Thick shells w/o calcium supplement

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Andi, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've just started getting my first eggs from the first of my chickens. She's an EE, if that matters. I'm wondering why her shells are so thick! I've never seen shells so thick, even from farm eggs I've gotten in the past from other places. Is it because she's been free ranging? We haven't started the girls on layer feed yet because we wanted to finish up the bag of starter/grower. We also haven't given them any sort of calcium supplement yet either. On top of that I never saw any leathery eggs, although that might be because she laid them in a different location that I haven't come across yet.

    It kinda makes me wonder if I'll need the calcium supplement. Is it the breed? Should I expect the shells to thin as she gets older or we head into Winter and there's no bug source? Should I supplement with bugs in the Winter that are available in canned form for feeding reptiles?
  2. ella

    ella Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's because she's young. You will probably see your share of shelless eggs and double yolkers in the first year.

    If she keeps laying regularly but doesn't get enough calcium, as she gets older she'll start taking it from her bones. With a flock of saw 25 hens, a bag of oyster shell served free choice will last years, definately worth the investment. I doubt it's the bugs, a totally natural diet for a feral chicken won't serve a 100+ per year layer, they need a richer diet. [​IMG]
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Purina Layena already has all the calcium a layer needs... but it's expensive.
  4. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. Its good to know.
  5. SandraChick

    SandraChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    First, congrats on your eggs!

    I agree it's because she's young...but trust me...if she doesn't calcium from bugs, feed, or oyster shells...she'll be robbing it from her bones soon enough.

    Especially if your whole flock is not ready for layer feed....get some oyster shell out there free choice. They won't eat it unless they need it. I'd personally keep oyster shell out even when you switch to layer feed. Some need more than others.


    Oh by the way. If you're planning on making hard boiled eggs...try getting a couple different breed chickens.. Gree/Blue eggs don't peel well no matter what trick you use!!!! I have a mixed EE eggs are never in the hard boiled carton! That lesson was hard learned..hehehehe

  6. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks, Sandra.

    I'll be darned, EE eggs don't peel well. I wonder why. I was thinking EE eggs would be good for Easter, but maybe not. Too bad because they are naturally so pretty. I have 3 breeds, so that shouldn't be an issue. Thanks for sharing that little tidbit.

    I'm starting to save their shells and plan on baking them and serving them back to them. I'll be picking up a bag of oyster shells this weekend. My Calif White started laying now, too.
  7. Stef in Davis CA

    Stef in Davis CA Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 6, 2008
    Riverside, CA
    Our green eggs peel great when boiled, even fresh on the day they're layed! We start the water at a rolling boil, very gently place eggs in with a slotted spoon, boil 10-12 min depending on soft/hard boil, and fish them out with the spoon to plunge into iced/cold water and peel when the outside is cool. They peel great! Learned this from a BYCer.

    PS--I too recommend the oyster shell...hens deplete their systems as they lay more and more
  8. michickenwrangler

    michickenwrangler To Finish Is To Win

    Jun 8, 2008
    NE Michigan
    If you're in MN and an are where there's a lot of limestone in the soil or limestine near the surface, then the soil itself (thence the plants growing) would have a good amount of calcium in it

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