December 15, 2012 at 10:18 pm #257483
Yesterday one of our hens spent all day on the nest, to the point where I was worried she was going broody and removed her myself. Underneath her was a mess of egg contents (broken yolk and white mixed with the straw) with no sign of a shell. We’ve had two shell-less eggs laid in the past two weeks, and I assumed it was another one of those that had broken in the nest. The hen seemed a bit subdued but otherwise okay.
She had breakfast this morning, but when I went to feed them this afternoon she wasn’t at all interested and went back to sit in the garden. Now I’m worried that she’s had an egg break inside her. Her vent may be a bit swollen. No sign of blood or bits of passed eggshell. The girls get milk daily (leftover children’s breakfast) and I also use a liquid calcium supplement.
I know we’re supposed to give her a warm bath but it’s a bit late in the day to be doing that. She’s upstairs in a cardboard box for the night. Has anyone had success nursing a hen through this?December 16, 2012 at 1:10 am #529664JayneMember
I had a similar incident with one of my ladies lately, I tried to hold a warm, wet towel to her but she would not have it so I gave her a massage which seemed to help her a little. Being late at night and not feeling I could do much more for her I left her alone. In the morning she was up with the others eating and running when I let them out of the pen. I can not put this down to anything I did but she seemed to pull through herself.. I hope your girl does the same. Perhaps someone with better knowledge could offer some advice.December 16, 2012 at 10:05 am #529665
Thanks Jayne. Like yours, my girl seems much perkier this morning. I just put her out to have breakfast with the others. Fortunately she’s the tamest of the three so I can pick her up to check on her whenever I want to. Fingers crossed and see how she goes, I suppose.December 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm #529666casalentaMember
Rebecca post=351509 wrote:
I know we’re supposed to give her a warm bath
A warm bath is a good idea – it relaxes them and helps them pass anything that’s left over inside. They seem to love it and sit there quite happily (once you’ve got them settled). I know it sounds rather gross, but you can also have a feel around inside for any egg shells and pull them out, or at least give the vent area a good wash with soap and water. I also put a bit of minced garlic in their water as a natural antibiotic for a while just in case the shell has caused some internal damage that could become infected.
Glad to hear she’s feeling better today.December 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm #529667GKindredMember
I don’t raise chickens (yet) but have read extensively on the subject in preparation.
There are two things that I will mention and hopefully it goes over well 🙂
#1 – Milk calcium is the wrong kind of calcium for increasing bone/egg shell strength.
#2 – On the eggs that are laid and usable, sterilize the shells once used, crush them into a powder and refeed them to your chooks.
This will get the right kind of calcium back into their diet and should provide stronger eggs in future lays.December 16, 2012 at 7:30 pm #529668BlueWrenMember
I agree about the milk.Chooks do enjoy the odd feed of dairy – yoghurt, kefir, whey etc – and I don’t think it does them any harm but doesn’t help the eggs.( Same as milk is no good for human bones actually , especially for anyone who already has osteoporosis , but that’s another story.)
I wash egg shells and then when I have a heaped ice cream container full just dry them in a slow oven until very brittle.Then just crush them up into small pieces, I use a rolling pin in the shallow oven tray I bake them in.They don’t need to be powdered, and feed to the chooks in a separate container.The chooks will help themselves. Perfect recycling!December 16, 2012 at 8:06 pm #529669GKindredMember
BlueWren post=351538 wrote: I don’t think it does them any harm but doesn’t help the eggs.( Same as milk is no good for human bones actually , especially for anyone who already has osteoporosis , but that’s another story.)
I was hinting at that when I mentioned ‘Bones’ 😉
The reason why I said powder was because for the parts the chickens don’t eat, will be absorbed easier into the ground.December 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm #529670
I should say that the only reason the chooks get milk is because the breakfast leftovers are wasted otherwise (and they seem to really enjoy it!). I’ve tried the baked and crushed eggshells but it just seems to stimulate egg eating in my girls no matter how finely I crush the shells. Maybe I should try mixing it with their mash. I suspect there is a problem with this particular hen – although we’ve only recently recognised the presence of shell-less eggs, in hindsight I think she’s been doing it regularly for a while.
In any case, she seems fine now, back to her normal activity and appetite levels, though she hasn’t laid today or yesterday. Probably not a bad thing. I just hope she did pass whatever was in there and isn’t going to go downhill when she has another egg move down.December 17, 2012 at 12:59 am #529671HummerKeymaster
There isn’t as much calcium in milk as we might think. Hens would gain much more from a variety of fresh daily greens, grit & a well balanced diet.
I just did a quick google search & found this.. Hope it helps a little 🙂
Chickens need a lot of calcium to create good, hard shells, so most incidences of shell-less eggs in an adult hens are related to not having enough calcium in the diet. Young hens may lay a shell-less egg or two right as they begin to lay eggs for the first time, before their systems have “gotten into the groove” of laying. If your girls are on a proper diet of lay ration and have oyster shell free choice, they should have all the calcium they need. They also need Vitamin D and a proper balance of other vitamins so they can process the calcium. Lots of snacks or scraps can throw off the nutrient balance of their diets or give them too much salt.
Disturbances at night while they are sleeping–a predator prowling around, or a big storm, for example– can also sometimes upset their system and cause shell-less eggs. If that is what’s happening, some of the other girls’ eggs may have bands or “checks” on them, as the laying process was disturbed briefly before resuming its normal course. If disturbances are the problem, when they cease, the shell problems should cease, too.
Another possibility has to do with the salt in their diet. Too much salinity can cause shell-less or thin-shelled eggs. So, sometimes if they are drinking water that is highly softened, it can contain a problem amount of salts for them.
It could also simply be a defective shell gland; it that is the case there is nothing to be done about it.
Lastly, infectious bronchitis can also cause thin shelled eggs, or eggs with no shells. Chances are good you would have noticed respiratory symptoms. If you suspect your chicken has a case of IB, you should get her to a vet for a diagnosis immediately. There are some other illnesses, such as egg drop syndrome, that could cause the same thing. If you have eliminated everything else, your vet may be able to help you.December 17, 2012 at 11:50 am #529672
It is a bit suspicious for egg drop syndrome, isn’t it? Still, it only seems to be the one hen at the moment. I don’t believe she has a respiratory problem and there is no sign of any problems with the eggs laid by the other girls. This particular hen has always been prone to laying thin-shelled eggs and eggs with uneven calcium deposition, and she seems to drop quite a few from the perch overnight (I find them if I go down early enough in the morning, smashed underneath her spot on the perch).
Their diet is: a commercial layer mash, leftover breakfast (usually weet-bix or porridge), leftover dinner veges (salad and cooked) and meat, with a small amount of calcium syrup daily. They have shellgrit available though they don’t bother with it much. I don’t add salt when I cook and we generally don’t eat pre-prepared foods, so they shouldn’t be getting too much salt from food, though I don’t know what our water is like.
It doesn’t really worry me if she’s not able to lay a lot of viable eggs, as long as she’s well.December 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm #529673TropicalRoseParticipant
I’m glad your chicken was ok after that Seedling. I just lost a hen from the same thing and as I only had two hens and they were pets it was a bit upsetting. I have just taken on two older discarded hens as company for the remaining girl and they are all happy together and laying enough eggs for my small needs. Happy chooking
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