Soft Shelled Eggs, a Hen Dead of Egg Peritonitis - bad feed?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by V Chic Chick, Jul 7, 2007.

  1. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    I have had three soft / very thin shelled eggs over the past week (none normal) from my large black orpington hen, Molly, who is about 11 or 12 months old. This morning there was one on the floor that had cracked and been eaten, and the shell was soft. There have never been any problems with Molly before.

    Some of you may know that last year, I had a problem with Matilda, who was laying thin shelled eggs, to the point where she had eggs crack inside her. She survived the first bout with the help of antibiotics, but it happened again in November 06, and she died.

    These two hens never met each other (Molly was bought just after Matilda died, as a companion for Lily), and to my knowledge, neither of them ever had IB. Both, however, had scaly leg mite (passed from Matilda to Lily to Molly, but now eradicated) although I don't see how that could have effected it.

    I am now beginning to wonder if it is their feed that is causing it. They are mainly fed layers pellets, with a small handful of grain between them maybe once a week, and a small amount of grass several times a week. There is grit & oyster shell available ad-lib, but TBH they never seem to eat any. Matilda had the same diet, and the same brand of layers pellets (Allan & Page Smallholder Range Natural Free Range Layers Pellets).

    The composition of the layers pellets are as follows (this is copied from the packet):
    Protein - 16%
    Fibre - 5%
    Moisture - 13.8%
    Vitamin A - 6.8 m/kg (printing is a bit dodgy on that one)
    Vitamin D - 3.0 m/kg
    Vitamin E - 20 m/kg as Alpha T ocopherol as acetate
    Oil - 3.5%
    Ash - 14%
    Methionine (an amino acid) - 0.3%

    Ingredients by descending weight -
    Wheat, Wheat feed, Soya, Calcium Carbonate, Peas, Grass Meal, Maize Fna (?!), bean and linseed, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Chloride.

    Could the problem lie with the layers pellets, is it genetic (although none of my hens are related to each other) is it to do with a problem that they may have had before I bought them? This is VERY odd.

    PS The best before date is 19th September 2007, and I have never to my knowledge used feed that is past it's best before date. It is stored in a metal dustbin with thick rubber lid, in the (slightly damp) garage, so that it is dry and vermin free.
     
  2. biretta

    biretta Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 7, 2007
    Without doing much research, I do know from having kept parrots that avians require vitamin D3 whereas other animals are able to utilize another form, I think D2; your listing did not specify this, and it may not even be on the label. Vitamin D is necessary for the body's utilization of calcium. I don't know if this is necessarily the problem, but maybe you could contact the company regarding the vit. D. Also, I have read that calcium, usually in the form of oyster shell, should be offered IN ADDITION to layer feed, which you are doing. But as they are not ingesting the shell, maybe your hens do have a calcium deficiency. You would think that layer pellets should contain the required calcuim levels, without needing further supplementation! Maybe try pulverizing the shell and adding to feed, or adding very small amounts of pulverized Ca tablets. I'd try to find the exact requirements via the internet.
     
  3. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    That might be very well possible Helena...exactly where it is going wrong you will never know for sure but it would certainly be enough to convince me to buy another feed from another supplier (as the problem may lie there too)... if it is mycotoxin then it should settle the problem. I would however find a good allround supplement for your hen and give for a couple months to help get her back in shape.
     
  4. V Chic Chick

    V Chic Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2007
    Bristol, England
    I am going to give her some crushed up Rennies (indigestion pills which are just calcium and peppermint flavouring) mixed with vinegar, and hidden within porridge, just to try and get her to ingest more calcium.

    The feedstore stores the feed in a warehouse, with all the bags of feed stored on top of pallets. I have never seen any evidence of leaking roofs, but then again I haven't looked at the ceiling too closely. There are two large doors, at each end (the building is an L shape), which are probably wide enough to accomodate two cars side by side, and high enough to accomodate a lorry. Could these storage conditions cause a problem?

    Also, what sort of "all round supplement" were you thinking of? V+E (I used powerade, which is like gatorade, last time, mixed with the water)? Or would a pigeon / budgie type of supplement do? This area doesn't exactly have a high number of domestic chicken keepers, so I am often a bit pressed.
     
  5. dlhunicorn

    dlhunicorn Human Encyclopedia

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    Jan 11, 2007
    I have seen on the Practical Poultry forum many good general supplements you can order on the internet (as electrolytes should only be given in stress or heat or situations where it is truly indicated) ... I cant really recall at the moment... is ordering over the internet a problem for you???
    At any rate you can go to the petstore and get some CeDe Universal Softbill Feed as this is a great nutritional supplement ... a vitamin formulated for pigeons in addition to that would also be fine.
     

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