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Soft shells

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MelodyC, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. MelodyC

    MelodyC Out Of The Brooder

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    So far, all the eggs we have gotten from our girls have been great, but this morning, there was one egg where the shell was still intact, but lots of cracks all over it. I noticed what I thought was slime in the nest box when I cleaned it yesterday, and now I'm wondering if that hen layed an egg yesterday and the "slime" was egg whites dried and they had ate the rest of it.

    What would cause one hen (guessing it's one) to lay soft shells? All the rest are nice and strong.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Runs With Chickens Premium Member

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    Chickens occasionally lay soft eggs, especially at the beginning and the end of the laying season. If they are frightened or stressed they also can lay them. It isn't unusual.
     
  3. ccrow

    ccrow Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've got someone laying real soft eggs now; just started in the past week. I'm hoping she'll have better shells as time goes on, although my dog is very happy when I come out of the coop and hand her a squishy egg!![​IMG] They have a calcium supplement, and *somebody's* eating it... sigh. I got a soft one yesterday, then today two nice normal ones. I have five hens so obviously some of them are not earning their keep[​IMG]
     
  4. MelodyC

    MelodyC Out Of The Brooder

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    Just went out to shut the coop door and heard a bunch of thumping. Used the flashlight and looked in and they were all eating an egg off the floor of the coop.

    Thanks! Hopefully it rights itself soon. But boy are they enjoying eating those eggs!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Egg eating is a problem you want to actively solve asap.
    Especially if they are eating hard shelled eggs.
    It won't just 'right itself soon'.

    How old are these birds and how long have they been laying?
    What exactly and all are you feeding?
    How many birds in how big a coop/run(feet by feet)?

    Egg eating can be a lack of protein and/or calcium, sometimes stress from crowding.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  6. MelodyC

    MelodyC Out Of The Brooder

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    I think it's just the soft shelled eggs they are eating. They are getting the layena (sp?) crumbles and pellets, they have oyster shell and grit in a feeder tray, and they get treats ranging from lettuce/cabbage, scratch, bird seed occasionally, and mealworms. Sometimes leftover meat. Plus most days they free range all day.

    Their coop is 6' x 8' with an additional run underneath, and 8 nest boxes, and two 6' roosts. We want to put another roost in, but mostly they like to all huddle together on one. I've counted 8 squeezing in on the one, and only two or three on the other.


    We have 12. 11 hens and one rooster. He told us they were between 2-3 yrs old, but not sure. We got them the 31st of Jan, and they were in a temporary coop for 2 weeks while we got theirs put back together. We went to buy the coop, and the people didn't show for the chickens. Thank goodness we took the dog kennel with us to transport them in, as he wasn't sure if they would or not. He also told us that they were all brown eggs, but the Ameraucanas are laying beautiful blue/green eggs. So they have only been in their coop again for a couple weeks, and they have had a few days where they weren't allowed to come out due to the weather.

    Could it be the girls that are molting that are laying the soft shelled eggs? This just started on Friday (I think). I haven't seen any signs of it before that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Two 6" roosts should be good for 12(?) birds...mine cram into smaller spaces too.

    6'x8' is tight for 12 birds....even if they do spend a lot of time free ranging

    Softshells are fair game for eating...kinda..but not a good habit.

    More protein, especially animal protein can help.

    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.
     
  8. MelodyC

    MelodyC Out Of The Brooder

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    Hubby has been going crazy with the mealworms until I reminded him how much they cost. LOL

    These birds are so smart that when they know we are going to leave, they go stand behind the car or under the truck and wait for us to give them treats first.

    I need to clean out the freezer, so I'll cook up some of the fish for them to give for treats, and next time we are at the feed store, we'll get some of the grower feed to mix in. The one that is really molting is already looking better.
     
  9. MelodyC

    MelodyC Out Of The Brooder

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    As for the number of birds, I have a feeling that we will probably lose some to hawks this spring/summer. We noticed one above on Sat eyeing the birds, so I ran around to the front where they were. Hubby said he was watching the hawk and it went up and tucked in and started to dive. It pulled out of it's dive as soon as I got around to the front. I don't want to just kill some, as 1) not sure which ones have which personalities yet and if they are all laying yet. 2) if I have to butcher one, I want their weight up enough to at least make it worth it. Right now some are still so thin.
     

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