backyard chickens · breeding chickens · chicken breeds · Chickens · hatching eggs · homesteading · Serama

Egg Issues and Candling

My Serama hen has laid two soft-shelled eggs in a row. I do come by broken ones every now and then and without picking them up I will allow her to eat them to regain the missing calcium. I never bothered to check why they were broken. As it turns out the food I have her on Purina Layena seems to have some complaints about it – the major one being that hens eating it are laying soft-shelled eggs. This usually means there is not enough calcium in the feed which is bad. The whole point of putting laying hens on laying feed is so that they do not have to have additional calcium supplements (like oyster shells and whatnot.) So I have a dilemma… I can switch their feed to DuMont layer feed but my local feed store only sells it in 50 pound sacks and my other laying hens are two months away from being switched from their “grower” feed to “layer” feed. That’s a lot of feed just sitting around waiting for the mice and mold to get into it. This morning I gave her some oatmeal cooked in milk. She LOVED it and I am hoping with some more calcium rich foods like these she can relinquish her body’s supply. Then in two months I will switch the feed over and everyone will be eating the same thing! Here’s a photo of the odd-shaped leathery soft shelled egg she laid yesterday. As you can see they are also super fragile and this one got broken simply by hitting the ground when she laid it. I am afraid my camera refused to focus on the damn thing but you get the drift.

Also today I candled the eggs I have in the incubator. It looks like we have 11 good ones and 3 which are probably duds. Besides laying soft-shelled eggs I also occasionally get the problem my rooster isn’t busy enough. Hard to imagine since he only has one hen but you should see her harass him! They’re like an old married couple.  Anyway here’s a couple photos of candled eggs to show the difference between developing and not. Basically you take an egg that’s already started developing (I like to do mine at ten days) and you put it next to a very bright light. If the egg is solid it’s fertile and developing, if you can see through the egg it’s probably not. Some people say you can do this earlier and tell by veins in the eggs… I have never been able to see that myself.

This first egg is solid – you can’t see any light coming through it.

You can see in this next egg that you can see the light coming right through it on both ends where it looks pink.  The fact I can’t see clearly through the middle still allows for this egg to be a possible viable egg but its not really likely.