If you follow me over on Instagram, you might remember that I have had some egg laying issues lately. It all started about 3 weeks ago when I found a soft shelled egg on the floor of the coop underneath the roosts. I could pinpoint that it was Little Girl since it was under her spot on the roost. This happened about 2 times and then I noticed Elsie wasn’t feeling well. Then I saw a whole egg without a shell underneath her roost. So I started my investigation. I’ve had soft-shelled eggs before near molting time and Elsie had just undergone a molt. Of course the girls are now 2 years old and I know they start slowing down with their laying plus they will start to have more issues with forming eggs. I also thought it could be stress from living at the fishing lodge. When we moved here last fall, the chickens had a really hard time adjusting. Then winter came and there weren’t as many people, or dogs, around and the chickens settled in. But now it’s spring and fishing season is in full gear and I thought perhaps the girls were having a hard time again. So I kept an eye on them, checked them for molting and stress, and gave them some calcium.
So 2 weeks go by. I start getting more eggs (well, I consistently get 1 egg every other day, sometimes I get 2 eggs per day). I keep track of the eggs since I still don’t know which chicken lays which egg. I did discover that Gertie is the one laying consistently. So I now know what her eggs look like. But then I started getting another egg but can’t figure out who it belongs to. But then I ended up with another soft shelled egg underneath Little Girl. Keep in mind I don’t know if the Partridge Rocks (Elsie and Clare) are laying. So long story short after thinking about everything and doing some research, I realized that the reason they are not laying is because I’ve been giving them too many treats and they are not eating their food! So they are not getting the nutrients they need in order to lay hard shelled eggs. Here’s the bottom line, I have some pans that I give treats in. You’ve probably seen them. You can buy them at Tractor Supply in the farm animal section. I put their food in there and mix it with other things-oatmeal, food scraps, etc. But the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of leftover kitchen scraps and that’s what I’ve been giving them for treats and not mixing their food in with it. And I fill the pan up. Yes, I know. For 4 girls I fill that pan right up. I really think this has been the issue. So I gave them a big pan of their food, oatmeal, crushed calcium, milk, and yogurt. I did this for a couple of days and along with stopping all treats. The girls have perked right up. I got two eggs the next day (one of them was cracked but had a hard shell). Then I didn’t get any eggs. And this morning I had 2 eggs by 9AM.
I was debating for a few days of whether I wanted to keep this flock. Initially I had the conversation that the flock isn’t really producing and should I get more birds. Then it turned into should I keep this flock because they aren’t producing and just get a new flock. And then it turned into this flock isn’t healthy because of the soft shelled eggs so should I keep them? But then they all perked up and I realized the issue was definitely preventable. So we’re good to go for now I think!
All the pictures of the chickens above were taken this past week. I think they look good. Overall I think they’re healthy. We just need to not give so many treats! Or combine the treats with some of their food to insure they are eating their food.
I threw in the picture of our latest #chickenselfiesunday for good measure. I have some fun things planned for the girls this summer. I have a library program about chickens scheduled for June and I want to take a chicken with me. Also, I want to find an old red wagon that I can covert into a mobile chicken coop so I can cart the girls around with me when I go to the garden or tote them around to different areas of the property.
I also started doing some videos for my ‘stories’ on instagram. That is so much fun! I made a couple of mistakes with my first round of videos-making them too long and instagram cut them off. Our internet is SLOW so it took HOURS for them to upload! I’ll try to do shorter versions and upload them one at a time until they are all uploaded.
Oh. The last picture was from our last big snow a few weeks ago. I thought the little bird feet print were so cute! I had to add it to this post just because.
I’m glad the girls are doing better. We try to free range as much as possible but it’s hard this time of the year since we live at the fishing lodge. I still need to do some updates to the coop and run and put in a free ranging fence for them. Right after I get the garden going!