Soft eggs/worms

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baby tweedy

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Soft eggs/worms
« on: February 05, 2019, 12:27 »
Hi, I need help please. I have recently rescued 2 ex caged hens to keep my 2 bantams company, they were in poor condition- oven ready as you call it. One seems to have light coloured poop and is sloppy and the eggs are either very thin shells or no shell ( keep finding yoke in coop) I give them acv in the water and have wormed them with Flubenvet. The comb is pale on one of them but the feathers have come back really well. I have attached a pic of the poop - are they worms. Not what I was expecting if they are.  Thanks for your help (sorry about the poop pic)
320EBC7D-81A7-46F5-8631-58E155740FA2.jpeg

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New shoot

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2019, 20:18 »
Hi and welcome.

Thin shelled eggs can be linked to a hen coming to the end of their laying life or bad diet.  Some hens also seem prone to it, but I would have thought caged birds would be dispatched fairly quickly if they kept laying them.

Hybrid layers are bred to produce eggs daily over a short life span, so the ex-batts you have will have much shorter life expectancy and laying life than your bantams.  Growing a whole new set of feathers also takes it out of a hen and could account for a lot.

They will have also been fed on layers pellets, so any change to their diet could upset their digestive systems.  It doesn't look like worms in their poop, but it could be undigested corn.  If you are feeding this, I would stop for a while.  All new foods need to be introduced gradually and they need access to grit so they can digest corn.  Layers pellets contain calcium that should help with the thin shells, but you could also offer oyster shell grit (as well as normal grit).

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baby tweedy

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2019, 22:04 »
Thanks new shoot, I have been giving them grit with oyster shell and chick crumb as their beaks had been cut down  :( I had given them corn so will stop, I did think it looked like corn. So maybe just stick to layers pellets and grit? Thanks again

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Debz

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 13:19 »
I've got ex caged birds too and while they were quite well feathered, I have recently started getting quite a few soft shelled eggs.  I suspect they are about to have the most tremendous moult though so I'm feeding them layers mash, given them access to plenty of grit and they are getting fish versions of cat food two mornings a week to try and aid them through.  For hens that have spent most of their lives in very small cages, they have the most amazing personalities.  We've had ours since August.

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New shoot

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2019, 09:36 »
maybe just stick to layers pellets and grit?

I think that might be best for a while and then introduce them to the delights of being a back yard chuck with a varied diet bit by bit  :)

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grinling

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2019, 13:57 »
Please may I clarify that grit and oyster shell are 2 different supplements.
If free ranging on soil, they should find plenty of grit, they need it to grind down food.
Oyster shell is a form of calcium and should be provided, I use a cat dish as my run is concrete, but if soil a flower pot stuck down with a tent peg works. They need this for egg making but also need greens or access to grass to absorb.
Worse case scenario, the hens will eat egg shells as they are thin for the calcium.

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stephen_o

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2019, 20:18 »
Hi, I am also getting concerned about soft/shellless eggs being laid by my girls. I have 4 in 2 coops, 1 coop is a bluebelle that has been with me for 3.5 years and was unknown age when I had her, as she was laying daily I estimated her to be 2 years old so now would be 5.5 years old roughly, the other bird is a ex-caged rescue from August 2016 and she recovered from oven ready to be fully feathered and has padded out the bones so to speak without being fat, these seem to have started laying shelless eggs a couple of weeks ago which is in line with last year but I would of hoped that I would of seen signs of a shell by now. The other coop has 2 ex-free range rescues from April 18, these came to me in good condition and one has been bullied and had some of her feathers ripped out by the other group during attempts to merge them so these are now kept seperate, her flock mate is in good condition and doesn't get bullied by the others. these hens were laying 1 or 2 eggs a day until before Christmas when normal usable eggs are now 3-6 per week and there might be evidence of another 4 to 6 broken soft shelled eggs in the coop. These I always find the shell. Both groups of hens get the same feed - heygates country layers pellets, and have had acv in the water last week, they are twice a week fed salad as a treat, no corn is given. Both coops have 2 tubs of Jontos mixed poultry grit which supposedly has both types of grit in and I do occassionally see the girls dip there beaks in it. I have this week baked and ground up the eggshells and added them to the layers pellets. Is there anything I can do that I haven't already? They are allowed to roam part of the garden behind fencing but all the grass and green of any description has gone, attempts to reseed have failed and planting of quick grown herbs has also been eliminated by them, the ground is clay and is a quagmire at the moment as it was last year and the year before.

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2019, 08:20 »
Have you wormed them Stephen?  Even a hen fed a good diet can be worn down by the burden of internal worms.

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grinling

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2019, 21:33 »
The bluebell and the ex bat are probably coming to the end of their laying life. Most warrens are changed at 18months and live for 3-4 years.
I find with mixed grit and oyster, hens do not dig for the oyster and if free ranging then they find grit.
Is it possible to make a portable run area; I have a greenhouse frame wrapped in chicken wire with a tunnel leading from the pop hole in the run door to it.
Creating a split grassed area will help for the grass to recuperate.

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stephen_o

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2019, 09:50 »
Hi, they do need to be wormed again. I had not realised how time flies since they were last done! I will order the feed today. It isn't unfortunately possible to move the runs or create a portable area without putting the hens on my front lawn which I don't mind personally as they would do it a lot of good but in terms of risk from attention and neighbourly issues isn't viable. The existing outdoor run is hemmed in by rhubarb and a pond and the garden is split level with me growing potatos, rhubarb and strawberries amongst others in the other areas. I did reseed last year and try to keep the girls off it whilst it germinated but the germination was poor and was very quickly wiped out.

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grinling

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Re: Soft eggs/worms
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2019, 17:27 »
You could grow trays of grass, new one each week. Swiss chard and perpetual spinach is usual as you can take a few leaves of each plant and then bin/compost the leaf stalk.



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