Thursday, 14 July 2011

A Plea from Miserable Maudey...

Hello lovelies-

I have a problem that would love you to help me with...

Maude the Chicken is laying soft eggs. I don't mind her not being productive, she is after all, my pet and I love her whether she's laying me delicious breakfasts or not (obviously I would prefer the egg ended up in my tum rather than the run floor though!)but I just want to be sure it's not something that I am doing wrong. I don’t mind her being useless if she’s just going to be one of those awkward types but she looks like she’s in so much pain when she’s laying a softie...

So here are the clues-

She laid one wonky egg a couple of weeks back, since Sunday she’s been laying eggs with paper thin shells which obviously don’t hold up and the eggs end up being eaten to smushed about. She laid a hard shelled egg last night, in the run, but it was really rough and the colours were very patchy.

Mildred is laying fine, she doesn't like doing it as it interferes with her "pretending to be a human" activities and reminds her of her poultry status, but she's laying good eggs.

We recently moved the run from grass to bark chippings.

I changed their brand of layers pellets a few weeks ago, they haven’t noticed.

My dad has started feeding them bits of bread in an effort to train them to sit on his shoulders, I suspect this is a reaction to his narrowly missing catching an escaped parrot to keep as a pet a few years ago.

She is now laying softies in the evening, out in the run. This is not like her. She loves hanging out in the nest box. She has always been a bit of a funny one for this, when we let them free range she immediately makes herself a little nest under the hedge and stays there cooing.

I know lots of my lovely followers are chook mad too so if you have any ideas as to what’s up with my little Maudey and how I can help her I’d be dead dead chuffed and send Maude round in person to thank you with one of her special cuddles.


  1. You should stop all 'treats' and just give both your girls Layers Pellets and some dark green leafy things (outer cabbage leaves etc). If you have any of their older eggs with good shells left, crush these finely and add them to their Layers Pellets.

    You could also buy a bag of 'Chick Crumb' hens love it and it gives them more easily digestible nutition, give it neat for a couple of days and then mix it in ever decreasing quantities in their layers pellets until they are back on just Layers Pellets (this is the way you should always switch from one type of food to the next, never just finish one bag and then switch to a different type or brand).

    It will do both girls good to do this. If you are not selling eggs to the public you could always give them some dog or cat food for a quick protein boost.

    There are lots of proprietory chicken tonics out there, one of the best (in my opinion) is one with seaweed extracts, my girls always respond to this, you simply add it to their water for a few days.

    Although 'they haven't noticed' the change in diet their bodies obviously have and are being slow to adapt.

    Hope some of this helps, don't hesitate to email me if you need some more advice.

    Sue xx

  2. I agree with Sue. Check the label of the new pellets and compare with the old...calcium and protein levels may be different. The chick crumb is an excellent idea. I have also given my girls cat food at times...but not one with chicken in it. LOL. Some Diatamaceous Earth (food grade) is also a good tonic along with the seaweed. However, if she is an old girl, it just may be that her peak egg laying days are over.

  3. If you google egg shell suppliment. You can buy a powder like substance to add to the food.

  4. Yep, all good advice - Battles Poultry Tonic has always helped me and is simply added to water but I would advise going back to basics - hens are simple creatures so simply feed layers pellets - and not too much, don't over feed, they will catch insects etc during the day in their run.

    You say you have changed from grass to bark chippings - I would either cut a patch of turf (soil attached) and put this in their run or but a roll of turf from B&Q and lay it at the end of their run (apologies if they do have a little grass to scratch on,I do not mean to speak out of turn). I believe all free range hens need a patch of grass to scratch out - maybe lay an area for them if you can.

  5. All good advice :) We give ours access to Oyster Shell which is a good source of calcium. We've also used Limestone Flour which was quite effective.

  6. Thank you everyone! Maudey seems to have made a full recovery. We have had 4 days of normal eggs and no more sad faces *touch wood* Thank you all so much for your wonderful advice- she is a very lucky chook.

    H x x x