squawking, pickiness and weird eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shley, May 11, 2008.

  1. shley

    shley Hatching

    May 11, 2008
    We have two chickens and don't know the breeds of either- one's black and the other is red. The black one seems normal (though we don't really know what normal chicken behavior is). She makes nice cooing and clucking sounds, is inquisitive, and lays an egg every day with an accompanying cackle.

    The red one seems possessed in comparison. She makes LOUD squawking sounds every time we go out into the yard and lays abnormally large, wrinkly eggs. Some of her eggs look like there are scratch marks on the shell, as though there is something inside her (a demon perhaps?) and have broken bits of shell on the pointy end. She came into laying about a month ago and has only produced these weird "frankeneggs". The insides are also strange- the whites are very runny and the yolks are very thick. She has also laid eggs without shells about five times and two days ago laid an egg that broke in the coop. It's very bothersome.

    We feed the chickens layer feed (16% I think), chicken scratch, oyster shell, and kitchen scraps. They LOVE fresh greens to the point that they refuse to eat their feed and will sometimes squawk at us until we give them greens. We give them fresh feed and scratch all the time, so often there is a layer of uneaten, stale food underneath the straw we use for their litter. It gets mixed up with their manure and I have to clean it up every couple of days. There is always lots of fresh food out there, and yet they make loud noises every morning from about 10 to noon until we go out there with something else for them to try.

    The red one will often squawk as though she's being throttled for no apparent reason at all- fresh greens, feed, scratch, and fresh water is all present and she just screams. We thought it was because she was having a hard time making an egg, considering the strange eggs she produces, but it's hard to prove that theory.

    So, I guess my questions are:
    why do my chickens not eat their feed, even when it's fresh?
    why does the red one make such terrible noise?
    why does the red one lay such bizarre eggs?
  2. warren

    warren Songster

    Sep 29, 2007
    I don't have any answers to your problems, but just an observation..giving them lots of extra food is making you extra work and is not making them quiet. You could try giving them just layers pellets and water and see if things change for the better or worse.
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Dunno about the egg thing (although for a while when they first start to lay, their eggs *can* be rather weird).

    But the squawking thing... I am really wondering whether the chickens haven't simply gotten you well trained. The loud one especially [​IMG] Like kids who have discovered that if they have a tantrum Mom will eventually give in and break out the cookies [​IMG]

    They really do not need scratch and in fact it is probably not *good* for them if they're young and it's warm weather and they're tending to fill up on it (and greens) instead of their layer feed. Greens OTOH are good for them *in moderation* - they at least have some positive nutritional value other than pure calories.

    Unfortunately chickens are rather hard-headed once they decide How The World Should Work and it may take a good long while of ignoring them and NOT rewarding their loudness before their habits change. But, better late than never, may as well get started [​IMG]

    When you say they are wasting lots of feed... what kind of layer feed are you giving them (mash, crumbles, pellets?) and how are you feeding it to them? Using a well-made tube-style (hanging) feeder, with an anti-roost top, hung so that the feed pan part is at the height of the hens' backs, will give you minimum feed waste. In case you're not already set up that way.

    Good luck and have fun (and buy earplugs <g>),

  4. shley

    shley Hatching

    May 11, 2008
    Thanks, everyone.
    I think you're right, I think they do have me well-trained. When we got them they were eating only feed and scratch (we got them from a family that didn't want them anymore- they were 8 months old). We introduced greens to their diet and once they got the taste of them they bawked until we brought them some. I'm trying now to have their feed available at all times and give them scratch and/or greens as a treat in the early afternoon, but I have to "remind" them that the feed is there. (I went out this morning and used my finger as a pecking model, but they're still making some noise right now). The hanging feeder is in place, though they actually knocked the whole thing down yesterday and spread the feed all over the place. We have pellet feed which we grind up because that's the only way they eat it(so next time we'll get mash?). We put pellets out there before and they didn't touch them, but once we smashed it up they started to eat it, but they still seem to think they need something else. Perhaps it's just a matter of time to retrain them.

    The red hen consistently lays weird eggs and when I went this morning there was a shell membrane on the ground, so that's six shelless eggs in about a month. We keep saying that she's still figuring the whole thing out, but the frankeneggs and shelless eggs are so disturbing that I don't want to be neglecting a possible problem.

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