Thin shells

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eleaserek, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. eleaserek

    eleaserek Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    Billings, MT
    So my 5 hens are not quite a year and a half old. They eat an all flock feed with free access to oyster shell and crushed egg shells. And yet, their shells are consistently thinner than even a grocery store egg :( what gives?

    Are there other health problems that might cause thin shells? I plan on worming them this week because I haven't before, and because I feel like egg production had slowed. It's been really hot lately, so I know that's at least part of it, but I just want to be sure it's not something my inexperience is causing me to miss. They seem to be eating and drinking fine, so I'm stumped...
  2. sebloc

    sebloc Chirping

    May 7, 2016
    I haven't been able to pull eggs out from our nesting boxes yet (our chickens are 14 weeks old :/).

    They're obviously lacking calcium. Try switching feed/oyster shell? There's probably some supplements out there that can help them gain more calcium. Not quite sure, just trying to help :D

  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I've found that as some layers approach molt, the quality of their eggs falls off. I think their bodies are signalling they need a rest.

    On the other hand, some hens don't consume enough oyster shell. I have a couple who seem never to go near the oyster shell "bar". Their eggs are problematic.

    Other hens consume plenty of calcium but still have thin shelled eggs. This happens as they get on in years. I have a few elderly hens, six and seven years old that still lay, but the eggs are so thin they break as the hen is getting off the nest. Their bodies are just getting too old to properly lay down a good shell as the egg passes through the shell gland.

    Then I learned about a calcium therapy from a fellow BYCer where you administer a half tab of Caltrate, the calcium tablet for us humans. I have been doing this for the past several months when I get a hen who has laid a thin-shelled egg. I reduce the half tablet into easy-to-swallow pieces and fold them into a dab of peanut butter. It's eagerly consumed in a single bite, and the next day, the egg has a normal shell.

    Caution, this is only for short periods following a thin shelled egg. It shouldn't be given as a regular thing in order to avoid overloading the kidneys.
  4. eleaserek

    eleaserek Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    Billings, MT

    Thanks, that totally makes sense! I actually went out last night and checked everyone over really well and one of my hens is certainly starting her molt! She's a Dixie rainbow, and hasn't laid much all summer (about 1 egg a week). I'm assuming, for her anyway, that the heat has especially played a role (she's BIG) but now that she's the first to molt I'm hoping she will go back into more normal production once she's had her break and the weather cools down.

    Here's hoping the thin shells and lower production are just a precursor to molting!

    There's probably not a way to predict what kind of molt or how long it will take, huh? This will be my first experience with molting. In the mean time, there's not much I can do but wait it out right?
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Nope and Yep...tho they may not resume laying until after the solistice (and who knows how long after) unless you use winter lighting.
  6. eleaserek

    eleaserek Songster

    Mar 17, 2015
    Billings, MT
    Sigh. That's what I figured. Oh well [​IMG] Thanks anyway!

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