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Help chicken folks!

My four beloved hens are producing weird eggs this season, there are always some broownish/yellowish corpuscles inside (in the white part) and Anita’s ones are also abnormally runny. The shells seem fine (only Nebbia’s eggs are a bit thin shelled compared to others). During this time of the year I keep them in a pen and only allow them to free range a couple of hours a day under strict observation because of foxes, maybe I’m not feeding them properly? Do I need to deworm them, maybe they are carrying some parasite?
For the rest they are fat, happy, bright eyed and bright feathered. TIA

no help for you but our chickens when we had them free ranged with the horses who protected the chickens… see a hawk, run to stand under a horse, the chickens most often were with their favorite horse

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The meat spots just seem to happen more in older hens for some reason, and I am sure there are other reasons but I haven’t worked out exactly why.

Being runny though is very much from it being hot out, they just tend to be that way. Can also be age related if they’re older.

Do be careful about them being fat, if you mean that literally, it is very bad for a hen to be fat. Also, in the heat, you want to up their protein percentage because they eat less when it’s hot. Higher in the heat, lower in the cold. Also make sure they have a container of oyster shell free choice, very important in the summer even if they’re eating layer feed because they use extra calcium when they’re hot.

You could deworm them, I do mine regularly. It would be best though to clean under their roosting area and then collect samples from all of them and have your vet run a fecal to see for sure. Personally, I like to use Valbazen cattle dewormer, but it’s really expensive if you only have a few hens because it only comes in a large bottle. SafeGuard goat liquid is also a good choice, I tend to rotate those two. If you suspect tapeworms you would want to use a horse paste that includes praziquantal - I don’t love this option for a couple reasons: firstly, ivermectin is generally believed to not be terribly effective for their other possible internal parasites, and secondly because dosing is a bit too imprecise for my tastes. But if you have tapes you gotta do what you gotta do.


They love my gelding and they are always with him, but I lost a couple of them anyway, one was taken by a hawke and one by a Fox, maybe they weren’t fast enough or the horse was having a run by himself


Thank you Mosey, they are 3 yo, I don’t know if they are considered old. The red ones are quite normal but the Blue Bell is a bit too chunky . The weather has been really hot last month, and humid, maybe I’m feeding few proteins plus they are not eating the usual amount of insects and snails being in the pen, I’ll try to add proteins (I can add some soy right?) first and ask my vet if she can test the samples.

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For commercial laying types, like Red Stars and the like, 3 is getting old and you will start to see some egg irregularities, yes. You can add roasted soy, yes. What are you feeding now? Many stores carry an 18 or 20% layer, that would be a good choice. Or an all-flock, that’s higher protein. If you want to send me pics of your feed tag and what options you’re looking at for soy I can work out how much you would want to mix, etc. If only one of them is fat I might try adding a couple different feeders so that Blue isn’t running the others off. Personally, I like to measure and feed daily but I know that isn’t practical for a lot of people.

Oh, and if they eat snails regularly they very well could need to be dewormed.

Here is the food I’m actually giving them:

Farina di semi di soia
Carbonato di calcio
Farina glutinata di granturco
Fosfato bicalcico
Olio vegetale di soia grezzo
Cloruro di sodio
Bicarbonato di sodio

Proteina grezza 15%
Grassi grezzi 4,5%
Fibre grezza 3,2%
Ceneri grezze 12,1%
Calcio 3,60%
Fosforo 0,6%
Sodio 0,2%
Lisina 0,7%
Metionina 0,3%

And this is the google translation

Soybean meal
Calcium carbonate
Corn gluten meal
Dicalcium phosphate
Crude soy vegetable oil
Sodium chloride
Sodium bicarbonate

crude protein 15%
Crude fat 4.5%
Crude Fiber 3.2%
Raw ash 12.1%
Calcium 3.60%
Phosphorus 0.6%
Sodium 0.2%
Lysine 0.7%
Methionine 0.3%

Maybe it is too low in proteins effectively. I add some bread, grain bran, and kitchen scrapes (only vegetals). They eat snails, there are not a lot in the pasture but when they manage to find some they are more than happy to eat them

Ohhhhh, are you not in the US? 15% is definitely too low for summer. The lysine and methionine are okay, but not super. I would say feed is a very strong possibility of why you’re seeing a difference when they’re not on full free-range, they probably added a considerable amount of animal (insect) protein over a day and they’re not getting that now. If you could find some fish meal, that would be good. You can also add more soy. If you find a soy product to use, let me know what it’s protein is and I can calculate the mix for you.

