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Author Topic: Chicken laying soft shell eggs  (Read 929 times)

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ChickenBox

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Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« on: November 20, 2011, 22:33 »
Hi,

I have been having a long-running spell of one of my hens, Clara, laying soft shell eggs. It has been going on for at least 3 months now. She is nearly 2 years old.

With the 3 hens we went through a long period of just 1 egg per day most of spring / summer, then around 3 months ago the soft eggs started, which makes the laying box messy for everyone else and is causing hygiene problems and is a bit depressing.

The other 2 hens are now laying a normal egg each per day and have been for around a month but still the soft egg comes from Clara every day.

Calcium uptake is provided by Oyster shell grit, ground up cuttlefish bone and ground eggshells, the other 2 hens have never had soft shells using this. All hens have regular access to the back garden and eat a variety of plants and minibeasts as well as their layer pellets and a limited quantity of kitchen scraps.

Clara is an Amber Star.

Has anyone else had this experience?


viettaclark

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 23:20 »
I had exactly the same thing with my Bluebelle. I thought she was coming to the end of her lay (she's 3 in January) but after many weeks she just started laying normally again!
I put it down to the introduction of new chooks and now they're all integrated.
Has there been anything to upset Clara? Building work, young children etc etc?

ChickenBox

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2011, 10:47 »
I don't think there has been anything to upset her, however I can't say what happens when I'm at work or not around.

viettaclark

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 13:40 »
I felt so sad every time she laid a "softy"....nearly every day......because she laid at night and the egg broke as it slipped through the rungs. Such a waste of her effort and waste of an egg!!! However, I didn't have an awful mess in the nest box to clear up....although the chooks clean up quite well!!
You can eat softies if they're unbroken by the way, as long as you're quick!!

helens-hens

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 17:15 »
As viettaclark says, you may find she will just start laying normally again.

I had exactly the same problem for a good 3 months with 1 of my hens who is about the same age as Clara. I took her to the vet who prescribed a calcium and vitamin D supplement. The supplement didn't seem to help and the vet thought she probably had something wrong in her reproductive system, possibly down to a mycoplasma type infection she had last year.

However at the beginning of October all of a sudden she started laying hard shelled eggs again. I had before this time decided to only give the supplement occasionally (having heard that continuous use of calcium supps can be dangerous) so I am not quite sure what happened! The eggs wouldn't always win prizes for their looks but I treat every one as a bonus.

As well as the oystershell you could try giving her a calcium supplement (or even poultry spice which has a high content) along with a couple of drops of cod liver oil (this contains vit D which is essential for calcium absorption, they normally produce this for themselves with sunlight but this time of the year we don't get much of it!).

For as long as she is laying softies keep an eye out for egg yolk peritonitis. This happens when the yolk and shell become separated before being laid and the yolk stays in the hen's abdomen where it can cause peritonitis. My vet told me that a sign of this is if the hen appears to 'waddle' like a duck when walking.

Hope this helps.
Helen

ChickenBox

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2011, 14:39 »
I'm glad to say she doesn't waddle like a duck. Hopefully she will come around.

viettaclark

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 23:34 »
I've now got another hen doing it! A softy every morning under the rungs!
Our neighbours had very noisy work going on....maybe she got unsettled.

funkychook

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Re: Chicken laying soft shell eggs
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 17:19 »
I've now got another hen doing it! A softy every morning under the rungs!
Our neighbours had very noisy work going on....maybe she got unsettled.

I had one today a softie. I have put it down to the sound of the wind flapping some plastic near their coop. I read that just a noise or small change can cause this.

Its sad really all that hard work for nothing. Hope yours settles down soon. I do worry about my girls as 2 are really greedy, and 2 who havent layed yet have to wait until the pigs have finished and I wonder if it is a new layer today. Shall have to keep an eye out. They do have oyster grit available everyday.



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