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Leghorn laying soft eggs

Hi,

We got 3 hens in summer 2020.
2 bluebells and a leghorn.
Fox got one of the bluebells on stephens day.
During the winter months and continuing now the leghorn is laying soft eggs.
Iíve tried a couple of things:
Provided oyster shells, added cod liver oil to layer pellets, Apple Cider Vinegar to water.

The 2 of them usually free range during the day from about 11am to 5pm and then they are in a coop and run.
The leghorn looks brightly during the day and in good health.
I donít think sheís eating the oyster shells.
This week Iíve added egg shells to the layer pellets to see if that helps.
Whatís happening this week is she wouldnít lay for 2 days and then lay a soft egg for 2 days in a row usually before 8am.
The water I give them is soft water, would that make a difference?
I think sheís about 18 months to 2 years old.
The other lady is laying perfect every day with no soft ones.
Any help or advice please.

somers.maurice
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

I had that problem with a bantam hen I bought and I tried everything with her without any success - I think it was old age

polishbantams
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Are all her eggs soft Shell or just some?

Joseph lawler
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Hi guys,

Ya all her eggs are soft shell.
I havenít given them anything for worms since I got them but waiting on a delivery.
But have checked droppings and they seem fine although sometimes loose.
Doesnít seem to be moulting either.

somers.maurice
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

I presume seeing as the others are bluebells that she is a hybrid rather than a pure breed leghorn. Hybrids tend to wear out quickly and are more prone to egg laying problems than pure breeds.

Joseph lawler
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Ya Iíd be thinking sheís a hybrid alright.
Would it be off season thing or is it a case of less eggs and not soft shell one?
Iíd know very little about them if Iím honest only what I read up on.

I didnít get the exact ages of them either when I bought them which was a mistake but itís strange with this one as she sometimes layed double yokes in the summer.
They free ranged nearly all day today so Iíd be thinking sheíd get whatever she need free ranging or should I keep her in the run for a few days and mix the oyster shells into the pellets maybe?

somers.maurice
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

The fact that the other one is laying OK I would say she's getting everything she needs. Probably she's just not able to absorb it.

Joseph lawler
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

What would be good for that?
Sorry for all the questions.

somers.maurice
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

I don't know if there is anything more you can do. The fact that all the eggs are soft shell seems like shes just not able to produce a hard shell anymore. They are bred to be laying machines and unfortunately in some cases the body just isn't able to keep up. In answer to question about the off season older hens just stop laying altogether for the winter and then start slowly back about this time of the year. The soft water shouldn't make any difference either. Sorry I can't be more helpful.

Joseph lawler
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Haven't used it myself but I see an egg shell improver advertised here on the mceoin site on left. Maybe it would be worth a try.

Joseph lawler
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

Thanks for the advice Joseph.
Iíll worm them in the next few days.
And Iíll try that shell improver, worth a shot anyway.

I might try diatomaceous earth too and see does stiffen up the droppings.

On a different note, I heard that only having 2 hens isnít good for them?
Any truth in that?
Will be looking to get in 2 more I think in next few weeks.

somers.maurice
Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

So, I wouldn't try DE. Its a controversial subject but all in all I don't think it'll help.

Yes, having 2 hens can be a bit lonely. Having 9 or 10 and a roo is often happy for them, but if you can't keep a roo, getting a few more hens should help... however, you'll probably want to get more than 2 or they will be bullied by the current hens.

Sulky Bantam
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Having just two means if anything happens to one you have a solitary hen which is not good. Getting more you will need to keep them separate for about 2 weeks if possible to prevent the fighting but also to make sure they aren't carrying any diseases. If they can see each other without meeting it gives them a chance to get used to each other. The DE is very useful dusted around the house,under perches and in the nest boxes to deter the dreaded red mite! The loose droppings will probably be sorted by the wormer, lots of variations are just normal anyway. Be warned keeping fowl is addictive but keeping it smaller is easier and you are less lightly to run into problems. It's a great hobby so enjoy it.

Joseph lawler
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Thanks.
Ya the plan was only to keep 3 but now that the fox has got 1, Iím probably just going get 2 more.
4 is plenty as Iíve only a small coop and run.
Any more would be too much.
Just on keeping the 2 new girls away from the existing 2.
Iíd probably just cage off a part of the run but would need a temporary place for them to sleep for the 2 weeks.
Iíve a huge area for free ranging. Would the fighting be very bad?

Another burst soft egg this morning in the coop at 7.30

somers.maurice
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

How old are your hens and how old would the new ones be?

Yes, they would need a separate coop for a time at least

Sulky Bantam
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Old hens are around 18 months to 2 years old.
The new ones will hopefully be at point of lay.

On worming,
I ordered the verm X pellets. Would they do it?
I see some talk about Flubenvet.
Is that stuff better.

somers.maurice
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Verm X is not a wormer, it's more of a preventative.
Flubenvet is cheapest, effective and available.

Yes, the new hens will be bullied at first, but if you put them in a separate coop + run with a view of each other at first that could ease things a bit.

Sulky Bantam
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

The fighting shouldn't be too bad with just 2 and 2. They need to establish a new pecking order! Let them mix in your big area so that they have plenty of room to keep out of each others way. Keeping them in for a time also means when they do go out they know where to come home to roost. Best to be there at going in time for the first few nights until routine is established. Getting point of lay or near enough will mean that there isn't much difference in size of both lots.

Joseph lawler
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

PM sent.

Joseph lawler
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Did you decide on a wormer?

Sulky Bantam
Thursday, February 25th, 2021

No not yet. Hadnít much time to check products up today.

somers.maurice
Friday, February 26th, 2021

Ya I went with flubenvet.
The Verm X came last night so gave them some of that anyway.
Canít do them that much youíd think.

Iím donít think they have worms but seeing that I havenít worked them since I got them I better do it anyway.
Hopefully might sort soft shell egg issue.

somers.maurice
Friday, February 26th, 2021


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