Two incomplete eggs & a poorly chicken.....

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Iggy82, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. Iggy82

    Iggy82 New Egg

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    Sep 6, 2009
    We have three chickens who put themselves to bed each night in thier chicken house. Tonight, when I went to lock up the coop and check the chickens were OK I found that one was missing.

    After searching the garden I found one egg with a really thin flexible shell and then I found the chicken, she was standing next to another egg, even more unformed this time, pretty much just yoke. She sounded like she was crying, her breaths were "moany", its hard to explain.

    I put picked her up and comforted her for a bit before putting her to bed with the other two hens, she seemed better once she'd seen the others and walked as normal into the hen house.

    I don't know if its anything to do with it but there was a big slug next to the second egg when I found her and she seemed to be gagging a little. Perhaps she'd eaten the slug earlier and it had made her sick!? She was fine earlier on today so its wierd, has anyone experienced anything similar to this before?
     
  2. threehorses

    threehorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Your chickens are having soft or no-shelled egg issues. This means you either have a calcium or a vitamin D deficiency in your flock, or are feeding the wrong feeds.

    What feed exactly are you feeding? Do your birds receive oyster shell free choice? How old are they?

    Egg binding often starts with these soft shelled eggs, so I would give her a 1/2 a tums crushed into something moist and tastey (like a cooked, mashed, boiled egg mixed with a little yogurt or water). If she's a full sized big hen, use 1 whole tums. You can either provide vitamin D via yogurt (slightly effective), polyvisol baby vitamins in the beak at 3 drops a day for a week (effective but short term), or a couple of drops of cod liver oil on something like bread or another treat she'll gobble twice a week. More is not necessarily better.

    Since it may be your whole flock (if often is), I would recommend the following:

    Feed all laying age hens at least 90% of their diet in a high quality and fresh "laying pellet" or "mash". The other 10% can be good quality grains (which doesn't include scratch, which is a fun treat to be fed in handfuls) or more laying pellets, or greens, etc. But most of the diet should be laying feed.

    Spray cod liver oil or "fortified" wheat germ oil (both are in the horse section of better feed stores - call ahead) on the feed twice weekly. Use a garden type hand-held spray bottle. More is not better - spraying allows light application.

    Calcium utilization is a three-legged stool, basically. The three major legs are calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus. They must be in balance - neither too much nor too little - or the stool falls. Feeds rarely are deficient in phosphorus (very very rarely) as cereals/grains are high in phos. Vitamin D isn't as often deficient but it's possible as it's an oil vitamin which doesn't do as well in dry applications like pelleted feed. (Thus the cod liver oil or fortified wheat germ oil twice a week). But most often it's calcium that is the issue.

    Laying feeds are made with a scientifically average hen in mind. That hen usually needs at least 4% of their daily diet in calcium to 0.70% phosphorus (that's called the cal/phos ratio - in this case, nearly 6:1 calcium:phos). However, some healthy hens may need as much as a 15:1 ratio! The manufacturers have learned they can't provide that much calcium for the extreme hens as it would harm the average or lower hens. So poultrymen for ages have used oyster shell, crushed. They're very easily absorbed once the acid and mechanical action of the digestive tract and gizzard break down the oyster shells, way more bioavailable (absorbable and useable) than egg shells which aren't very effective. Once a month, mix a little bit of the "flour" from the crushed oyster shells into their feed. The rest of the time offer free choice in a small container. I use a two-hole cat feeder that I got from the dollar store. They don't tip, and I put the granite grit in the other hole. Stir it weekly to freshen it. Throw some out onto dry clean ground now and again to get your hens' attention, or sprinkle a bit on top of their new food. Hens have a good instinct of knowing when they need more, but it must be there for them.

    If you do this, I suspect your hen will get back on track. She was breathing hard because she was in extreme stress (which often leads to prolapses as they try to push the 'sticky' eggs out). So I'd do this immediately.

    In the mean time, it's a good thing you were smart enough to know her, to see what happened. HOpefully you just saved yourself a lot of trouble. [​IMG]
     
  3. Iggy82

    Iggy82 New Egg

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    Wow thanks for your informative reply. We feed them layers mash all the time and they have a handful of grain before bedtime. I do have oystel shells but I haven't used it for a while because we found another type of grit which is much finer and easier to mix.

    I'm at work now but I've asked my girlfriend to mix plenty of oyster shell in with thier food today. The other two chickens were laying fine as normal, its strange because the poorly chicken in question laid perfectly normal yesterday morning.

    I'll be sure to source some cod liver oil & tums for an extra boost. She seemed fine this morning, hungry as normal so that was comforting. Thanks again for your help, really usefull stuff.
     
  4. New adventure

    New adventure Chillin' With My Peeps

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    threehorses, I just posted a thread about a shell-less egg too, and really appreciate your knowledgeable response to this post. I think mine was from a newly laying pullet, but I'm sure going to watch carefully now.
     
  5. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:Grit is not the same thing as oyster shells.

    Grit = rocks, grainite usually
    Shell = calcium supplement, usually oyster shell, sometimes cooked eggshells, etc.

    All chickens need grit, while only laying hens need shells.
     
  6. Iggy82

    Iggy82 New Egg

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    Thanks so much for your help, I've learnt a lot today and to be honest I considered myself quite a competent chicken owner! I guess there's always more to learn no matter how well you think you know something!
     
  7. threehorses

    threehorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:You're very welcome. [​IMG]

    Well the grit/oyster shell might be the issue. You actually want to give the grit free choice, not mix it in - and it needs to be a granite grit that isn't fine. Oyster shell won't work as grit which is why it works so well as calcium supplementation - it dissolves easily. So give both a little granite grit (a small bag lasts me a good while) and oyster shell in a separate but close container. Maybe that was the bobble that caused the issue- let's hope!

    I'm glad she was hungry again - possibly getting the eggs out made her feel better. Now we want good shells on the next ones so she doesn't slide back, and starts laying some beautiful eggs for you again. [​IMG]

    And by the way, if you keep your eyes open, you'll learn that you can have had birds and chickens nearly 40 years and still learn something new daily. It's exciting! [​IMG]
     
  8. deba

    deba New Egg

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    Sep 1, 2015
    I too have a hen who lays eggs with a soft shell or no shell at all. She gets very anxious I've notice to loud sounds. She was fine all winter until everyone in the neighborhood began mowing and working their gardens...I also changed their food to one that helps promote feathers, they were beginning to molt. I plan on trying the Tums and vitamin D...I give them free oyster shell. The other two hens are fine and have no problems with soft eggs. If she does have a prolapse,, what do you do...is there anything to help that problem? Looking for an answer.....
     

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