Suspected Egg Drop Syndrome in backyard flock
Hi there. My backyard flock of 13 chickens has experiences a drop in production recently. I didn't think much of it until one (or possibly more) of my hens has been laying shell-less eggs. It's possible it could be egg-drop syndrome. Should I do something about this, like have something tested? Is this a big deal? Or will it run its course and then be done? Thanks a lot!
There isn't a test for egg-drop syndrome. My first concern would be the nutrition of the hens. What are you feeding? The hens should be getting a complete layer feed that is not diluted with scratch grains or cracked corn. Diluting the complete feed can result in nutritional deficiencies. You can also provide oyster shell on the side to help those flock members with higher calcium requirements.
The other possibility is infectious bronchitis. If this is the case there is not much you can do about it, and it will pass.
Thank you. They are eating layer feed with the occasional kitchen scraps, such as grits, bread or pasta. But that's only once per week at most. So in either case, this is not something to be terribly concerned with? I was a little worried with avian influenza going around too. Everyone looks and acts healthy, it's just the shell less egg thing that is a bit weird.
One more thing, can I grind up egg shells for calcium, or is that not enough? Are oyster shells somehow different?
If you are not diluting the feed with scratch grains or cracked corn, nutrition is probably not the problem. I would cut out the pasta and bread since that is empty calories, even if only once a week. The shell-less eggs could be infectious bronchitis. Yes, you can grind up dried egg shells for the calcium. Oyster shells and egg shells are both calcium carbonate. You may find that the amount of eggshells you can provide is not enough. You can provide oyster shell is a dish on the side. If a hen needs it, they will eat it. (they have a calcium appetite).