Soft Eggshells

Azuriu

Hatching
Jul 18, 2016
9
0
7
Illinois
So my little hen has been acting bizarre lately. She is just over two years old and she is a barred rock but has been laying soft eggs for week and she's been laying them in weird spots. Last night she completely disappeared but we found her after a few hours of searching. Today I noticed she had an eggshell hanging from behind her. I removed most of it but there is still some there; however, she got the rest out. Do you think this is what caused her strange behavior? Her personality has been off all morning and even was last night after we found her. She is less social and hardly eating or drinking water. Any thoughts?
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
Sounds to me like she's low on calcium. She should be on laying feed but if not then you need to feed her oyster or egg shells right away. Calcium deficiency can lead to them having soft or no shell and if it continues they can become egg bound. That's when the egg has no shell and gets stuck inside the hen. It can be fatal and our duck last year died from it. Hopefully she got all of that egg out. I have some tricks on how to coax an egg out of a bird when they're egg bound if need be, unfortunately for us it was to late. Has she laid today or was she supposed too but didnt?
 

Azuriu

Hatching
Jul 18, 2016
9
0
7
Illinois
She hasn't laid yet, at least not that I have noticed. She has been laying them at sundown lately when she is roosting on top of the coop. I give them layer feed mixed with some scratch grains and oyster shell. Today, I got some yogurt and other foods to give her to boost the calcium but I have noticed she hasn't been eating the chicken feed as much as my other hen does. My hens are picky eaters.
 

TheMauveDuck

In the Brooder
Apr 22, 2016
115
12
46
I'm glad you feed them shells and hopefully she lays tonight. She may pick up on the extra calcium and get her eggs back to normal but we can only hope. (Also I apologize if I treated you as if you didn't know how to feed your chicken because you obviously do, it's just hard to give someone advice if the only thing you know about them and their animals is a short text box at the beginning of a thread)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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She hasn't laid yet, at least not that I have noticed. She has been laying them at sundown lately when she is roosting on top of the coop. I give them layer feed mixed with some scratch grains and oyster shell. Today, I got some yogurt and other foods to give her to boost the calcium but I have noticed she hasn't been eating the chicken feed as much as my other hen does. My hens are picky eaters.
Best not to mix layer feed with anything....give the oyster shell in a separate feeder to use as they feel the need.
The scratch should only be given on very small quantities as a treat as the layer feed is usually pretty low in protein....
.....and too much scratch will cause them to eat less of the minerals and vitamins included in the layer feed that is need to absorb and use the calcium.
 

Azuriu

Hatching
Jul 18, 2016
9
0
7
Illinois
Best not to mix layer feed with anything....give the oyster shell in a separate feeder to use as they feel the need.
The scratch should only be given on very small quantities as a treat as the layer feed is usually pretty low in protein....
.....and too much scratch will cause them to eat less of the minerals and vitamins included in the layer feed that is need to absorb and use the calcium.
Oh, I didn't know that! I've never been able to get my hens to just eat oyster shells separate but I will definitely give it a try. My hen hasn't been eating anything much today but she drank a lot of water.
 

Azuriu

Hatching
Jul 18, 2016
9
0
7
Illinois
I'm glad you feed them shells and hopefully she lays tonight. She may pick up on the extra calcium and get her eggs back to normal but we can only hope. (Also I apologize if I treated you as if you didn't know how to feed your chicken because you obviously do, it's just hard to give someone advice if the only thing you know about them and their animals is a short text box at the beginning of a thread)
It's totally fine!! She hasn't been eating much but I'm just keeping my fingers crossed. They're my first flock so I'm pretty inexperienced.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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Quote: If feeding layer feed, they may not need many of the oyster shells... so it's hard to tell if they are eating them.
I'd have the layer feed available all the time and just give out a bit of scratch for a treat......
......maybe even cut out the scratch entirely for a few days get them chowing down on the feed.
 

Azuriu

Hatching
Jul 18, 2016
9
0
7
Illinois
If feeding layer feed, they may not need many of the oyster shells... so it's hard to tell if they are eating them.
I'd have the layer feed available all the time and just give out a bit of scratch for a treat......
......maybe even cut out the scratch entirely for a few days get them chowing down on the feed.
I think I'll hold back on scratch and treats for awhile. I think I've been spoiling them too much, but I'll definitely lay out the oyster shell just in case. My girl is doing much better today, her personality is getting back to normal. Thank you for your help!!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a flock raiser/grower/finisher 20% protein crumble 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 (mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided during molting and if I see any feather eating.
 

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