Adding grain, bread, and vegetable kitchen scraps is also further diluting their available protein for the day.

@Mosey_2003 As you are a COTH Chicken Maven, can I ask why my oldest (6?) hen - Barred Rock - seems to be moulting?
Lots of her feathers in the coop during our heatwave this week. Not many primaries, but lots of fluffier smaller ones. She’s otherwise acting her normal bitchy self.

I add protein by making oatmeal for the flock (4 hens & a rooster) & adding plain yogurt.
If I have a surplus, I’ll mix in egg in too.
Yeah, they’re spoiled :roll_eyes:

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Many thanks really! I’m a new chicken owner and there are not huge chicken experts here…usually people here kill and eat hens after a couple of laying seasons but I consider them as pets. Yes, I’m in Italy! I’m going to the shop this evening and look both for Oyster shells and fish MEAL/soymeal

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She could just have decided this is when she’s gonna molt, ahead of the curve (or late, depending on how you view it). You can induce a molt by feeding VERY low protein feed, but I’m sure that’s not what you’re doing. I would check for mites or lice, as I do every week in the summer especially. If the others aren’t ganging up and picking at her, I would say just an oddly-timed molt.

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Do you not have access to a layer feed? 18% protein is good. My chickens don’t get to free range but just have a dirt yard. They get all my table/ food scraps as well as garden stuff this time of year and have 18% layer crumbles available 24/7.

A layer feed would have all they need.

3 years isn’t too old. The only thing is they can lay eggs less frequently but that shouldn’t cause the issues you are seeing.

I think the age plus her low-protein feed plus less free-range bugs plus adding veg/grain that pulls down the protein even further is likely the issue here. 18% would be a big improvement though.

This feed is a layer feed, probably not a very good one! And they don’t have It 24/7, I just give them about 700 grams every evening and feed the other stuff in the morning…poor things! I went to the shop and they didn’t have both soymeal or fish meal. Tomorrow I’ll ask in another shop and I’ll buy oatmeal anyway

Since you’re seeing issues, I would put out enough feed for each bird for the whole day each morning and stop giving the grain/bread/vegetable scraps, for now. Typically a layer hen needs 113g of feed each per day. I would try that for two weeks and see how those eggs look. Oatmeal is very low in protein as well.

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Ok, so I’ll leave them this feed 24/7 and look for a better one. I bought the crushed seashells and they have them already in the pen. In the meantime I’ll buy oatmeal and soymeal if I can find it. I don’t think fishmeal is very common here for hens (maybe in big breeding farms) because the guy in the shop looked at me like an alien when I asked him if they had it . LOL
I was reading it can be useful to add some apple vinegar to their water, is It true?

Sorry about that :laughing:

You can add a little apple cider vinegar, I typically don’t.

I am with @Mosey_2003. I have always had full feed out for chickens. You can pick it up when they sleep if you are worried about mice but have it out as long as they are up and going.

I would do ac vinegar in one water bowl and plain water in another. Have no idea if that does anything or not.

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My oldest girl is five and every year she molts a little bit earlier, and she always molts hard. It used to be in September, than late August, early August and this year she’s already starting. The younger girls don’t seem to molt until October/November.
My four year old white leghorn only molted for the first time last winter and has only laid a few eggs since then. Up until that point she had only missed one of two days of laying in two years! She was a machine, and was easy to keep track of being that she’s my only white egg layer. I’m hoping she’s just simply out of eggs and that there isn’t something sinister going on. Otherwise she’s acting totally normal.