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soft shelled eggs

  • #2
    Registered Users Posts: 173 ✭✭ tsuzmir


    A bit of advice needed. I have 2 ex bats in back garden and one hen is laying large eggs with very delicate shell, sometimes partially soft. When I got them both were laying ok, both eggs were similar in size, colour and shell thickness. But things started to change around 3 mths ago. She had approx 2 weeks when shell did not form and shellless eggs were found in coop. I wormed them with flubenvet around 5-6 weeks ago and didn't notice any change. They are on layers pellets, very little treats, constant access to oyster shell.
    What could be the reason for such a delicate shell?
    Cheers


Comments

  • #2


    Anytime we've had this its been lack of grit.. We throw in a bucket of coarse sand and all is well again..

    WE find it worse with some of the layers mash brands, currently using one from Pattons feeds and it seems good..


  • #2


    _Brian wrote: »
    Anytime we've had this its been lack of grit.. We throw in a bucket of coarse sand and all is well again..

    WE find it worse with some of the layers mash brands, currently using one from Pattons feeds and it seems good..

    I dont have hens, so I dunno if this is right or not?

    But someome mentioned to me once, that they always crush up the egg shells and give them back to the hens? For grit and for calcium I think? (might not be right on the calcium)

    Does this sound right?


  • #2


    We always did that as well John. Was always told that hens need a lot of calcium. Eggshells, Oyster shells or ground limestone.

    Jut make sure they're finely crushed!


  • #2


    I'd be very careful feeding back the shells to hens, if one gets a taste for them she could well start pecking and breaking eggs to get the shells and then there is only one remedy....CHOP..

    I've been told that if the shells are baked thouroughly then its ok, but thats just too much bother for me...


  • #2


    On feeding shells back to hens:
    EXCELLENT policy! Simply take the shells, quick rinse to remove any leftover albumen, then pop into the micorwave for 2 mins (until brittle) - then pop in a bowl and smash into small pieces. The hens will eat them happily - a source of calcium and good way to get rid of the shells...

    OP your ex-batts are going to be pretty fragile girls after the miserable life they've led. If you are getting soft shelled eggs or no shells at all, this is a sign of lack of calcium.The shell on an egg is 95% calcium!! If you are feeding decent quality layers pellets that is good, but she is obviously not absorbing the calcium. You can boost her calcium absorption by giving VITAMIN D which is needed to absorb calcium. Ive found the best solution though is to give them LIMESTONE FLOUR. You can get this from feed stores (it used to be for horses) Its very cheap for a huge tub. Give the hens a teaspoon of it in the food every day for a week. You should see results in a week or 10 days. After that, since its an ex-batt, I would give them some Limestone Flour at least once or twice a week. Good luck with it.


  • #2


    _Brian wrote: »
    I'd be very careful feeding back the shells to hens, if one gets a taste for them she could well start pecking and breaking eggs to get the shells and then there is only one remedy....CHOP..

    I've been told that if the shells are baked thouroughly then its ok, but thats just too much bother for me...

    Def the case if they get a taste for eggs they will attack any that are laid in the coop.


  • #2


    _Brian wrote: »
    Anytime we've had this its been lack of grit.. We throw in a bucket of coarse sand and all is well again..

    WE find it worse with some of the layers mash brands, currently using one from Pattons feeds and it seems good..

    Yeah this usually cures it. On my experience anyways


  • #2


    soft shells are caused by a lack of calcium, or inability to absorb calcium.
    A shell is made up of 96% calcium. Thats a lot of calcium required every day to make an egg.
    GRIT does not provide calcium. Grit is stored in the crop to help them process food efficiently.
    Calcium is provided by good quality layers pellets. By adding Limestone Flour or another high calcium additive specifically for poultry. If an hen is elderly she will be less efficent in absorbing calcium, in which case shell quality will suffer. Adding some VITAMIN D which is essential for absorption of Calcium will help.
    Apologies if this sounds like Im preaching :)
    Oh, the trick with giving them eggshells is that the shells are smashed up into small pieces (they are very crispy after the microwave) so a hen will not associate the shell pieces with an egg, and wont start eating eggs!!


  • #2


    Thanks guys for your contribution. I do give them crushed egg shell and they seem to like it. Also I give them Fancy Feed pellets which were recommended as best option available. I'll look around for limestone flour. My local agri supply store doesn't stock it so need to investigate further. How should I administer vitamin D?


