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Help - soft shelled eggs
Sun 17-Apr-11
4:06 pm
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debih

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I wonder if anyone can help.

 

We got our chickens about 4 weeks ago, all point of lay.  They were in a barn when we got them and I don't think they had been outside.  About a week in one of them started laying.  So far we have had 4 eggs from her, two of which had double yokes.

 

But we have also had about 4 soft shelled eggs, plus a couple of just yokes.  It does look like it is just the one chicken laying so far, although another does look close.

 

They are eating layers pellets and have a handful of grit once or twice a week.  They have lots of vegetation to be going at as well.

 

They also have quite runny poo.  That does seem to be rather hit and miss though - sometimes it is one chicken, sometimes it is another and most of the time their poo is "normal".

 

Should I be worried or is this all normal for point of lay chickens?

Sun 17-Apr-11
4:51 pm
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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waveHi debih,

I have never had this problem but some pullets do take a short while to get into their laying pattern. But I would leave a container of grit & another of oyster shell out for them so they can access it at any time they want. As for the runny poo this maybe that they haven't previously had a lot of fresh  green food.  I would give them some natural yogurt with their pellets. This should help settle their insides. 

Do you also give them mixed corn as a scratch feed in the late afternoon so they go to bed with a full crop? My chicken hate layers pellets so I feed more mixed corn than pellets. The hens never seem to have loose stools.

What breed of chicken are they?

I'm sure Sue will have more advice.....she is an expert.

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 17-Apr-11
4:57 pm
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Toffeeapple
North Bucks

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Here is Sue's website Debbie.  LINKY.

I'll try that again!

Sun 17-Apr-11
5:18 pm
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darkbrowneggs
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Thanks Hattie - An expert ehh smug ( wheres the icon for someone with a big head)

 

The standard reply to someone who hens are laying soft shelled eggs is to give them more oystershell grit or limestone flour, and though that is good advice, over the years I am beginning to think there is more to it than that

Firstly all birds need what is called sharp grit in order for them to grind their food (ever heard of the saying "as rare as hen's teeth" - hens have no teeth and use the muscles in their crop to grind their food, but need small sharp stones to make the process work)

They also need plenty of calcium to make egg shells - and though they actually use the calcium from their bones for the egg shells, this must of course be replaced

Modern layers pellets contain sufficient calcium for high laying birds, so this should not be a problem but I always have oystershell grit and sharp grit in separate containers so my birds can take what they feel they need

I now think that soft shelled eggs generally occur when birds are coming into or going out of lay, and their "egg production line" is not in full working order.  Also at this time they need a lot of protein, so soft shelled eggs combined with high protein requirements can lead to egg eating which can often become a habit - eggs, after all are quite tasty

So in conclusion if you are feeding layers pellets and have oystershell grit on offer try giving them a bit of high protein feed such as mealworms, or garden worms, make sure the nest boxes are dark to discourage egg eating, and it should all settle down

Sorry for the long post but it is a complicated topic and there is more I could have written but I think this is sufficient to be going on with.

All the best

Sue

Mon 18-Apr-11
1:49 pm
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debih

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I'm sure I have just typed a response but it has disappeared!!!!

 

Just to say thanks - I will keep an eye on them and also let them have some grit in a bowl for them to help themselves to rather than give it to them once or twice a week.  I will go and get them some mealworms tomorrow to see if that helps.

 

Hopefully they will start laying properly soon (another is starting to lay as when I went up to see them this lunch time I had two soft shelled eggs on the floor of the house).

Fri 22-Apr-11
12:03 am
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Terrier
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My chickens often lay soft shelled eggs as they come back in to full lay after winter, but they soon sort themselves out. As long as they have access as described above, they should settle down.

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