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Just Food City Chicken Meetup NYC Message Board Chicken Problems and Illnesses › shell-less egg, picky eaters, cat in coop, and other issues.

shell-less egg, picky eaters, cat in coop, and other issues.

jenny k.
user 12928905
Ranau, MY
Post #: 3
hi all...

my little red sex links are about 6 or 7 months and laying like champs! one/day from every hen, and they're massive! but have a bunch of questions recently:

1) shellless egg - today there was a shellless egg in the coop. ewe. it looked like someone had literally just cracked it left it lying there. online it says this might happen now and then and not indicate any problem. is this anything i need to worry about?

2) feed - ran out of my 1st 50 lb bag of crumble and my mom bought pellets for them. they seem to be unable to eat them - they just stab them with their beaks and then give up. so then i went and got them new crumble and cracked corn, but they seem to not really be eating this either. how finicky can chickens be? will they eventually eat it if they're starving? the guy at feed store thought it really weird they wouldn't eat the pellets. (PS, they eat ridiculous amounts of yogurt. can i give them too much? i usually keep it to 1 c./day for 3 ladies).

3) perch - i changed up my coop for winter and had to move their perch. they wouldn't sit on the new one, even after adjusting twice., and would sleep either on floor of coop or on their outside perch. finally they sat on the 4th try, but have since moved back outside and to floor. when i take the outside one down, they sleep on the floor inside.

NEW COMPLICATION...in past two days there is a feral cat who shares the coop w/ them!!! it sleeps in the nesting box! they seem to get along ok....last night i went out and the cat raced out and the birds were on the floor, but now they're laying eggs on the floor instead of in box. :( they have the run of my backyard now and love it. to keep the cat out, i'd have to keep them locked up in their run (which is BIG and nice, but they never want to stay in there). What's the lesser of two evils? how messed up will they be if they don't perch? (they seem to be very very happy birds). i'm worried they'll freeze to death sleeping outside, but won't perch if they sleep inside.

THANKS!
Alexandra F.
user 12719130
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 1
Well, as I am also new to backyard chickens with 6 Easter Egg chickens, I can only add questions. I have 2 birds that are laying and just started about 3 weeks ago, but I have 4 birds that haven't and they were all born the same day. I was assuming that none would lay until the spring since there is less light now, so now I am very confused.

Our coop is completely closed so a cat could not get in, I thought that all coops had to be close so that raccoons don't get in and eat the chickens. So, I'm not sure about how your cat got into the coop. I generally let my hens out during the day and have wonderful neighbors who don't mind the birds hopping over the fence to their yard (this will all have to change in the spring though), but at night after they go to roost I close the coop door and lock them in and predators out. We do have a cat who does not bother them and they have chase her around a bit.

I would love to know if you can give too much yogurt. I haven't given yogurt for a long while and only give them apple cider vinegar water about once a month. Should I do more?

Since I have 2 laying and 4 not laying what do I do about calcium? I have been giving some oyster shell grit to all of them, but is that OK?

Thanks,
Alexandra (see a picture of my son with our chicken is this week's Newsweek magazine!)
Martha
marthalazar
Brooklyn, NY
Post #: 48
Hi,

I will try and answer some questions for both people.
1. Yogurt is a good source of calcium. When you have a shell-less egg, it can often be an issue with a calcium deficiency. This wouldn't be the case with your gal as they are wolfing down the yogurt. I had a hen who had problems with her egg laying and would sometimes lay shell-less eggs. Try and figure out which hen it is so you can keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't have problems like being egg-bound in the future.

I wouldn't worry too much about too much yogurt unless they are getting fat and/or there are little bumps on the egg shells. Those little bumps usually indicate an excess of calcium. If you give oyster shells (which is different from grit!!!), you should be fine with the calcium. Layer feed has calcium in it as well.

2. As for why the hens aren't eating the new food...it can just be because they don't like the change. Some people mix the new food into the old food to help with the transition. I never had a problem with my little pigs making the switch. Pellets usually aren't tossed around as much as the mash.

3. I wouldn't leave your hens out in the yard at night. I've had a couple of raccoon attacks (I'm in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn) and another member lost a hen to an opossum. I have stray cats, but they don't seem to be friendly like yours. They seem to be interested in finding a new food source. Maybe let your girls roam around the yard during the day, but then lock them up around 4:30pm. I have an extended run to my eglu and it isn't predator proof. I lock them into the smaller run for the evening to keep them safe.

I hope some of this helps.
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