Too much calcium from blood test - laying soft eggs ..??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 3 little ladies, Feb 8, 2017.

  1. 3 little ladies

    3 little ladies New Egg

    Feb 8, 2017
    Hi there,

    I have a 3 backyard chickens here in Melbourne, Australia.
    Recently, one had presented with symptoms of being sick (disorientated, panting, looked off) and has been laying soft shell eggs for quiet some time.
    Upon a visit to the vet, a blood test was done and it was found the chicken had 3 times the normal levels of calcium in her blood.
    However, the calcium was not getting to where it needed to be (creating firm shelled eggs).

    Vet has advised to do x-ray and surgery to stop her reproductive system. This is a very costly exercise.

    Does any one have any insight / advice on how to treat this?
    or possible pills which could stop the reproductive system instead of surgery?

    Would be hugely appreciated !!
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    There's probably not 'a pill'...but knowing more about your flock might find a clue.
    First off what and how exactly are you feeding?
    How old are your birds and are the other birds laying 'normally'??

    When only one bird is having problems, then diet probably isn't the problem.
    It's just the one bird that has something off in their organs or body chemistry that is not metabolizing nutrients as they should..and there's is rarely anything that can be done about it.

    Sounds like your vet wants to sterilize her so she doesn't lay?
    Not an option I would choose.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Is the medical concern that a soft-shelled egg will break inside her and lead to infection or what the excess calcium is doing to her internal organs? I could see both as a risk.

    When I have a problem, I try to determine if it is a flock-wide problem or an individual hen problem so I know better how to treat it. This certainly sounds like an individual hen problem, she appears to not be able to use the calcium she is obviously eating to create egg shells as Aart said. It sure sounds like a defective shell gland.

    I don’t know how to stop her from laying and I have no idea how to get her to lay hard-shelled eggs. Aart’s question on how you are feeding them is relevant. It sounds like you may be feeding them Layer, which is a reasonable way to feed a laying flock. To possibly lower the calcium level in her blood you might try feeding Grower instead, something with the same general nutrition levels but with 1/3 as much calcium. You can offer oyster shells on the side for the other two hens to get the calcium they need for their egg shells. I don’t know if this will stop her from eating the calcium she cannot process for egg shells or not, but it might lower the calcium level in her blood and offer some protection to her internal organs that can be damaged by high calcium levels.

    I sure hate this. It sounds like she is a pet. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions when you have pets. I’m sorry you are in this spot.
  4. 3 little ladies

    3 little ladies New Egg

    Feb 8, 2017
    Thank you Aart & Ridgerunner for your recommendations and concern.

    To answer your questions:
    1. The issue is affecting just 1 of the pet chickens. The other two are very healthy. They all eat the same feed (Red Hen brand 'layer' feed).

    2. Frequency of feed is 1 cup per chicken per day. They don't eat it all, alot gets eaten by pigeons hanging around in the yard.

    3. Chickens are all 1.5ys old. The other two are laying healthy eggs on a daily basis. The unhealthy chicken is laying soft (completely cracked open with yoke) eggs every week. Frequency unknown as the yoke spills into a mess...

    I like the suggestion of feeding grower to the sick chicken. No good giving high calcium food to an animal that can't metabolise it properly.

    The clerk at the pet store (who breed birds but not chickens) recommended using 'Solaminovit' or 'Solvita' in minute doses - a product which ensures all famr animals (including birds) are getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs, particularly Vitamin D + E. Product details are below. Would be curious to know if you have experience using this product. We are not at all inclined to do surgery and are hoping someone out there has had any luck with this shell forming problem. Thanks again

    Solaminovit Liquid
    Vitamins & Amino Acids for all Water Species
    Dosage: Poultry: 50-100ml per 100lt water
    Add directly to drinking water or dry feed
    Solvita Soluble Powder
    Multi Vitamins All Species
    Use in Feed or Water
    Poultry: 5g per 8lt water continuously 3-5days
    Pigeons:5g per 4lt water cont. for 5 days
    Poultry/Pigeons/Pigs: 5g per 5kg of feed

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