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The soft eggshell saga continues.

I'm starting to think that there is no real answer to this problem but the latest steps in the saga might be of interest.

I tried all the suggestions for the soft eggshell problems with my khaki campbells which was basically cutting out treats and providing oyster shell/ ground eggshells.

I have no ducks left now from that batch having replaced them with Welsh Harlequins, hatched from eggs almost a year back.

I also put in some hen and goose eggs to fill the incubator a bit.

I have not ground any shell and added it to the feed as I tried with the originals, but I have left a feeder filled with oyster shell in close proximity to the layers pellets.

I now find that after a few months of laying good, strong eggs, the odd shells are soft, just as happened with the Khaki Campbells.

I have never seen the ducks go for the shell, but the chickens tuck into it on a regular basis.

The chicken eggs are fine, I have four, which is around 30% of the poultry.

I'm starting to think that ducks are not practical, but I cannot think what the problem might be.

The ground is sandy, a sort of deposition of glacier melt I suppose, being in West Kerry. The ducks are free ranging also.
Their diet is layers pellets, with treats of peas and lettuce.

Needless to say, if anyone has any new ideas it would be appreciated.

The birds are all healthy, although one problem I have is far too many drakes, I need to remove three really?

Could it be stress causing the problem this time and the same problem with the eggs be a coincidence due to the stress?

I don't think it can be a virus and as the only leftover from the old flock is a drake, It can't be genetic. The ducks were all started on layers pellets after the crumb which like the Campbells has been fine for the first few months.

If anyone has any ideas.......?

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

It is the peas, they are high in phosphorus, the ratio of calcium to phosphorus in the diet should be between 6 and 8 to 1. When the phosphorus is too high it is being taken up be the body in preference to calcium, regardless of how much calcium you are feeding.

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

Many thanks.
In fairness Joseph lawler advised me to cut out all treats and just give the pellets with the old flock.

Maybe I didn't give them enough time, I assumed as there was no change that the peas were not a cause and reinstated the treats.

It looks like I now have about 6kg of frozen peas to work into an interesting dish!

I was using two bags a day in this warm weather to keep the cool box temperature down at the "honesty box" by the gate.

I thought it was a great system as the peas were thawed but still cool at the end of the day.
It was fun to see the feeding frenzy :-)

Many thanks, looking back I can see this is certainly the most likely answer as the peas were not a big part of the diet in cold weather.

Many thanks
Your help is much appreciated.

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

That's interesting. Didn't know the science behind it. Hope your eggs improve soon. Looks like chilled pea and mint soup for you for a while!

Joseph lawler
Sunday, June 25th, 2023

Yes indeed, thanks Joseph.
The other thing that I guess might not be good are bananas.

They really go wild for a few overripe bananas, but I guess they are all calories, there is no calcium anyway so I have stopped those also.

I have some lettuce plants kicked off and I'll pile the Blood, fish and bone in to give them the best chance at high calcium levels.

I'm feeling kind of guilty now, maybe if I had more patience the original Khaki's would still be here :-(

The Welsh Harlequins are more colourful though and the Drakes are a more substantial meal too!

I have nearly overcome the hangups with seeing the poultry off :-)

On a final note egg sales are fine, I often get more than I ask for dropped into the box and if I remove my time from consideration the money easily covers food, straw and oyster shell.

Thanks for your initial advice Joseph, I did follow it but obviously not for long enough :-(

I will make the changes permanent this time!

Sunday, June 25th, 2023

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