Tried everything, eggs still cracking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dobee13, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. dobee13

    dobee13 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2013
    Bay Area
    My Coop
    Hi all

    So I've looked thru these boards and googled a lot. But wondering what nuggets of advice I can field here. Eggs are cracking VERY easily. I'm finding them in the coop cracked (they scratch out all and every laying buffer I've put down). When I pick them up and put on the counter, they crack...I offer oyster shell + grit (container next to food. they are eating it, I refill every 24-48hrs) and they get a few hours of free range roaming in the yard too.

    Any other suggestions??

    Also, the eggs are DIRTY, caked with mud + poo. I try to rinse with wet paper towel. Any other ways to clean eggs?
     
  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    What sort of nesting boxes do you have? I like a deep box with 4-6" of lip on it so they can't scratch out the nesting material (I use hay/straw with shavings on top) so it is pretty padded so they don't crack eggs by stepping on them or dropping them... lots of shavings may help with keeping the eggs cleaner.
    How old are the hens? What sort of feed are you using? How many extra treats are they getting? Are they eating the oyster shell, I have noticed that there are some brands/ sizes that mine will eat a lot better than others?
    If the eggs are really dirty and I want to use them, I usually wash them asap also (even though clean eggs store better unwashed)... I use an egg soap that says to soak for a few minutes then rinse, dry and refrigerate. Also, check the butts and bottoms on your hens, you may want to trim feathers around the vent or legs etc, some really fluffy chickens have a hard time keeping clean. If you can keep the footing around the nesting boxes dry and cleaner using shavings or straw/hay etc so the hens have to walk through it before they get to the boxes, even if it is muddy out side it helps with the eggs.
     
  3. dobee13

    dobee13 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 31, 2013
    Bay Area
    My Coop
    I am heading to the feed shop today to get shavings and hay to lay in the very muddy run. I have an eglu, 4 hens. They will be a year old in May. This is a recent thing...shells getting softer. I use the layena pellets. They get meal worms and 4-grain scratch every day (meal worms are really only when I have them on hand). They eat a lot of the oyster shell. I refill almost daily.

    Someone mentioned reusing the egg shell -- bake and crumble. I tried that and they didn't care for it.

    I have used all kinds of stuff in the eglu and they just kick it all out. This weekend we couldn't find the hens anywhere on the property. In my searching I found an entire nest of eggs that they made under some bushes. I have kept them confined for days at a time to keep them laying in the eglu, but the minute I let them out they find other spots.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Feb 18, 2011
    Ohio
    Are they actually eating the oyster shell and not just tossing it out, it is oyster shell and not grit? Layena is a complete food so they shouldn't need much extra calcium even if they are getting some scratch. With the egg shells, you can always mix the crushed egg shells in with the Layena and wet it down to a mash or cook it, or just mix the egg shells in other things you feed them.
    It sounds like they don't like the eglu nest at all, can you modify it to make them happier with it? One thing I have done with free range hens is make "hidden" nests, like bucket nests, dog houses, barrels etc that I set up in places where they like to lay, then I just collect eggs out of those nests as normal... it keeps the hens that like to hide nests happy, and I know where the nests are and can get the eggs anyhow.
    There are a couple of things to look at with thin egg shells ... nutrition wise vitamins / D3, is the food fresh and in good shape?
    Salt, are the hens eating, drinking or getting into anything that would be salty, salt for snow control? They haven't been sick or stressed?
    The Poultry Site has a good article on thin shells.
    http://www.thepoultrysite.com/publi...ndbook/16/thinshelled-eggs-and-shellless-eggs
     

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