Two soft-shelled eggs overnight??

lynseylou

In the Brooder
Jun 6, 2020
8
12
18
I have two hens of laying age: 1 year old Buff Orpingtons. I've been keeping an egg diary on them for the last couple months. All eggs have been beautiful, hard eggs. Yesterday, they each laid an egg. When I went out this morning, I found an intact soft-shell egg and a broken soft-shell egg right under their favorite roost. Normally, I know which egg comes from which hen based on shape and color but I can't with these. I recently switched from a 16% Layer crumble to Purina Flock Raiser. Could this be the issue? But how, if the eggs yesterday were the same as they have always been? The only reason I switched is because they are housed with four 10 week old chicks and having two separate feeders wasn't going well. They preferred the baby food.

I tried offering crushed oyster shell but they had no interest in the pebbles (I really need to crush them up more because these are the size of legit pebbles.) I have caught one hen eating the egg shells from our compost pile once. I'm not sure if this is a regular thing or not because when I am home, they free range and when I'm at work, they are locked in their yard.

Thoughts? Advice? I really figured the Flock Raiser would meet everyone's needs. I am willing to do whatever for these girls!! Out of my ten chickens, they are my top birds. Pictures attached.
 

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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Might be they are missing the calcium....or they could be ramping down production prior to their first adult molt if they are around 14- 18 months old.
You can get some weird eggs around molting time.

It can be hard to get them to eat Oyster Shells.
How are you presenting them?
How long ago was the feed switch?

I've had to sprinkle some scratch grains in with the oyster shell,
or sprinkle a few pieces of shell on top of feed.
Can also spread some out on the ground with scratch grains.
I dry and crush my eggs shells and mix them in with the OS,
that seems to make the OS more attractive.
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
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Moore County, NC
Just wanted to share my similar experience with my five 14 month old girls (hatched early June 2019) have had egg shell problems including soft shelled too. They are all (seems like one at a time) losing feathers, most noticeable tail feathers and just thinning out all over. It was the head hen first, then my first layer, and now it seems the others are following along. Molting seems to be hard and takes it toll on their entire system. Best wishes with your flock :)
 

SoilMatesofGA

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
16
22
26
Georgia
Just wanted to share my similar experience with my five 14 month old girls (hatched early June 2019) have had egg shell problems including soft shelled too. They are all (seems like one at a time) losing feathers, most noticeable tail feathers and just thinning out all over. It was the head hen first, then my first layer, and now it seems the others are following along. Molting seems to be hard and takes it toll on their entire system. Best wishes with your flock :)
This is almost exactly what I was going to write regarding my girls molting pattern. I’ve only had mine for a few weeks and have been getting 3-4 perfect eggs every day from my 5 hens. I just found the remnants of soft shell and wonder if this was the first or I’ve been missing some onwhat I thought were lighter “production days”.
I feed mine Purina Organic Layer Pellets “Oyster Strong” and a small amount of food scraps from my garden. I hope it’s just the strain of molting.
I’m new to chickens, so appreciate any extra tips y’all have.
- Alex
 

lynseylou

In the Brooder
Jun 6, 2020
8
12
18
Might be they are missing the calcium....or they could be ramping down production prior to their first adult molt if they are around 14- 18 months old.
You can get some weird eggs around molting time.

It can be hard to get them to eat Oyster Shells.
How are you presenting them?
How long ago was the feed switch?

I've had to sprinkle some scratch grains in with the oyster shell,
or sprinkle a few pieces of shell on top of feed.
Can also spread some out on the ground with scratch grains.
I dry and crush my eggs shells and mix them in with the OS,
that seems to make the OS more attractive.
One the
Might be they are missing the calcium....or they could be ramping down production prior to their first adult molt if they are around 14- 18 months old.
You can get some weird eggs around molting time.

It can be hard to get them to eat Oyster Shells.
How are you presenting them?
How long ago was the feed switch?

I've had to sprinkle some scratch grains in with the oyster shell,
or sprinkle a few pieces of shell on top of feed.
Can also spread some out on the ground with scratch grains.
I dry and crush my eggs shells and mix them in with the OS,
that seems to make the OS more attractive.
So one of them already molted back in May. She stopped laying altogether (after attempting to brood for WAY too many weeks.) The other one hasn't gone through an obvious molt yet. They are approximately 17 months. The shocking thing to me was to find two overnight. They have never laid overnight and having two makes me think either each girl laid one or one girl laid two. They have also not laid outside of their favorite nesting box since they started laying. Multiple weird things all at once has me concerned.

I put the oyster shells in a small container like what I use to carry their treats in. The pebbles are pretty large and they seem offended that I would even offer them haha. I could definitely crush them up and sprinkle on top of food or with food.

