Friday, July 27, 2012

Ginger's egg quality problems continuing

One hen, Ginger, has been laying the occasional soft-shelled egg this summer so we've been trying to improve her diet. So far, it is not helping. She generally alternates between a regular egg, an egg with a chalky coating, and a soft-shelled egg. From Monday - Thursday this week she didn't lay anything at all, indicating that she may be eggbound.  Sure enough she had a bulge just under her vent. This is the first time I've had this happen, so I looked up what to do on the forum at Anyhow, yesterday I followed the recommended cures -- warm Epsom salt bath, heating pad, putting olive oil into the vent with a dropper, and the rubber glove treatment. This is probably too much information. Anyhow, this morning she laid two eggs. One had a soft shell and was broken in the nest, and the other was the chalky coated egg. This can't go on...
Update on 8/12: No problems this week....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Double-yolk egg from new layer

The new hen pictured here just started laying eggs a couple weeks ago. Most of the eggs were still on the smallish side -- which is normal -- but then we got this huge one with a double yolk!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chickens back in the coop

After a few days of letting the mothers and chicks free in the yard, we've moved them into the regular coop. They seem to be doing fine. I thought we might keep them out to mow our grass for us for a while, but this seems simpler.

Hen laying soft-shelled eggs

Ginger, a one year old Black Copper Maran, has periodically been laying strange looking eggs. What caught my attention were two recent ones with papery soft shells. Some of her eggs also have some whitish areas on the shell. After looking this up, it seems that it is a sign of an unbalanced diet lacking in calcium and protein.

This makes sense, as I rarely see Ginger eating the regular chicken feed (pellets and oyster shell). In fact, she is a real hog of kitchen scraps and often chases the other chickens away if we put something out. We used to think it was kind of funny -- Ginger knew how to work the system and get the good stuff. But it seems to be a problem, especially since we throw out a lot of bread and vegetable scraps that would be low in protein and calcium.

Our solution right now is to separate her for a while and only give her access to the regular pellets and oyster shell. We'll wait to throw any scraps out to the other chickens when Ginger is in her own cage. We'll try this for a little while. I'd hope we could throw out bread, etc. without one chicken eating it all.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Free ranging family

Two hens are more protective than one so we decided to let these guys free range. Look at the scratching claws on that chicken. We won't have to mow the backyard anymore this summer.