Super thick shells

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by PtJudeRI, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI In the Brooder

    Aug 22, 2012
    I have been reading quite a bit about calcium additives for ducks, oyster shell and the like, but I have never felt the need to do this with my ducks. My Harlequins have been laying now since mid September, and they all have been producing eggs with shells so thick and membranes so tough that I need to crack them with a knife! Do others here also have this problem?? Would the calcium supplement be better suited for mature or aging ducks??

  2. Amiga

    Amiga Overrun with Runners

    Jan 3, 2010
    Southern New England
    You have normal duck eggs, congratulations!

    And [​IMG]

    I would keep doing what you are doing.

    I find that when I use chicken eggs, I am astounded at how flimsy the shells and membranes are [​IMG]
  3. Boshaft

    Boshaft In the Brooder

    Dec 27, 2012
    What are you feeding them with? It actually sounds like they have too much calcium in their diets right now! Do they have unlimited access to drinking water? This can help them flush out excess calcium, which left unchecked can cause:

    • Calcification of the kidneys
    • Proventriculus
    • Lameness
    • Chicks unable to hatch out of shell (Sounds familiar)
    • Constipation
    • Abdominal pain

    Most ducks are capable of regulating their own calcium intake as long as you let them choose how much to eat (IE don't mix it with the food or water, but do have the calcium supplement freely available). Some food which are high in calcium are:
    • Dark green, leafy vegetables
    • Broccoli
    • Yogurt
    • Tofu
    • Dandelion (found in abundance in Herb Saladtm)
    • Oatstraw (found in abundance in Herb Saladtm)
    • Marshmallow root

    If you're encouraging the ducks to eat these (IE as a special treat), you might be encouraging them to "overdose" because of the excitement of you feeding them.

    I'm not a vet by any means; most of the above came from

    Best of luck!
  4. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Your duck eggs sound normal to me too. They are much tougher to crack than chicken eggs. I never used to give a calcium supplement before moving to AL. I would occasionally get a soft shelled chicken egg but never a duck egg. Now, because of predators, I don't allow them out and about as much so they don't have the chance to find as many bugs and such that would provide more calcium.

    When we first moved and before I got any new birds, I had to buy grocery eggs. I must have smashed about half on the counter trying to open them since I was so used to my previous thick shelled eggs. [​IMG]

  5. zooweemama

    zooweemama Songster

    My ducks eggs are super thick too. Much sturdier than chicken eggs. We feed our ducks Mazuri maintenance and give them added oyster shell, free choice. Since our ducks free range and have access to the pond they may get a treat once a month now. We have to bang those eggs to crack them. lol
  6. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    my eggs are so thick I just about have to use a hammer.
  7. harriedhomemaker

    harriedhomemaker Songster

    Jul 26, 2011
    Yes, duck eggs are crazy hard.

    I had never seen a duck egg until I incubated some. When we cracked open some of the eggs that didn't develop to do an "eggtopsy", I was shocked at the difference. I thought I was doing something wrong in the incubation and was toughening them up too much. [​IMG] Nope, that's just how they are!

    I do have oyster shell available for my girls but they don't eat very much of it (esp. compared to my chickens) and their eggs are still super tough.

  8. Miss Lydia

    Miss Lydia Loving this country life Premium Member

    Just think how strong them ducklings have to be to break through it.
  9. Carcajou

    Carcajou Songster

    Jul 3, 2012
    Delhi, New York
    Yep, you do have normal duck eggs.

    And welcome to BYC, the great duck forum place!! [​IMG]

  10. PtJudeRI

    PtJudeRI In the Brooder

    Aug 22, 2012
    Thanks for all the replies, its nice to know your not going crazy alone! My guys have a few waterers, and a heated kiddie pool, so they have plenty of water. Oddly, they dont like many of the treats l have read about here, but they go crazy for arugula and escarole ( I guess the Italian rubbed off on the ducks [​IMG]) so they get (got) garden trimmings and now a once a week or so treat of green when I buy some for them. After that its layer pellets, until next week when my waterfowl food comes in.

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