Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Scary Google and an Introduction

This morning when I went out to the chicken coop to let the ladies out, I found an egg with a very soft shell up on the roost where they sleep.  It's rubbery like an under-filled water balloon and I'm afraid of breaking it just by squeezing it.  Judging by the lighter color and the size, my first guess is that it's from Abby, but it could also be from Pearl.

Naturally, my first reaction was to Google "soft-shelled eggs" and see what popped up.  I read some advice on how really young (like 6 months) or really old (like 4-5 years) pullets and hens can sometimes lay soft shelled eggs, but our ladies don't really fall into either category.  The other probable cause is just an insufficient level of calcium in their bodies.  The main piece of advice that is given for this is to provide more calcium supplement, like oyster shell, their own eggshells crushed up, or meal worms and apple cider vinegar.

I really hope it's just a calcium deficiency problem because as I kept reading, I uncovered more and more scarier possibilities of what could be causing it and now I'm scared.

Some scarier/alternative possibilities include:

*EDS (Egg Drop Syndrome):  Caused by a virus and doesn't really affect the chicken's overall health.  There is no remedy other than to remove the chicken from the flock because it could spread to other chickens.

*Sudden stress:  Like being caught in a sudden storm or having a close encounter with a predator.

*Overproduction caused by increased artificial daylight (which we do provide):  The remedy for this is to not provide any artificial daylight and allow the chickens to chill out for a while to replenish their calcium supplies.

*Impacted crop:  This is when their crop is completely or partially blocked and they are unable to digest their food and absorb essential nutrients like calcium.  If not treated, this can cause death by starvation.

*Newcastle Disease: Super scary when I did some research, but I'm sure they don't have it.

The other thing that is scary is if this goes on, there is a chance that an egg can break inside the chicken, (which happened to Mabel) and they can get an infection which could kill them.

Despite all this new info, I'm not going to let myself freak out just yet.  This is the first soft egg, and the ladies all look healthy.  We have some oyster shell which I will offer them with their daily treat and I'll check their crops regularly to make sure things are moving through.  I really hope this isn't serious.

(You know, I really hated it when I would get calls from pet owners (when I worked in a veterinary hospital) who had done some preliminary research on google and were freaked out about really silly diseases that they were convinced their pets had.  Now I'm that person.  (Sigh))

I'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce Brutus.  My parents adopted him last week and has very quickly become the center of our family.  He's ugly.  In that really cute way.  It probably helps that he's the nicest dog that there ever was.  I don't think he has an ounce of negativity in him and has nothing to give everyone he meets but extra love.  He does have issues with separation anxiety, but we're working on that. 

He's a snorer.

1 comment:

  1. i hope those eggs stay hard! i feel dirty saying that.....also, Welcome, Brutus!


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