Soft shells?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JoeST, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. JoeST

    JoeST In the Brooder

    22
    24
    31
    Feb 12, 2019
    Kokomo, Indiana
    Hello, new to the forum & fairly new to raising chickens. We have 6 fairly young birds (6months) Two sapphire gyms, two Americanus & two Easter Eggers. Our two sapphires are laying pretty consistently & aside from an occasional few calcium deposits otherwise laying nice large eggs. We have one americanu who just started & has had two fairly small but otherwise nice blue eggs, one that was very oddly shaped with a large calcium spot on the side & one this morning that was very soft shells that either broke or they had broken.
    We had at least one other soft shell from one of the sapphires when they started laying & just curious how normal it might be?
    We have another who is laying but can’t pin point who it is yet. So far we know our sapphires are both laying. One laying a slightly darker brown than the other. And someone in the group also randomly laying a very light brown similar to our lightest sapphire eggs. And one of our Americanus laying the small blue eggs.
     
    DobieLover likes this.
  2. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    4,142
    28,819
    1,002
    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    It's normal for a pullet just starting to lay to lay soft shell, shell-less, odd shaped and fairy eggs. They will become more regular as the reproductive system fully matures.
    What and how are you feeding these girls?
     
    WindingRoad likes this.
  3. WindingRoad

    WindingRoad Songster

    854
    1,730
    183
    Nov 21, 2018
    Maine
    Are you feeding Oyster Shell (OS) on the side. The chickens that need it will eat what they need. In a small cup that can be hooked onto the side of the chicken fencing in your run. I don't feed on the side I just sprinkle a small amount on top of their food once a week. Also take your used egg shells and crush them up, put on pizza pan, oven at 350 for 5 minutes. Watch them closely as they will burn. Then crush them up some more, cool them a sprinkle over food. I do this on another day I don't feed OS. They love their crushed egg shells. If you aren't feeding a higher protein feed you might try upping the %. I feed 22% and my birds have laid all winter. 2 year old BO and ISABrown, 2 28 +/- months old SLW... Key: BO. Buff Orpington, SLW: Silver Laced Wyandotte. I got the two SLW end of November at 16 weeks. They started laying around end of December 1st of January. And I just noticed how big they have gotten. Can hardly get through the coop door down into the run. Beautiful black silky feathers. They are love bugs. LOL Good luck.
     
  4. JoeST

    JoeST In the Brooder

    22
    24
    31
    Feb 12, 2019
    Kokomo, Indiana
    I can’t recall exactly what their normal feed is. I have a friend who get me the same mix he uses for his hens. Along with I occasionally give them some scratch grains & some table scraps & shredded cheese.
    I’m starting to save shells & grinding them & mixing back into their grains as well.
     
  5. JoeST

    JoeST In the Brooder

    22
    24
    31
    Feb 12, 2019
    Kokomo, Indiana
    Here’s our last few days worth.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. WindingRoad

    WindingRoad Songster

    854
    1,730
    183
    Nov 21, 2018
    Maine
    I have no scientific back up here but I don't feed my chickens rabbit food AKA veggies salad fixings etc. They won't eat anyway. By feeding those things you are lowering the % of protein they are getting. Treats should only be 10% of their feed. I don't think dairy is too good for them either. Some feed yogurt when they are sick that's probably ok. Eggs and probably the shells are mostly protein. We and our chickens are what we eat. Protein in Protein out.
     
  7. WindingRoad

    WindingRoad Songster

    854
    1,730
    183
    Nov 21, 2018
    Maine
    Those are good looking eggs. If you aren't hung up on looks and more interested in flavor they are fine. If you are selling then that's a different issue. Remember the pullets have to gear up their laying machine and they will have oppsies now and then.
     
    JoeST likes this.
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    26,345
    11,447
    747
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    That doesn't sound good to me.
    If all things aren't perfect, feed is often an issue and your first post didn't mention what your chickens are eating. Your friend may or may not be knowledgeable in poultry nutrition. Just owning chickens doesn't make one so.
    You should know the exact protein % and calcium % of what your chickens are fed.
    Protein percentage is printed on the front of the bag and both are printed on the guaranteed analysis tag on the bottom of every bag of feed.
    Your description makes me think they are not even getting a complete chicken feed but rather a mix of grains.
    The bulk of a layers' feed should be about 16-17% crude protein and 4% calcium.
    You can go with a higher protein feed 18-20% and 1% calcium by providing oyster shell in a separate container.
    OS and egg shells are over 95% calcium carbonate (CaCo3). CaCo3 is 40% calcium. Putting either on or in the feed requires the hens to consume much more calcium than they should.
    Sufficient amino acids are needed to ovulate regularly. A correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus is necessary for proper shell formation. Providing a complete chicken feed makes this simple.
    Grains are low in both protein and calcium. Around 7% and <0.3% respectively.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    DobieLover likes this.
  9. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    5,105
    12,466
    541
    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA
    Definitely provide oyster shell on the side and hopefully in a week things straighten out. Here is my favorite read on calcium for chickens; it's easy to understand. The size of the particle matters, so getting calcium though oyster shells in addition to their regular feed and eggshells fed back to them is important for the ability to produce quality shells on the eggs they lay. Every chicken is different and has a slightly different metabolism, so sometimes you do just have that one bird in your flock that is prone to laying eggs with thinner shells.

    https://the-chicken-chick.com/for-strong-eggshells-size-matters/
     
    DobieLover and ChickenCanoe like this.
  10. PirateGirl

    PirateGirl Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist

    5,105
    12,466
    541
    Mar 11, 2017
    South Park, Colorado, USA

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: