Thin-shelled egg

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dianefairhall
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Thin-shelled egg

Post by dianefairhall »

One of our hens (Izzie, the Bluebell) laid an egg with a shell so thin that it cracked when OH picked it up. This is the first occurrence of this and her previous egg (2 days ago) was normal. We only give them oyster shell occasionally because they normally free range and I think get plenty from the garden. Two questions: Do I need to worry, and should I give them grit more often? The other two egg shells from Skye and Morag were normal.

PS: Chicken freedom tomorrow!
Icemaiden
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by Icemaiden »

I'd give them a supply of oystershell grit full time, Diane. They'll help themselves to it when they need it & leave it alone when they don't.
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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Marigold
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by Marigold »

Yes I ageee with Icemaiden. I have a second feeder which I keep filled with a 50-50 mix of oyster shell and chicken flint grit. If yours free range, they can probably find enough little stones not to need the flint grit, but if they live in a big covered run like mine, the grit us essential for their digestion.
It’s also good to regularly give them Nettex mineral powder in a damp mash feed. It has probiotics and seaweed as well as minerals which support egg shell making. Just giving calcium, eg in oyster shell, doesn’t work very well as there’s a complex interplay of minerals enabling calcium takeup in older hens.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by dianefairhall »

Thank you for the advice, ladies. I will make grit permanently available. Izzie laid today and the shell is normal. The girls are legally free-ranging again so I expect they will be happier now.
Icemaiden
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by Icemaiden »

Hi Diane. Do make sure that they get oystershell grit & not just plain grit...
Chickens are a girl's best friend (though diamonds would be nice too!)
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dianefairhall
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by dianefairhall »

I only have oystershell, Icemaiden.
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rick
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by rick »

As above - Mine get a lot of greens which may dilute the calcium content in the layers feed a bit. They are always keen when I top up the mixed grit and shell pot, picking out the shell mostly. Vit D is also important but they should get plenty of that from the feed and by sunbathing their feathers and preening. A very occasional poor shell when the daylight and laying cycle gets out of sync is normal (a hiccup in the cycle flipping from evening to morning.) They get their water dosed with Battles Poultry Drink every couple of weeks. I'm not sure how much that helps but at least it ensures that trace minerals are never short.
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dianefairhall
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by dianefairhall »

Thank you, Rick. They have been sunbathing for the last few days. I think it maybe was the change in daylight as after the equinox daylight increases here dramatically. Her comb is really red so I think she's OK.
bigyetiman
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by bigyetiman »

We have a small feeder with oystershell and grit hanging permanently in the run as well, which seems to work ok.
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chrismahon
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Re: Thin-shelled egg

Post by chrismahon »

They need a Calcium /Phosphorous balance at around 8 /1 to move the Calcium from store in the bones to the egg shell- these proportions should be in the feed, so adding extra Calcium grit may make it worse by creating a mineral imbalance. Calcium for the egg shell doesn't come from the feed directly. It goes from the feed to storage in the bone structure and is then taken from there to the egg shell- a very complex process requiring an amount of Phosphorous and which can easily go wrong. First thing to ensure is they have no worm burden, as that can often unbalance systems.
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