CHAR­LOTTE SHARES A TIP

Your Chickens - - Charlotte's Chickens -

HY­BRIDS LAY­ING SOFT-SHELLED EGGS

I find I some­times get a per­sis­tent soft-shelled egg layer among my hy­brids and no amount of oys­ter­shell con­sumed makes the slight­est dif­fer­ence. Shell-less or soft-shelled eggs with just the mem­brane around the egg can be quite a com­mon prob­lem. This may happen in young pul­lets – the egg goes down through the oviduct so quickly that there is no time for the shell to be made. Some­times pul­lets are ad­just­ing to their new egg-lay­ing func­tions with just the first few eggs be­ing shell-less. If the egg has a very thin shell, there may not be enough cal­cium or vitamin D in the diet so ex­tra oys­ter­shell should be given. If a hen is still lay­ing soft-shelled eggs af­ter two or three weeks, it may be due to some in­her­ent weak­ness in the strain which does not al­low proper as­sim­i­la­tion of cal­cium or an in­her­ent mal­func­tion­ing of the re­pro­duc­tive tract – this could have been caused by in­fec­tious bron­chi­tis or an­other dis­ease when the hen was younger or in­ten­sive breed­ing may have led to mal­formed ovaries. With my prob­lem lay­ers I think the lat­ter is the case and there is noth­ing that I can do about it. Of­ten I am able to res­cue the egg be­fore other hens get in the nest box and eat it. If the hens get to it first the nest box bed­ding gets wet and egg yolk drib­bles over the other eggs which is al­ways a nightmare!

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