Soft shells -why

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eggmandoo, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. eggmandoo

    eggmandoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2016
    Notts, uk
    Hi. I have got a couple of chicks that have been laying decent eggs for a few months but the last two days that has changed. One has laid two eggs in the last two days that were so soft that they have split in the nest box. The other laid a very soft shelled one today. The other three are still laying good eggs. Any ideas? They are fed on layers pellets with a treat of corn every day
     
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    Hi.

    Corn is like candy bars with no nutritional value and can decrease the protein in the layer feed if given too much which could cause a lot of side effects.

    Usually people who use layer still offer oyster shell on the side. When I did use layer we hardly went through any of the extra OS.

    Often times, soft shells are caused by the reproductive system starting up or shutting down more than a lack of calcium.

    SO I might question your weather as being a factor. But if they have only been laying for a few months maybe their reproductive system is still maturing and working out the kinks.

    Here is a link that might be helpful...
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/common-egg-quality-problems
     
  3. eggmandoo

    eggmandoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2016
    Notts, uk
    Many thanks. They have 24 hr access to layers. Maybe the soft shell two are not eating what they should.
     
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    They are probably OK. How much corn are you giving for all of them total? Do you think the girls laying soft get more of the corn than the other girls or about equal?

    Do you keep the light on them 24 hours? Do they free range?

    Sometimes, hiccups just happen... and not because there is something wrong. The reproductive system on them if under 1 year may still be maturing. Why I never hatch before that.

    It's always good to keep an eye out for signs of illness. And is nice that you can tell who is laying what, so you know who to keep a watch on.

    Good luck!
     
  5. BIggoMamma

    BIggoMamma Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2017
    Buy 22% protein egg laying pellets and powdered oyster shell calcium for them from the feed store. You can also supplement water with powdered nutritional supplements also from the feed store. You have a mineral deficiency going on.
     
  6. eggmandoo

    eggmandoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2016
    Notts, uk
    They get an equal amount of corn. I purposely don't give them too much. They are around 8 months old. They are in a large pen but I let them out frequently in my large garden. There is no light in their coop. My concern is that one of them is the best layer. Everyday. Without fail. They have recently been treated for worms and brackspira.
     
  7. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Overrun With Chickens

    In 6 years I have never treated for worms or the felt the need to. I realize we all have different conditions. I haven't had any death from natural causes. Most of time there is a withdrawal period you cannot eat the eggs after worming, depending on what you used. So it definitely could have an effect on the egg quality I would think. However unless you had a fecal sample and treated for the correct worms, it may have been pointless. And if you use the same wormer again in the future it might not work because they develop resistance. So if you do need to treat regularly, you might consider rotating products. So please make sure to consider those things.

    I have never heard of brachyspira...

    Usually new layers... many of mine, will lay for days on end with no break. That is not the norm though. All chickens need a break from laying. Some breeds are more consistent than others. My first flock would lay 21 days in a row, take one day off, lay another 14, then 1 day off. Especially as the daylight is increasing they may be kicking into high gear. But you should not expect that type of laying to continue long term. It should taper off and stabilize in accordance with whichever breeds you have. Leghorns and RIR will lay a lot more eggs than EE or Barred Rock, in my experience. But ALL will take a day off, sometimes 2. Depends on the bird.

    At that age, their reproductive systems are still maturing. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions.

    Also, since they don't have light, they will not be up eating as they can not see well in the dark. It is best to make sure the feed is put away so it doesn't attract rodents or other unwanted free loading pests.
     
  8. eggmandoo

    eggmandoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2016
    Notts, uk

    I had a pooh sample checked at the lab. The gave me flubevet to treat. The brackspyra was also found in the pooh. It can affect egg laying. I treated for this. I do appreciate all the advice. Maybe it's just a blip.
     
  9. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    Consett Co.Durham. UK
    Hi

    You say you feed equal amounts of corn...what do you mean by that?
    If they are getting as much corn each day as layer pellets, that may well be your problem as they will only be eating half as much layer pellets per day as they should because they are filling up on corn which they prefer. The layer feed has calcium added to it, the corn does not, so they will be taking in just over half as much calcium (corn will contain some calcium but not the enriched level in layer feed) each day than if they were only getting the layer feed which is designed to give them everything they need to be healthy and productive. They will also be getting less protein because the corn contains significantly less than the 16% protein in the layer feed.
    If one of your most productive girls is one of the ones having problems it is most likely because she needs more calcium and protein than the rest as she is producing more eggs. They store calcium in their bones, and use that to top up when they are low, but eventually that deposit of calcium will run low if it isn't getting topped up properly each day and then problems can start to arise like poor shell quality, egg binding and prolapse.
    Corn is also inclined to make them fat, even obese. I butchered some unproductive hens for a neighbour who fed half and half corn and layer pellets...the layer pellets were available all day ad lib but the hens only ate roughly the same amount as the corn because he threw a scoop of corn down for them each day and put a scoop of pellets in the feeder to keep it topped up. Anyway, those hens had yellow fat deposits 2inches thick on their abdomen and most of their organs (heart, liver, gizzard and intestines were encased in fatty deposits to the point that it was limiting function.... and probably why they were hardly laying any eggs. I have some photos somewhere of their insides and the shocking amount of fat in there.

    Anyway, moral of the story is that too much corn or other high carbohydrate treats like bread, rice and pasta is bad for them. Limit it to less than 10 % of their daily intake or cut it out altogether for a while and see what happens. If you really want to continue feeding corn then make sure they have access to a source of calcium like crushed oyster shell in a separate dish, not mixed into their feed as too much is not good either and they will know when they need it. You can also dry and crush their egg shells and feed them back to them.

    My layer flock get a cupped handful of fermented mixed corn each day which is probably half as much as if it was dry because it swells and that is between 14 birds and the rest of their diet is layer pellets. They probably go through about 2 lbs of layer feed a day. Hopefully that gives you an idea of the level of corn you can treat them to without affecting their health and production.

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
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  10. eggmandoo

    eggmandoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 14, 2016
    Notts, uk
    Hi. Thanks for the reply. Each of my 5 hens get an equal amount. They have layers pellets all day and about 2 handfuls of corn everyday between them, before sunset. I am careful not to over feed them corm.
    One of the problem ones is the best layer
     

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