  • #2


    Thanks guys for your contribution. I do give them crushed egg shell and they seem to like it. Also I give them Fancy Feed pellets which were recommended as best option available. I'll look around for limestone flour. My local agri supply store doesn't stock it so need to investigate further. How should I administer vitamin D?


  • #2


    Fancy Feed pellets are good quality.
    If there is an equestrian place near you, they should have Limestone Flour. You can get it online (its less than E10) - where are you based? Google Limestone Flour Ireland

    Ive always found that the Limestone Flour fixed any soft shell problems pretty quickly - you should see results in a week to 10 days - sprinkle a spoonful on the feed every day til theres an improvement, then as required.

    Ive never had to resort to giving Vitamin D to help with the calcium absorption. You could buy some vitamin D pills and crush one, giving the specific hen a half grape dipped in the vitamin d every day. (I found this to be a brilliant way to get one hen medicated at a time - gobble and its gone!!) Alternatively some cod liver oil. if you have a good poultry supplies place near you, there are supplements you can buy -


  • #2


    We never had any problems with giving our hens their shells. We just crushed them with our hands and put them in the compost leaving the hens to find them as and when. Never had any of them eating the eggs as a result of tasting the shells.


  • #2


    tsuzmir wrote: »
    A bit of advice needed. I have 2 ex bats in back garden and one hen is laying large eggs with very delicate shell, sometimes partially soft. When I got them both were laying ok, both eggs were similar in size, colour and shell thickness. But things started to change around 3 mths ago. She had approx 2 weeks when shell did not form and shellless eggs were found in coop. I wormed them with flubenvet around 5-6 weeks ago and didn't notice any change. They are on layers pellets, very little treats, constant access to oyster shell.
    What could be the reason for such a delicate shell?
    Cheers

    Hello.
    I saw your post from 7 years ago. This is a bit of a long shot but I’ve a hen that is constantly laying shell less eggs. She only 1.5 years old but has had this problem fir a few months. Done a few things to sort it like worming, apple cider vinegar to water, cod liver oil to pellets but still same problem. Other 3 hens laying five.
    Did you solve your problem from a few years ago??


  • #2


    maursom84 wrote: »
    Hello.
    I saw your post from 7 years ago. This is a bit of a long shot but I’ve a hen that is constantly laying shell less eggs. She only 1.5 years old but has had this problem fir a few months. Done a few things to sort it like worming, apple cider vinegar to water, cod liver oil to pellets but still same problem. Other 3 hens laying five.
    Did you solve your problem from a few years ago??

    Hi, your hen constantly laying shell less eggs could have a major problem with CALCIUM - lack of. It might be fixed by giving her LIMESTONE FLOUR in her food - very definitely worth a try, Ive had success with this down through the years. Sometimes a hen will lay soft eggs, due to lack of calcium - but to lay shell-less eggs constantly, is a bit drastic. You can buy Limestone Flour from any equestrian or farmers supplies co-op store. Its not expensive. Put a spoonful in the food every day for about 10 days, you should see results by then. I assume you are feeding quality layers pellets or layers mash - which contains the nutrients a laying hen needs? If you put a bit of vegetable/sunflower oil on the pellets before adding the limestone flour, it will 'coat' the pellets. No harm that your other hens get it too - its a natural product.


  • #2


    aonb wrote: »
    Hi, your hen constantly laying shell less eggs could have a major problem with CALCIUM - lack of. It might be fixed by giving her LIMESTONE FLOUR in her food - very definitely worth a try, Ive had success with this down through the years. Sometimes a hen will lay soft eggs, due to lack of calcium - but to lay shell-less eggs constantly, is a bit drastic. You can buy Limestone Flour from any equestrian or farmers supplies co-op store. Its not expensive. Put a spoonful in the food every day for about 10 days, you should see results by then. I assume you are feeding quality layers pellets or layers mash - which contains the nutrients a laying hen needs? If you put a bit of vegetable/sunflower oil on the pellets before adding the limestone flour, it will 'coat' the pellets. No harm that your other hens get it too - its a natural product.

    Ya I’ll try that anyway and see. No harm in trying. Ya it looks like a problem with Calcium but the others are fine. I don’t any of them go near the oyster shell but I heard they usually self regulate. They free range from around mid day to dark every day and there’s loads of limestone gravel around the place.
    I’ve read it could be that she can’t break down the calcium that she could be lacking in Vit A or Vit D3.
    Would that right??
    She’s very healthy looking, red comb, eating and drinking fine.
    Ya they get Red Mills Layer Pellets which I’d imagine is a good layer feed?


