I spent about an hour in the coop today. I was doing a heavy duty clean up. Neither of my 2 easter egger has laid an egg for several months. I think it started with them molting, but they're both nicely feathered now, and yet no colored eggs. One of these ladies was in a nest box for a long time. I started to hear an odd sound coming from her, best described as a pump that will not prime. I pulled her out of the box and found a pasty butt. I took her into the barn and ran some water over her bottom and got her cleaned up. I then lubricated my finger with veggie oil and went on an anal probe mission. I could feel that there was an egg up there, but within some internal membrane still. It didn't seem low enough yet to be stuck. What do I do next?
I've also had quite a number of very thin eggs, and also eggs with no egg shells at all over the past cooler months. There is always oyster shell available,and I've also tried to mix some of the shell with their food. In a different thread, I was looking for suggestions on why I've got 15 ladies and only getting an average of 7 eggs daily. Yes, there's a timer for extra light. No, I'm not overloading them with extras. I'm feeding them layer mix. The ladies are half coming up on 1 year old and the others coming up on 2 years old. I have no mites. I've seen no sign of worms. The coop is clean and airy. I feed them twice a day, and there's almost always a bit of food left when I refill the feeder. Things in the coop don't feel bad to me, but I am feeling like something is not right and my production is way below what I should be getting, and so not an efficient operation. Ideas? Suggestions?
When I went down to the coop this evening, there was a green egg in the nest box! Yay! The shell does feel thin, though, and the shape of the egg is unusual in that the small end is exceptionally pointy. Does this mean anything?
No, pointy is what happens some times.
The saga of my poor easter egger hen continues. She's had a few days where she looked rather mopey, not eating,laying low. I did another vent probe to see if she had an egg stuck, but couldn't feel anything at all. Then yesterday evening when I went in to do evening chores, she was in a nest box and I watched her lay an egg with no shell at all. I'm at my wits end trying to figure out what I can do to improve the situation. There is always oyster shell available to my girls. I feed mostly Nutrena layer crumbles. I've got 15 1 and 2 year old girls and still averaging only 7 eggs a day.
Jeanne, read through this thread from a while back. Bryan notes sometimes new layers have issues of strange eggs when every aspect of feed and housing is good. Maybe some of this and another thread inside of it will offer some insight. Good luck.
This sounds like Coccidiosis as part of the problem. For layers it often shows as low production. You can attempt to treat for the parasite or you can replace them. :(
Easter eggers do not have a very good production capability compared to most breeds, and it greatly depends on which supplier they came from, as there is no standard for this variety. If one wants effecient production and color in the eggs, not white, then Production Reds, or one of the Sex-links are your best choices. White eggs, White Leghorns or Leghorn hybirds, like Ideal Hatchery offers are your best choice.
You might consider changing feeds too, while Nutrena makes several good feeds, my layers did much better on Manna Pro compared to Nutrena. A good quality lay ration does not need to have additional calcium added to the diet. It most often does not hurt, if they get too much calcium it will show up as a shell with a sand paper finish, but it is not needed. Calcium is not your reason for thin shells! It is either parasites or the breed in this case.
First course of action would be to treat for parasites/worms, then change the feed, followed by a better layer breed if you really want more effecient production. For Easter Eggers, you are not that far off what can be expected. :(
Thanks for the feedback! I had bought a bag of MannaPro and there was no change at all in my production rate. These two Easter eggers were on a schedule of 3 eggs every 4 days last year. The majority of my birds are either RIReds or production reds.
And yes, many/most of my eggs from the other birds do have the pebbly, grainy surface which I wondered the cause. I treated my entire flock for cocciodia late last summer. Maybe I should do it again?
If you are not having as high of production from the second year, that is normal. There is a reason most commercial production birds are in their first cycle, they seldom lay enough eggs the second cycle to make them pay for their keep. Eggs are like most farming, it has a very thin margin. :(
Pebbly surface is almost always too high calcium in the diet. Also it takes more than one bag of feed change to notice a difference most times. A negative change will show up quickly, a positive change takes a several weeks to a few months to show up.
Really, it sounds like the flock needs to be replaced if you want higher production and a medicated feed used for the first 8 weeks for the chicks to help them develop resistance to Coccidiosis. Once you have a large infestation in a bird, it never fully recovers. :(
Nutrena does not offer a medicated feed, Mana Pro and Purina both do. Cheap brands of feed will tend to give one the result one pays for, in case you are thinking of going that route.
Hope this helps a bit.
Living out near Wickenburg, most often my choice of feeds is either pellets or crumbles, and not brand. Neither Manna Pro nor Purina are available out here. Half of my birds, all RIReds, are still not quite one year old, the 8 older birds are just coming on 2 -- 4 production reds, one black star, one black Jersey giant. The Jersey likes to lay in a box that none of the others like, and I'm getting at least 4 jumbo eggs a week from her. I mixed some DE in with their food this morning, and spread more liberally around the ground.
If you birds start having respiratory problems it will be because of the DE and it will do nothing for any parasites that might be causing problems, like Coccidiosis. :(
DE is very hard on chickens, as they are down low and breathing the dust cuts up their lungs, just as it does to humans. Does not matter what "grade" it is because it is all just silica glass skelatons, not very healthy to breathe.
Mable I'm curious as to whether the 'gene pool' on the Americaunas is an issue for egg laying production and good shells. I had my girls a half a dozen years ago (I don't have them any more) they were regular layers, with very tough shells even when they got into the second year, I had 3 and they consistently gave me an average of 2 eggs a day (except during molt).
I'm curious because you have mentioned the breed in several threads as not good layers.
When compared to other breeds, they lay fewer eggs. The top are the White Leghorn Hybrids, it is realistic to expect 320-340 eggs per cycle, roughly a year. All other breeds fall down below this number, some slightly, some greatly, Americanas are fairly low by comparison, around 200-280 for a good bird. A Cinamon Queen or Golden Comet can get you up to 320 per year.
As this shows even a highly productive Americana will fall far short of some of the others. At nearly 4 to 5 dozen eggs fewer, it is hard to call them productive. :(
I have not seen any Americanas that are able to make the 280 mark, most I have seen are coming in closer to the 200-230 mark.
I have had Production Reds doing the 320 mark the first year.
As for the "gene pool" for Americanas, they are a mutt chicken and it really depends which gene pool they came from.