was anything other than oyster/egg shell I could use to help make the egg shells more durable.

  2. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    Do you know how old they are? I have noticed that older hens sometimes lay eggs that have thinner shells. And yes, it can also be a genetic thing.

    Is their any way for you to free-range them for part of the day? I know this may seem silly, but free-ranged chickens generally have stronger shells than confined birds.

    I commend you for realizing that those eggs aren't suitable for selling at this point. If they are cracking that easily, there's no way they would make it to their destination intact.
  3. K&H Chicken Farm

    K&H Chicken Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 17, 2008
    Redding CA
    When I first got my Wyandottees I had this problem. They where young birds too. About 3 weeks later they are now nice and hard.
  4. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2008
    I've give them some time then. Probably switch up their diet a bit(mealworms, grass, crickets, worms, vegetables), and see if that does not help.

    I would free range them, but they would be terribly hard for me to replace. I do not freerange the chickens that would be difficult for me to replace(Dorking and Java).

    Unfortunately I do not know how old they are. They are mature for sure, but they still lay fairly well(an egg a day before I picked them up). So I would guess between the point of lay and 2 years.

    I'll give it some time, I've only had them for about two weeks(getting antsy..want some eggs in the bator..LOL)

    I appreciate the suggestions. If the problem doesn't solve I'll just have to hatch whatever I can and just sell the resulting chicks and adults. If the eggs barely make it out of the henhouse, there is very little chance they'll survive shipping.

    LOL. Thanks for the commendment(?), I would hate to run my name through the mud(shipping bad eggs) just as I start into the business. [​IMG] Word spreads pretty quick, it's better to avoid problems then try to fix them later.

  5. ksacres

    ksacres At Your Service

    Nov 16, 2007
    San Antonio TX
    I think it would be "commendation" [​IMG] Course that sounds a lot like condemnation...

    Varying their diet with meal-worms and whatnot would be a good substitute for free-ranging. The extra protein and fresh vitamins (rather than stored feed vitamins) should definitely improve the shell condition.

    You can always try to hatch them as is, just be very careful when you are handling them. No reason you can't have chickies while you wait for the shells to improve- consider it fertility testing [​IMG]
  6. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Do you mind if we sak where you got your Hens from? We are looking for some silver grey dorkings. We have found a couple of sources but havent been able to get any yet.
  7. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2008
    I got them from a friend, who didn't even sell 'em to me.. And he had got them when he bought out someone's local flock(which was only 6 hens).. They are on a kinda 'lease' because a neighbor of mine has a Silver-Grey Dorking roo, but no hens. So he gave me the three hens to 'borrow' and split any resulting chicks between the three of us. LOL. Complicated story..hehe..

    Probably the best place to buy Dorkings is Sandhills Preservation(they are a bit closer to ya too). They even have Colored and Red Dorkings, not just Silver Grey, you just have to deal with buying straight run.

    Sorry AK-bird-brain that I couldn't help ya. If I can get these girls straightened out, I may be able to sell some eggs later on this season. Good luck with finding you some, they are a very good-looking well-behaved breed.

    Last edited: Mar 26, 2008
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Is it possible your Dorkings just came out of a moult? Shells are always a bit more fragile with mine at that point.
  9. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    Quote:Thanks Kim... (hubby posted on my behalf) [​IMG] I have chicks coming from Ideal in another month or so (on the waiting list) and eggs coming from someone else in the same timeframe, so I think we're set for now (besides, hubby says I'm cut off!) but could we keep your contact information for later, just in case? That would be awesome!

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