What's wrong with my girls?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KathyK, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. KathyK

    KathyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Liberty Hill, TX
    I have 9 hens, all 10 months old and laying since they were 20 weeks old. Just recently they started strange laying behaviors. I got 2 shell less eggs today. Someone is laying outside in the run. Frequent eggs on the shaving inside the coop. 2 nights in a row had an egg on the poop board below the roost (one was soft shelled). I used to have night time eggs laid just every once in a while, sometimes with a soft shell. All of this strangeness just in the last week. The only changes I have made is cleaning the coop and putting in new shavings, and adding scratch grains in the morning (maybe 1/2 cup per day for all 10 chickens).
    I feed Purina Flockraiser and give oyster shell, and a few table scraps. They are in a mobile coop/run that gets moved every 2-3 days, so plenty of natural grit.
    Any ideas? They seem healthy and happy otherwise. Thanks for any help.
    Kathy
     
  2. Primeacres

    Primeacres Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2010
    UK
    Hi Kathy,

    We had one chuck who laid exactly what you are describing, eggs with no shells. The chicken laying these eggs was the newest in the flock and wsa being badly bullied at the time and I am convinced that stress is partly to blame as well as feeling under the weather or sickly, possibly created by the stress ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  3. KathyK

    KathyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Liberty Hill, TX
    Thanks. All of that makes sense, just not sure if any of it applies to mine. The shell-less eggs were laid inside the nest boxes, which seems odd with other posts I have read. I did change the brand of shavings, but still pine. I've used them in the past, but not recently. My coop gets moved every 3 days, and only 15 or so feet, so this has not been an issue in the past. They all seem healthy, except one broken toenail a few days ago. I could see this hen having issues, but this is mass hysteria. Mine don't like hay in the next boxes. They kick it all out. Or maybe they just scratch around a lot and it falls out. Hopefully, this too will pass. I will see what today brings.
     
  4. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    It is nearing winter, and we are having lots more preds lurking around over here in TN. I agree with Primeacres - - could there be a predator harassing your girls? At night, perhaps? Even an animal walking around outside a portable coop could scare the dickens out of them.

    Just a thought. It is certainly a more desirable possibility than illness. . . . weather changes can also affect laying. Sudden cold, sudden extreme wet, etc. and you have pretty young layers anyway. In TX I would expect them to be easing off laying at this time of year with the amount of daylight we're getting as well.

    If you pull up a chair and watch them for a little while, you might get some great insight into what's going on with them. It's also one of the greatest pastimes ever.

    Good luck in figuring this out, and please keep us posted on how things go!
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
  5. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    I've had this same issue happen to me around this time last year, I narrowed it down to three girls that were having the issues, but also had shell-less eggs being "laid" all over the place. I still don't know the real cause, I imagine the change in weather but who knows, I basically just forced their calcium levels up and the issues resolved themselves.

    To force their levels up, I baked some "chicken cookies", no real recipe, but just a mixture of the following ingredients in the cookie type balls and stuck them in the oven until they seemed done. A lot of the ingredients below are optional, I just would whatever healthy type stuff I could find to make it more appetizing to them.

    Self-rising flour
    couple of eggs
    lots of oyster shell powder (just basically the stuff at the bottom of the bag, the more the better)
    sunflower seeds
    cranberries
    minced garlic

    I fed them a couple of these "cookies" a day for a week or so and still have a bag of them in the freezer (clearly marked [​IMG]) and will feed occasionally if shells seem brittle.

    Hope you get this figured out!
     
  6. Primeacres

    Primeacres Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2010
    UK
    Hi Kathy,

    Anychance you could mention more about your birds please.

    Are they all the same breed ?
    I don't suppose you have you introduced any new birds to the main flock recently ?
    Do you have any broody hens ? Have you noticed any hens staying in the hen house longer than normal ?
    Have they ALL ALWAYS been housed together in the same portable hen house / run ?
    Do you have any particular favourites who you give the most attention to ?

    Cheers
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  7. KathyK

    KathyK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 10, 2009
    Liberty Hill, TX
    Yesterday was almost normal. I had the usual egg outside in the run. 5 more inside the nest boxes with shells on! Yippee!
    They are all the same age, housed together since birth, moved outside into the coop/run in the spring together. I have not added any new birds, ever. 2 barred rocks, 3 partridge rocks, 2 delawares, 2 easter eggers and 1 glw rooster. No broody hens. Nobody staying inside longer than normal. One partridge rock hen has been picking on an easter egger lately. She chases her around the run and pecks her. Both of these girls are normally friendly with me, so they get a little more attention. But none of them get much direct handling. The EE is also one of the rooster's favorites as her back is sparsely feathered. 2 of the girls are getting the brunt of his affections.
    Predators could have been, and could still be a problem. I have not lost any to predation yet, but live in the country with all kinds of critters. Coyote, fox, raccoon, possum, bobcat, and a questionable siting of a mountain lion (yikes!) No badgers, Mark.
    We will see what today brings. I sure hope it is a passing issue, and not a predator or illness. Time will tell. I bought a motion activated game camera a while ago, but had to send it back as it wasn't working right. Maybe Santa will bring me another one. [​IMG]
     
  8. Primeacres

    Primeacres Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2010
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    I am no expert but from my own experience I'm guessing your main problem is in the hen house.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010
  9. cottage19

    cottage19 Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 20, 2010
    Eastern PA
    This is a true story. Last week the girls were roaming around doing their chicken thing. They were near the house and I just happened to walk past the door in time to see a huge red-tail swoop down between the house and barn. I ran out immediately, the girls all ran for cover and the hawk took off. While I was doing a head count (all safe, thankfully), I spotted a shell-less egg on the ground where they had been pecking - I've heard that saying about "being scared xxxx-less" but this is the first time I've heard of a hen being scared "shell-less." [​IMG]
     
  10. Primeacres

    Primeacres Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 1, 2010
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    Are the Hawks a constant threat to your chucks ?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2010

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