Hi! I'm still fairly new to poultry keeping and this is the first time I've had a question I couldn't answer by searching Google.
We bought four 18-20 week hens about 11 months ago. They have had no health issues, not even sniffles, and have been laying regularly. Over Easter this year, during the cold snap, one of the hens started to lay eggs where the rounded end was pointed and rough. (a sandy texture always about the size of a 50p piece) The whites of these eggs are more runny than usual, even in eggs laid that day. The rough part of the shell never varies much in size or location, but when it's darker the shell can be the consistency of wet cardboard and you can push it in very easily. Since Easter her shells gradually became more fragile, to the point where even lifting the egg gently out of the nesting box I could put my fingers through it. We can also go 4 or 5 days without finding an egg, which suggests she might be laying/eating shell-less eggs, although I've only seen the membrane left behind a couple of times.
Apart from her eggs the hen I think is affected seems quite happy and well. (she's always been the most timid of the four) The other three hens provide a regular supply of eggs with very strong shells.
Their main feed is layers pellets, with some corn or sunflower seeds as treats. They have free access to a grit/oyster shell mix and they free range in the garden all day. They are wormed as per the frequency recommended on the pack and over the last month I've included a liquid calcium supplement in with the water/apple cider vinegar to try to strengthen/improve the shells of the affected hen but it's only made a very slight difference so far.
Although we bought our hens from a supplier with a comprehensive vaccination programme, I wondered if this could be Egg Drop Syndrome as we live three houses away from someone who keeps ducks/geese and many wild birds nest nearby. And if so, am I still okay to keep the affected hen and her fragile eggs or could she infect the others?
Here is the section to ask for help and advice on poultry health matters. You should remember that we and our members may not be qualified to diagnose problems with your animals or to prescribe medications. If you are at all worried you should consult a vet. Any advice is just what each member has found to have worked in their own situation and does not constitute a diagnosis from a member of The Poultry Keeper Forums.
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