Soft Shelled Eggs and Trauma - Do chickens mourn?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DebsDavo, May 15, 2016.

  1. DebsDavo

    DebsDavo New Egg

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    May 15, 2016
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    I had three (very) free ranging chickens (now I have two) .... brown, white and grey. About a month ago the fox came by (right next to the house) and brown chicken was no more. White chicken and brown chicken were the very best of friends and did everything together. Grey chicken is a bit shyer and more solitary and brown chicken wasn't particularly nice to her.

    Since brown chicken has gone white chicken is only laying soft shell eggs (but is healthy otherwise). However, grey chicken is much happier and is now laying daily!. Both chickens have the same balanced diet and lifestyle - is there anything I can do to help white chicken to rediscover her equilibrium? She has obviously really felt the loss of brown chicken.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    They do mourn loss of friends. Like us, some mourn more than others.
    As far as fixing her egg issues, assuming that is it. The only thing I can suggest is a force molt to get her to stop laying for a while and things may return to normal after laying resumes.
     
  3. grendel558

    grendel558 New Egg

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    I have a barredrock who hasnt layed an egg in over a year. She stopped after her penmate was put down due to illness and she hung out with her all the time. I have two other girls who lay everyday, they all eat the same food, they are all healthy. I have been wondering if she is mourning the loss of her friend. Ive added oyster shells before thinking maybe she needed more calcium... still no eggs. She use to lay no problems, even layed a giant egg once, twice the normal size. IDK what to do with her.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    I agree with Canoe, chickens do form attachments and it can affect them for a while after the loss of them.

    But the soft shelled egg may be only coincidental. There may be more going on such as calcium deficiency or age. If "Whitey" is past her laying prime, say four years, it may be her egg factory is beginning to wind down, and soft shelled eggs are one of the signs.

    Even still, you can try some calcium therapy and see if that improves Whitey's product. Get some Caltrate (people calcium supplement) or the generic store brand, and cut the tablet in half and then the haves in half, and feed her two of the quarter pieces a day. I surround them in a dab of peanut butter to make it like a treat. Do this until she's laying normal eggs again for several days.

    I have two seven-year old Wyandottes who have problems with soft-shelled eggs and it has helped them lay normal eggs in spite of their advanced years.
     
  5. DebsDavo

    DebsDavo New Egg

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    How do you force a moult? Not sure it's really warm enough at the moment!
     
  6. DebsDavo

    DebsDavo New Egg

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    I think I need to view White Chicken as a pet and if she starts laying properly again then I'll consider it a bonus. I was saddened to see how upset she was.
     
  7. DebsDavo

    DebsDavo New Egg

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    Thank you for that - will give it a go. She's just over a year old and it happened immediately she lost her friend. Happy to try anything to help her!
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Calcium doesn't stimulate lay. If anything does, it would be higher protein. Calcium only replaces the calcium lost from the medullary bone when an egg shell is built.
    A bird that hasn't laid an egg in over a year and has been eating layer feed (4% calcium) will likely eventually have kidney damage and succumb to gout.

    Low light and restricted feed. Commercial companies severely restrict feed. I think it can be achieved by just cutting back day length to about 6-8 hours a day. Doing so gradually will simulate autumn.
     
  9. grendel558

    grendel558 New Egg

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    @chickencanoe any suggestions for something to try? I said I've tried calcium before and no change, I am not still giving it to her.
     
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    But is she still on layer feed?
    Higher protein would be grower or all flock feed in the 18+ % range. Or an occasional boost of animal protein like some fish or meat. I like to use canned mackerel because it is cheap.
     

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