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Author Topic: Soft shelled chicken eggs  (Read 4493 times)

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
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Soft shelled chicken eggs
« on: June 13, 2016, 04:42:34 pm »
Back with questions again!

I know you can get the occasional soft shell. There was one in the poop tray when I cleaned the coop out yesterday which I made a mental note of but didn't think much of.

This morning though there were 3 soft shell ed eggs under the perches. 2 had broken and the third was intact. Am I doing something wrong?

Our girls (and boy) are free ranging but always gave access to layers pellets (we top it up once s day so it never runs empty). Once every day or three we sprinkle finely ground oyster she'll over the layers pellets. They also have mixed poultry grit available in a free draining tub undercover outside. Should I ge giving more grit/shell?

Hubby said maybe something scared them in the night? Would that cause this? Or is it just one of those things?

I should add that I have 5 layers in there at the moment.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

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Hevxxx99

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 08:16:09 pm »
Are they young? They often start off with jelly eggs before they get going properly.

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
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Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2016, 09:20:51 pm »
Sorry should have said in the original post.  They were born 2015. 3 were laying g when they came to us the other two came into lay just after we got them. We got them mid Feb so they have been laying a few months with no problem.  I think I've had two soft shells since we got them but they were spaced out.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

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Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2016, 08:59:24 am »
Unusual for soft-shelled eggs to appear once they've got into the swing of laying.  It could well be that they were scared by a fox or badger or similar, or possibly that they have a mild infection of some sort which is barely discernible by observation.  Have you checked for red mite in the coop?

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2016, 09:24:32 am »
I think some chickens just do it and sadly there is no answer.  I have 70 hens pasture raised and the odd few do it now and again for no reason and makes a right mess in the laying box. I did read somewhere that its in their genes and nothing you can do about it.  The option would be to keep an eye on them and see if it continues then get rid if its a problem.  Bringing in hens from unknown breeders has its risks where buying prime hens either heritage or laying hybrid is the answer.


Sound like you are doing everything right so dont feel you can do no more.  A stressed hen will lay odd shaped eggs too. Could worm them? Increase calcium intake with full fat milk or temporarily increase calcium with as much as possible?

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
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Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2016, 10:08:20 am »
They were last wormed in April but I'm not sure how much of that they really ate as they are free ranging. I was going to worm again in July and keep them in for a few days. No more soft shelled eggs since that night so fingers crossed it was just a scare.

I'll have anot her check for red mite, best to do after dark right?

One of my hens does lay very thinly shelled eggs, we have to be quite delicate with temperatures as they crack easily. Would some extra calcium in the way of milk help her?

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 10:25:11 am »
Hens take up a lot of calcium in producing eggs and if they are lacking then the shell wont be so hard.  Its worth looking at additional supplementing with calcium rich foods luckily for me I have fresh milk and on the odd occasion gone off yoghurt (they love it), any cream thats gone over.  My hens also have all they broken egg shells back into the waste bucket, I havent had any issues with this and the pieces feed back into the soil.  All veg waste is given back to the hens.


Also double check the quality of the layers pellets - some are limited to ingredients and rely on soya.  We use Hipeak layers 2 here as organic and I like the mix of ingredients - lots of oils and seeds.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 11:40:33 am »
I run a hand slowly along under the perches and other likely places at dusk, just before the hens go in to roost.  The mites will sense the warmth of my hand and drop onto them.  The other way is to listen outside the coop as soon as the hens have been roosting for a few minutes - the mites will have scrambled onto them and their beaks will be clacking as they try to catch them.  Either way saves a lot of scrabbling around with a torch!

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
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Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 11:45:08 am »
Ok. Definately no noise after they have gone to bed which is a good sign. Will try running my hand under the perch. I'll also have a look at a calcium supplement.

It's just the one hen with the very thin shells, I've thought about culling her but she has the best personality of all the chickens so I guess she's our pet chicken!

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

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chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2016, 01:50:48 pm »
It could be a fright in the night, but my other guess is the Calcium/ Phosphorous balance is wrong because of the extra Calcium given by the ground Oyster shell Dans. The balance in just the layers feed should be correct. You could try giving the one problem hen some cod liver oil- a single shot of 0.5mL should be sufficient as perhaps she is lacking Vitamin D, which is a necessary component in the transfer of Calcium to the oviduct from storage in the bones.

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2016, 02:57:29 pm »
I agree with @chrismahon Could be a calcium deficiency, it is easily remedied by ground up eggshell or oystershell grit. What I do is wash out eggshells, let them dry out in a low oven and then chop them up and store them in an airtight container and mix with their feed morning and evening or just one feed a small handful every day and they do eat it, just make sure it is very finely ground. All the best :thumbsup:
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2016, 03:14:17 pm »
Sorry Waterbuffallofarmer but you have mis-understood my post. It isn't a Calcium deficiency I suggested but a vitamin D deficiency or Phosphorous/ Calcium imbalance. Or it could just be a fright in the night. Ground up eggshells are a bad thing to give as the liver/ kidneys have to work hard to remove the excess Calcium and could fail I was told.

farmers wife

  • Joined Jul 2009
  • SE Wales
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2016, 08:59:01 am »
Supplementation is fine as long as its no more than 10% of the daily diet.  Instead of adding shell to feed you should keep it separate so that hens can self regulate if needed.  A commercial feed is for an average hen but like people some need a top up and one size does not fit all.


Oyster shell being the optimum supplement but should be kept as a separate ration.  My hens have all the food waste including egg shells, meat, fat, veg, salad, nut shells etc.  I was told not to do this but as long as its not a huge amount is fine and never have issues.  My biggest issue last year was just feeding a commercial mash which was seriously lacking something I read the ingredients and wasnt impressed hence why going back to Hipeak No 2.  If birds diets are too high in grains, the phosphorous levels can cause the imbalance.  My hens also have seaweed meal mixed into the feeder.  As my layers are on pasture and moved on regular basis they have a good peck on the ground, grass and weeds.  But I still get the odd - odd egg or soft broken egg.

ruby123bella

  • Joined Jun 2016
Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2016, 06:53:28 pm »
my young cream Legbar used to do that but then I started giving grit and egg food to there diet and shes fine now.

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
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    • Six Oaks
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Re: Soft shelled chicken eggs
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2016, 01:18:05 am »
What is egg food?

So far so good, we've not had any more soft shells so I am hoping that it was a one off. Also had less cracking incidents with our thin shell layer, but I haven't given the oyster shell in a while either.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

www.sixoaks.co.uk

www.facebook.com/pg/sixoakssmallholding

www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

 

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