Softshelled egg left on droppings board

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by newchicksnducks, Nov 7, 2009.

  1. Okay, I know that it takes a while sometimes for the chicken to get the hang of laying eggs...I have a mixed age flock of 15. The oldest 3 are 27 weeks, then 7 at 22 weeks, and 5 at 17 weeks. One of the oldest has been laying for 6 weeks - never had a problem (except laying on the coop floor - but she started using the nesting box when the next layer showed her the ropes![​IMG]) I saw 4 of the next age group checking out the boxes, and that night had 4 eggs inside the boxes - all perfect:) That was a little over a week ago. One of the oldest group started laying (pretty green/blue eggs) and is doing well in the box. But also in the past week I've had 4 incidents with soft shell eggs being dropped from the roost onto the droppings/poop board, once with two soft shelled eggs on the board. I'm kinda glad they were laid there - they could be a mess in the box! The chickens have free access to oyster shell, they are on Purina Layena crumbles, some treats (about 1 cup of scratch in the morning run for all 15 girls), and poss some leftover chicken nuggets or pasta from children's lunch. Since the other 6 seem to be laying fine, what else should I be doing/not doing to help them get it together? How long does it take for the egg laying "mechanism" to start working with precision? I'm assuming more than one of the younger ones have started with these soft shelled eggs, since I found two in the morning.
  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    You're feeding the right stuff, even the few treats you give them are fine... (IMO anyway. That much is ok) You could mix up some of the oystershell into their feed, that might hurry the process along, but they'll level out soon either way. It's just a matter of time.
  3. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    There's probably nothing to do but wait, if you're offering all the right stuff like high quality feed plus free choice oyster shell and clean water. With some young layers, it just takes time to get it right. I had a 19 week old that started laying beautiful, hard shelled (mostly double yolk) eggs. Several weeks later, from the roost at night, she began dropping partially shelled or no shell eggs, 2 at a time. I cleaned up filthy gooey messes for about a week. In between her "roost-eggs", she would, in the nest, lay tiny freaky wrinkled thin-shelled eggs with uncharacteristic color and shape. It was all so weird, at first I figured she had actually stopped laying and that another pullet was beginning to lay and was responsible for the strange eggs -- until I caught her in the act of laying one of those bizarre ones! After her weird time was done, she went back to laying good hard eggs again, in the nest, like nothing ever happened. Just no more double yolks. They don't usually "choose" to lay from the roost - rather they are dropping partially formed eggs, along with poo at night. I'm just a novice at chickens, but have noted that when she started laying, she had a LOT of double yolker eggs. Maybe her body was shedding 2 yolks, for a while, instead of 1 per interval. And just maybe, when her egg-laying system began to try and properly put both yolks into their own separate shells, instead of surrounding both yolks with a single shell, her body said "hey this is gonna be trouble here!" Maybe it was too complicated, too large, or too dangerous for her to continue with 2 eggs in the channel, so she dumped both from the roost when they were only partially complete. Just guessing here, because I'm not a scientist. BTW, none of my other later-layers have laid any partially shelled, shell-less, or weirdo eggs. Maybe that kind of stuff especially happens with the early layers. [​IMG]

    If you want to, you could add 1 T. ACV per gallon water (in a non-metal waterer) which can help with their calcium uptake besides just being a good PH balancer.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2009
  4. Thanks for the info! I have been using ACV w/mother in the waterer for the past month or so...It's been two days without a soft shell. I'm hoping they have it figured out:rolleyes:
    Of course, I have 9 more in my flock of 15 to begin laying. I could be in for another round before too long:/ Patience, and quick clean up before they discover they have yummy tasting eggs on the droppings board!
  5. technodoll

    technodoll Songster

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    I too found my first soft-shelled egg on the poop board under their sleeping quarters this morning [​IMG]

    Dunno who laid it, we've been getting excellent eggs for over 2 months now... mystery!

    Apparently it's not a worry unless it's the only kind of eggs you get [​IMG]
  6. gwennym

    gwennym Songster

    Dec 18, 2008
    Edwardsville, IL
    Huh, I never knew young chickens sometimes laid "learner" soft-shelled eggs...........I found a few in the last couple of weeks myself and didn't really know WHAT to think. It's not something that happened with any of my earlier young pullets, but maybe it's just an individual thing.

    Very interesting -- I learn so much from this site.

  7. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    Quote:Hehehe! Wanna chuckle? Check around BYC for threads about "fart" eggs! I was laughing into tears the first time I read someone's description of an egg laid by a pullet...It was full of air - hence, a fart egg. And there are rubber eggs, too. [​IMG]
  8. Prairie Mary

    Prairie Mary In the Brooder

    My girls are over 1 1/2 yrs old and I have gotten a few shell-less eggs lately - usually under the roosts. Yesterday there was one in the nest box, intact still (huge luck there!). They have free fed layer and about 1 1/2 cups scratch a day for 11 hens. I started putting oyster shells on the layer (again) when weak shelled eggs started showing up about a month ago. When I do this Solo, the araucana, lays eggs that look and feel like sand paper. Ouch.
    So how do you take care of calcium needs when it seems to vary from one hen to another?
    What is ACV? Wikipedia has an interesting array of things listed under that - acyclovir, Turkish military vehicle. [​IMG]
    We have high iron well water and I just can't help but wonder if that's a factor. Anyone have experience with that? Guesses? Whatever?

    I appreciate the wisdom and humor from you all.
  9. It's good to know I'm not the only one with soft shelled learner eggs:D

    Prairie Mary - ACV is Apple Cider Vinegar w/sediment in it, called "Mother"...go figure! You can find it in the grocery store as an organic apple cider vinegar.
  10. feathersnuggles

    feathersnuggles Songster

    Sep 4, 2009
    Quote:I see newchicksnducks gave you the skinny on what is ACV. So, the other question... I don't think iron well water is going to hurt your chickens because it's really just a high mineral water. ACV helps with calcium uptake, tho, plus other things. Also Vit D is necessary for calcium absorption; Vit. D is the sunshine vitamin. These shorter dark days can mean less Vit D is available, so for my birds, I take something high in vit. D like cod liver oil, and mix it into their treat about once a week. Usually I give them (5 hens) about 1 teaspoon or two a week, depending upon how little sunshine we've had.

    About sandpaper shells, I've seen them now and then in other people's flocks. For different hens with differing calcium needs, I think offering free choice oyster shell is better than mixing into their feed. That way, each hen can eat what she need, at the time she needs it. I just have large tuna fish can nailed to the wall of their run at the height of their backs, filled with oyster shell. Here's a website about various shell defects, for your perusal:

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