  • #2


    Red Mills Layers should be fine - a balanced feed for hens

    VITAMIN D is required for absorption of calcium yes.

    She may have a defective shell gland - you can do nothing about that though.

    I would go the lack of calcium route first - as its a cheap and easy place to start. Try the Limestone flour - you should see an improvement in 7-10 days if its calcium deficiency.

    My hens wouldnt look at oyster shell :mad:

    I just checked the Red Mills ingredients - theres already Limestone flour in there - and its got Vitamin D, so this girl may be deficient for some reason:

    Composition

    Wheat, Barley, Maize, Calcium Carbonate (limestone Flour), Sunflower Seed Extracted, Soyabean Extracted Toasted (1), Soya Bean Extruded, Cane Molasses, Soya Oil (1), Mono-dicalcium Phosphate, Mineral/vitamin Premix, Sodium Chloride (salt) Colourant: Citraxanthin, Lutein, Zeaxanthin Does Not Contain Meat And Bone Meal This Feed Does Not Contain Fishmeal. (1) Produced From Genetically Modified Soyabeans

    Analytical Constituents

    Protein 15.0%
    Oil 4.5%
    Fibre 5.0%
    Ash 13.0%
    Moisture (Max) 14.0%
    Methionine 0.32%
    Copper 10mg
    Vitamin A 10,000iu/mg
    Vitamin D 33,000iu/mg
    Vitamin E 10iu/mg


  • #2


    aonb wrote: »
    Red Mills Layers should be fine - a balanced feed for hens

    VITAMIN D is required for absorption of calcium yes.

    She may have a defective shell gland - you can do nothing about that though.

    I would go the lack of calcium route first - as its a cheap and easy place to start. Try the Limestone flour - you should see an improvement in 7-10 days if its calcium deficiency.

    My hens wouldnt look at oyster shell :mad:

    I just checked the Red Mills ingredients - theres already Limestone flour in there - and its got Vitamin D, so this girl may be deficient for some reason:

    Composition

    Wheat, Barley, Maize, Calcium Carbonate (limestone Flour), Sunflower Seed Extracted, Soyabean Extracted Toasted (1), Soya Bean Extruded, Cane Molasses, Soya Oil (1), Mono-dicalcium Phosphate, Mineral/vitamin Premix, Sodium Chloride (salt) Colourant: Citraxanthin, Lutein, Zeaxanthin Does Not Contain Meat And Bone Meal This Feed Does Not Contain Fishmeal. (1) Produced From Genetically Modified Soyabeans

    Analytical Constituents

    Protein 15.0%
    Oil 4.5%
    Fibre 5.0%
    Ash 13.0%
    Moisture (Max) 14.0%
    Methionine 0.32%
    Copper 10mg
    Vitamin A 10,000iu/mg
    Vitamin D 33,000iu/mg
    Vitamin E 10iu/mg

    Ya it looks a pretty decent meal.
    I’ll still try the limestone flour and see how it goes. Nothing to lose and it should help the others too.
    I read somewhere that maybe when she gets her first molt it might re-align her. I’m pretty sure she was laying the shell less one all over winter and has never taken a rest so maybe just not enough calcium in her to facilitate her egg production. Did you ever hear of this??
    If I can get as much calcium into her , at least I should know then if it’s a defective shell gland. Would a defective shell gland be common??
    Sorry about all the questions, would there be a calcium supplement to put into drinking water aswell or will I keep adding the apple cider vinegar?


  • #2


    unfortunately TOO MUCH calcium can be toxic!!
    its a natural product so limestone flour wont harm any of them - do coat the pellets in a bit of oil to get the flour to coat them, else it all drops to the bottom of the pan.
    Ive never had a hen lay shell-less eggs more often than once in a blue moon, so dont know if its common or rare to have a defective shell gland. How old is she. If she laid all winter - Ive had some not take breaks at all too - and has a heavy moult she will definitely be in need of more calcium.

