Soft shell egg -like a water balloon!! What is going on here? HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by keeko, Aug 6, 2010.

  1. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Hello all!

    I've posted my egg woes on the forum lately, as my situation keeps changing. At first I thought my girls were egg breaking and egg eating!! I panicked, and separated the 2 offenders. It looks like one is innocent, but the other most definitely is not. I was just hoping I caught it in time to make sure my other 10 girls hadn't caught the egg eating "bug."

    So today I was in the run with my main flock (the 10) and one of the RIR squatted, and puffed up... the hubs and I stood by as we watched, and then all of a sudden ::: POP! ::: out falls a small, white, ROUND soft egg! It didn't break on impact though. The next few seconds went quickly - I quickly reached down to grab the egg before the girls could get it, and the RIR who laid it spun around and popped it before I could get it! The shell practically disappeared...it did what a water balloon does when it deflates. There was barely anything to it! But the yolk was perfect and stayed intact on the sand. One of my buff Orpingtons ran up to get it and I had to fight them off until I covered the yolk with sand so they couldn't see the yellow. It all happened in about 6 seconds!!!

    It was so weird to me that she laid in the run - she didn't sit and nest or anything, she was walking around and then all of a sudden >POP< out it came!. By the way, we've done everything by the book:
    -collect eggs 10+ times a day
    -make nest boxes soft and dark (so the egg doesn't break on impact)
    -they have plenty of space; no overcrowding
    -they get kitchen scraps *every* morning
    -they free range in the backyard several times a week

    OK so here's my question: is this true egg eating behavior?? or is it normal for pullets to "test" their soft shells, and then consume it when it's not hard?

    They only started laying 3 weeks ago...so is this normal???
     
  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not sure about "true egg eating behavior." I can tell you that my chickens will gobble up a broken soft shelled egg or a broken regular egg - in a heartbeat. But they're not "egg eaters" per say. They don't go hunting for eggs and eat them out of the nest. I get lots of eggs every day, sometimes as many as i have hens laying. They leave the whole ones alone.
     
  3. detali

    detali Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 9, 2009
    It sounds like you need to get oyster shells to supplement their diets so the shells will be tough like they are supposed to be.
     
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Quote:I don't know what your other egg questions have been around, but the occasional soft shelled egg is not really an indication of a lack of calcium. It's just a glitch in the system.
     
  5. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Ah yes, forgot to mention they've been getting oyster shells for weeks. They don't seem to be making a dent in the supply I have out (separate from the feed), so I've been sprinkling some in the feeder so they get the idea. I have a RIR that's been laying for weeks, and her shells are strong as can be. This one incident was SO BIZARRE, and I can't believe I was there to see it! It's not entirely an isolated event because I've found a total of 5 soft shells, broken in the coop. So I'm more concerned about them developing a taste for eggs, and becoming "egg eaters," than a soft egg or two from a couple of hens (I have 12).

    Is there anything I can do to keep the soft egg breaking from escalating to hard-shell egg eating?? If it's normal for pullets to eat their soft shelled eggs, I'll just let it be and not worry anymore [​IMG]
     
  6. Dingleberry

    Dingleberry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2010
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    sounds to me that this was a fluke. They may not be eating the oyster shell "The offender that is" have you tried yogurt? or their own crushed up, dried out, shell pieces???
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  7. keeko

    keeko Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 22, 2009
    Asheville, NC
    Hmm...I should definitely try yogurt. I gave it to them as chicks mashed up with their feed, and they LOVED it. Good idea!

    I've also heard goat's milk is the bees knees, but it might take some searching to find. Is it really just the lack of calcium that creates these flimsy shells, or is it a pullet thing?
     

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