Saturday, 5 May 2012

Egg problem appears to be solved

We have had a few more shellless eggs this week. The problem had clearly affected more than one hen. We increased the amount of calcium in their diet by adding in a teaspoon of poultry spice to their mash. One of the neighbouring allotment holders told me that when he used to keep hens, he roasted the shells until they were brittle and fragile, then turned them into powder using a pestle and mortar which he added to their feed. We are trying that out now - we have a large supply of shells at the moment as we are making lemon curd and I am about to make a load of flans.

The problem however has disappeared. So far today we have had 6 good size eggs, all with shells. Nevertheless, the use of the shells in this way appeals to me as it turns a waste product into something useful and also gets around the regulations that ban the feeding of kitchen waste to hens as the waste is suitable heat treated. I had always been reluctant to feed the hens their egg shells as it could encourage them to eat their own eggs. However, turned into a powder means feeding them something that is far removed in appearance from eggs.

I remain baffled as to how the shellless egg problem started. We give the hens a very good supply of grit. Perhaps some of them felt they should just ignore it.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

We use Crushed Oyster Shells. In the states they sell 50 # bags for like $15

willowcottagegarden said...

I have also fed my hens crushed and roasted shells. I collect a tray full and put them in the bottom of the oven next time I am cooking something. We put ours in a bag and bash with a rolling pin!

elfriide tramm said...

shells are natural and are feeded to hens for tens (or hundreds) of years... grit is somewhat artificial to their system. but they need it also (we give them fine gravel). you may "Cook" the shells in the oven, but also in microwave if you have on (just faster and less energy).

and i haven't never heard or seen any particular cases that hens start to eat their own eggs because of that - it's just one of these broadly spread legends without real ground. hens begin to eat their own eggs when completely out of nutritients they need - but this is not the case this time.

sometimes you may even feed them with smashed "omelet" from eggs mixed heavily with huge load of crushed shells - it gives them good source of nutrients they need.

good luck!

TheDailyOast said...

My last remaining ex-bat is also laying soft-shell eggs and has been doing so for the last month. She has ample supplies of oyster shell which she seems to consume with gusto. Have also been adding Poultry Spice to her layers' pellets, but no improvement. Think she may just be worn out - we've had her for over two years.... Poor Brenda!