    If youre using apple cider vinegar, make sure its with the "mother" - ie unpasturised - shop bought ordinary ACV is no good.

    you can get calcium supplements to add to the water. I havent used it, I try to keep a fairly 'clean' and organic/healthy diet - I like the limestone flour, and I bake/crush shells and feed them back to the hens for calcium (none of mine have ever eaten oyster shell)


  • #2


    aonb wrote: »
    unfortunately TOO MUCH calcium can be toxic!!
    its a natural product so limestone flour wont harm any of them - do coat the pellets in a bit of oil to get the flour to coat them, else it all drops to the bottom of the pan.
    Ive never had a hen lay shell-less eggs more often than once in a blue moon, so dont know if its common or rare to have a defective shell gland. How old is she. If she laid all winter - Ive had some not take breaks at all too - and has a heavy moult she will definitely be in need of more calcium.

    If youre using apple cider vinegar, make sure its with the "mother" - ie unpasturised - shop bought ordinary ACV is no good.

    you can get calcium supplements to add to the water. I havent used it, I try to keep a fairly 'clean' and organic/healthy diet - I like the limestone flour, and I bake/crush shells and feed them back to the hens for calcium (none of mine have ever eaten oyster shell)

    Would you mix the Egg shells in with the feed or in a separate container?
    Got the limestone flour today so will put a bit of cod liver oil on the pellets and then a coat of the limestone flour.
    If I’m honest I’m not holding up much for her but hopefully the shell less eggs don’t break inside her. She had a little vent prolapse over the winter aswell. Probably caused by a shell less egg.
    I bought as a pulled this time last year so I’m guessing she’s around 18 months now. Last year she was actually laying double yoke eggs but don’t know exactly the shell less started happening.


  • #2


    I cook the eggshells in the microwave til very crispy, then grind them up very small, and add to their food. It 'saves' putting the shells in the compost, and if it adds a little bit of calcium to their diet thats good enough for me.
    HATE any prolapsing :(
    See how she goes with the Limestone Flour - its a natural product, so its definitely worth a try
    Hope she improves, shes young enough to have another couple years of good laying - fingers crossed!


  • #2


    All my girls were ex-battery hens. One was with me for 5 years, others didn't make it that long. The general pattern was that when shell started getting softer, that was the sign they will soon stop laying eggs. Like yours, they never touched oyster shells. Tried different things, but in the end, they all just stopped producing eggs sooner or later.


  • #2


    tsuzmir wrote: »
    All my girls were ex-battery hens. One was with me for 5 years, others didn't make it that long. The general pattern was that when shell started getting softer, that was the sign they will soon stop laying eggs. Like yours, they never touched oyster shells. Tried different things, but in the end, they all just stopped producing eggs sooner or later.

    Hi,
    Ya I heard that alright but I guess I’m thinking that because she’s only about 18 months that it’s a bit too early for that. And they were bought as pullets not ex battery so wouldn’t have been under pressure when young.
    I’m worried that’s it’s a defective shell gland. If it’s that I don’t think there’s any cure.
    I’m not sure if I should be happy if she’s not laying at all as opposed to laying a shell less egg every day.
    Don’t think she’s layed at all last few days but they might have eaten it and left no sign of it.


  • #2


    maursom84 wrote: »
    Hi,
    Ya I heard that alright but I guess I’m thinking that because she’s only about 18 months that it’s a bit too early for that. And they were bought as pullets not ex battery so wouldn’t have been under pressure when young.
    I’m worried that’s it’s a defective shell gland. If it’s that I don’t think there’s any cure.
    I’m not sure if I should be happy if she’s not laying at all as opposed to laying a shell less egg every day.
    Don’t think she’s layed at all last few days but they might have eaten it and left no sign of it.

    That shouldn't be a case with your hens and you're 100% right - this is more common with exbatts.

    Most vets will not entertain this too much. Are they farm animals or pets to you? If it's your pet and you want her to live long and happy, get her to exotic pets vet. This will not be cheap but they will find the cause. There's an excellent one in Bray.


  • #2


    tsuzmir wrote: »
    That shouldn't be a case with your hens and you're 100% right - this is more common with exbatts.

    Most vets will not entertain this too much. Are they farm animals or pets to you? If it's your pet and you want her to live long and happy, get her to exotic pets vet. This will not be cheap but they will find the cause. There's an excellent one in Bray.

    Ah they are a bit of both really. Mostly pets but if I have 4 I’d like to be having the 4 of them laying proper eggs if you know what I mean. Do t think I’ll be spending big money to sort it but I wouldn’t be getting rid of her either.
    I think I’ll just try my best to get as much calcium in to her as possible by limestone flour and maybe get some supplement for the drinking water. I can’t imagine the extra calcium would do the other 3 much harm either.


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