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#67960 - 09/02/08 07:55 AM Eggwhites That Don't Hard Boil
3 Crazy Chickens Offline
New Egg

Registered: 08/25/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Maine
Hi everyone. I have a Red Star hen approximately 3 years old. Ever since she began laying, we noticed that occasionally there would be a broken soft shell egg and yoke around her vent. The next day her shells would be fine. She often lays misshapen shells; and we've noticed that when we boil her eggs, the whites are solid but have a very mushy texture and smooshes easily--doesn't make it very appetizing, and we aren't sure if we should be eating them.

We feed organic layer feed, which my vet said should contain the proper amounts of calcium; but I still boil and crush eggshells for them. Sometimes they eat them, sometimes they don't--I figure they "know" when they need it. If she eats too much egg shell, I noticed one egg had trouble coming out, and she acted droopy until it finally popped out in the yard. This egg was very white and rough looking like it had huge calcium deposits that caused it. So I don't think calcium is her problem. She is not moulting, and it doesn't seem to coincide with the weather or diet; but it happens too often to just not worry about it. I'm a vet assistant, so I ran a fecal flotation test on her and didn't see anything abnormal in her stool.

Her diet is consistant: organic pellets 24/7 and daily array of fruits/veggies cukes, greens, tomatoes, etc. Alternating food or cutting it out completely does not change her laying habits.
I'm not sure what's causing this constant soft, mushy boiled eggwhites (while yolks hard boil just fine) or the occasional shell issues. We are concerned it may be a genetic deformality and are worried some day a broken egg will harm her.

We have two other hens--another Red Star and a Rhode Island Red--whose eggs are always fine and dandy and hard boil like normal. I figure if it was something contageous, the others would have issues too.

They are kept VERY clean as we live in the city and don't want complaints. I pooper scoop daily, and they have a 10' by 20' pen to run in and a small A-frame coop to lay and roost in. Anyone have simular problems and know what could be wrong?

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#67961 - 09/02/08 09:28 AM Re: Eggwhites That Don't Hard Boil
G. Hickman Offline
Feather

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Montana
Chickens are like people some do not function physiologically the same as others and some have more problems as they age.

Soft shelled eggs are often caused from an imbalance of the Calcium to
Phosphorous ratio, or a deficiency of Vitamin D-3, or the inability of the bird due to breeding or age to properly absorb the Vitamin D-3 sufficiently.

This could also have been caused by birds that were exposed to Infectious Bronchitis which sometimes causes thin and crinkled egg shells.

You might try supplements to try and fix this problem: Vita-Pro-B in the drinking water mixed with a Replacing Liquid with Iron and Vitamin A-D-E Powder.There are any number of these products on the market and they are cheap. A packet often makes up a hundred gallons. Some of the vitamin electrolyte powders have some of these elements too, but the specific ones above are better. Also wheat germ oil is high in vitamins A, D, & E which can be mixed with feed or soaked on bread. The wheat germ oil is also a recommended additivie to increase fertility and vitality of eggs/embryos when breeding.
_________________________
Gene Hickman

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#67962 - 09/02/08 10:19 AM Re: Eggwhites That Don't Hard Boil
3 Crazy Chickens Offline
New Egg

Registered: 08/25/08
Posts: 7
Loc: Maine
When she was just a pullet, we rescued her off a chicken truck on her way to a factory egg barn. (So luckily she has never suffered the life of a battery hen.) She has never shown any signs of obvious illness. We build them a "greenhouse" in the winter that has kept them warm enough that their water rarely freezes, and they continue to lay daily thruout the winter.

I think maybe she is just not a good layer, but I will definately look into adding some vitamins to their water, although I have only three birds; so hopefully the vitamins have directions for small flock measurements or stabley last more than one day.

Thanks for the info.

Does anyone else deal with smooshy eggwhites? Raw, the whites are very liquidy.

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#67963 - 09/02/08 10:52 AM Re: Eggwhites That Don't Hard Boil
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8490
Loc: Montana
You did not understand the reply. All hens are not created equal. This does not mean she is ill. If she was bred to be a battry hen, she would only have been expected to lay for a year or so. With trap nesting, she would have been eliminated, as she does not consistantly lay normal eggs. However, you have been given a good suggestion to improve her condition and might help her give you nice eggs for at least a while. She cannot be expected to lay for more than a year or so--she was not bred for it.
However, chickens can surprise us. Try the suppliments suggested and she may come through fine. The eggs are okay to eat, just a different texture (like Duck or Goose eggs--still very good for you). Good luck, CJR

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