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Unread August 12th, 2006, 19:00
harvey harvey is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 5
Default soft eggs

hi my hen is laying long soft shelled eggs. It's not a grit problem as our other hen is fine. This has been going on for about eight weeks now, with the occasional long hard shelled egg. She is a one year old Meadow sweet buttercup. She also has an overlarge crop problem, which has shown some improvement with oil and massage. Could the two problems be related?
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Unread August 12th, 2006, 21:11
crazychick crazychick is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 2,546

Hi Harvey,

Yes, the two problems could be related. Your hen may have a sluggish crop due to a bacterial or fungal disease - any disease in the body will affect her quality of eggs. Might not be a bad idea to take a swab of the back of her throat, put the swab in a sterile syringe case and take that to the vet's to be gram stained. Hopefully the vet can tell you if there is a disease problem or not and give you appropriate meds (baytril if it's bacterial and nystatin if it's fungal). Sometimes birds will have naturally weak crop muscles or muscles that have been stretched out and damaged, thus impeding their ability to move food through- this would cause a sluggish crop but probably wouldn't affect egg quality.

The other possibility is that your hen is coming into her first moult- usually they moult in the fall or late summer. When moulting, they will stop laying or lay soft shelled eggs. However, you can tell if they are moulting as your barn will look as though the hens are having late night pillow fights- there will be feathers everywhere.

Excessive heat can stress hens, too. The heat can impede the body's ability to absorb and properly utilize calcium (affecting some birds more than others). Old age will do the same thing, but if your bird is only 1, then old age is not a problem.

General nutrition can affect egg shell quality- what are you feeding them?

Finally, some diseases, such as Chronic respiratory disease and infectious coryza will cause soft shelled or malformed eggs. "Egg drop syndrome" will do the same, but it is not as common and is probably not the case in your bird (this is a disease as well).

Hope this helps,

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Unread August 15th, 2006, 16:13
harvey harvey is offline
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 5
Default soft shells

Thank you for your advice Laura. We consulted an avian vet who found a large tumour in the ovaries. This had originally caused the egg problem and caused the crop problem as it grew. He said it could be bacterial or viral in origin but he didn't know and there was nothing to be done.
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