The feed was switched about 7-10 days ago. I wasn't sure how quickly they would have issues if there wasn't enough calcium.
 

lynseylou

In the Brooder
Jun 6, 2020
8
12
18
Just wanted to share my similar experience with my five 14 month old girls (hatched early June 2019) have had egg shell problems including soft shelled too. They are all (seems like one at a time) losing feathers, most noticeable tail feathers and just thinning out all over. It was the head hen first, then my first layer, and now it seems the others are following along. Molting seems to be hard and takes it toll on their entire system. Best wishes with your flock :)
Thank you! One has already molted (feathers were literally everywhere on my property) but the other hasn't. I haven't seen evidence of her molting either.
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
1,993
3,718
297
Moore County, NC
This is almost exactly what I was going to write regarding my girls molting pattern. I’ve only had mine for a few weeks and have been getting 3-4 perfect eggs every day from my 5 hens. I just found the remnants of soft shell and wonder if this was the first or I’ve been missing some onwhat I thought were lighter “production days”.
I feed mine Purina Organic Layer Pellets “Oyster Strong” and a small amount of food scraps from my garden. I hope it’s just the strain of molting.
I’m new to chickens, so appreciate any extra tips y’all have.
- Alex
How old are your girls? They won't go through an adult molt until they're around 14 months old and older. If your girls are point of lay pullets, they can experience all kinds of kinks with egg laying as they work everything out with their bodies new egg laying abilities, especially in the first few to several months. Keep a close eye on them, either way. Make sure that at least 90% of their diet is a complete feed. Always offer grit on the side and calcium on the side (I believe it's best to offer them in separate dishes or a divided dish, hopefully someone with more knowledge and experience will correct me if I'm wrong) for them to consume if needed. @aart is far more knowledgeable and experienced than I am, so she will have better and more thorough information. I just wanted to cover the bare basics, that you probably already know, but just in case. I wish you the best with your girls! I know you are enjoying them and their fresh eggs :)

Edited to fix. Not sure what happened there. My apologies
 

SoilMatesofGA

In the Brooder
Jun 29, 2020
16
22
26
Georgia
How old are your girls?
Make sure that at least 90% of their diet is a complete feed. Always offer grit on the side and calcium on the side
Thank you! I bought them a few weeks ago when they were already laying and the folks who sold them to me said they were 13-14 months at the time.
Most of their diet is complete feed, but I'm cutting back on the garden/food scraps for a few days to see if I see a difference. I have a bowl of grit on the side and the calcium is part of the pellets I bought. Maybe on my next bag (it'll be a while), I won't get the oyster shells version of pellets so I can make it free choice.
It has been 89-92 degrees the past week or so here, so before I saw the soft shell remains I wondered if the heat was part of the reason the egg count had dropped. It's supposed to get cooler starting tomorrow. I got two eggs today and both were perfect. Hoping it was just a kink.
Thanks again!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
84,720
98,708
1,677
SW Michigan
My Coop
They have never laid overnight
Soft shells can pop out anywhere.

So one of them already molted back in May. She stopped laying altogether (after attempting to brood for WAY too many weeks.)
Not unusual for a bird to molt after brooding. Did she hatch chicks?

The pebbles are pretty large and they seem offended that I would even offer them haha. I could definitely crush them up and sprinkle on top of food or with food.
Really no need to crush them, don't mix into feed...just drop a few on top of feed.
The idea is to get them to try them then they learn what they are.
 

HeatherKellyB

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
May 31, 2019
1,993
3,718
297
Moore County, NC
Thank you! I bought them a few weeks ago when they were already laying and the folks who sold them to me said they were 13-14 months at the time.
Most of their diet is complete feed, but I'm cutting back on the garden/food scraps for a few days to see if I see a difference. I have a bowl of grit on the side and the calcium is part of the pellets I bought. Maybe on my next bag (it'll be a while), I won't get the oyster shells version of pellets so I can make it free choice.
It has been 89-92 degrees the past week or so here, so before I saw the soft shell remains I wondered if the heat was part of the reason the egg count had dropped. It's supposed to get cooler starting tomorrow. I got two eggs today and both were perfect. Hoping it was just a kink.
Thanks again!
I leave oyster shell out for my girls on layer feed. They do have some occasionally. I always worry that the quality of a bag of feed is off or just anything. They won't take too much. I'd rather have it there and it be wasted from them not needing it. I imagine a lot of folks have differing opinions on this. Please know that I am not trying to say that you need to do things like this or like that. I'm just sharing my experiences :) You are right, heat waves can definitely make egg production go down. I thought that was the problem here and still believe that having Temps over 90° for a month, plus their first adult molt is really hindering egg production here. I just want my birds to feel better. I'd love some cooler Temps too!

@aart , what are your thoughts on offering oyster shell on the side for hens that eat layer feed?
 

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