Egg Drop Syndrome

Question:
What is egg drop Syndrome? We had a hen that was laying soft shelled, no shelled, sometimes sandpapery shelled and other times shell laid separate to contents.

We eventually got rid of that hen. It has been a while but we now have another hen has started laying some soft shelled and no shelled eggs.

She also seems to be laying less eggs and is less active than the other hens. Her comb is perhaps also a little paler.

Our hens are free ranged. We feed them bran mash in mornings and a grain mix in the evening. We also feed them shell grit and crushed egg shells.

We also house our ducks with our chooks.

It appears some may be moulting. One particularly is losing a lot of feathers around the neck, but this is one of our better layers.

The question is do we have a problem with egg drop syndrome? And if so - how badly infectious is it?

Is it long term or will it just work its way through the flock and then all be ok? Do we need to get rid of the hen? If we do need to kill that hen, can we eat the meat or is it unsafe?

Answer:
Let me preface this by saying I am in no way an expert when it comes to EDS. I can pass on what I have researched on the subject.

EDS is viral in nature and very serious. It can not only infect your flock, but is highly contagious and can endanger other birds of different species in your area.

There are other diseases that can produce similar symptoms including Newcastle Disease and Infectious Bronchitis.

Most people know that it is EDS when the egg symptoms are not accompanied by the symptoms of sickness that follow the above listed diseases.

You can check out our common diseases section under chicken diseases to see all the symptoms listed for these diseases.

In most places in the world you are required to report any cases of EDS or suspected EDS. My advice is to call in an expert to determine this for sure.

You don't list your country, but in the U.S. this would be your local extension agent, but most all countries have some form of agricultural entity that should be contacted.

They can conduct the tests and let you know what is going on.

Good luck and let us know how this turns out.

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Mucous chicken poop

by Margi, mtenney@mail.utexas.edu

Question
Mucous chicken poop: I have seen a very mucous-y blob on the perch in my little chicken coop for the last two mornings.

I have two red sex link hens. It's a backyard coop and they roam the yard half the day. The mucous has a little yellow in it but is mostly clear.

My first thought was poop from a sick chicken. Do you know what it might be and if so, what I might do?
Thank you,

Answer
That mucous is actually an egg without a shell. You will need to reevaluate your hen’s diet. She is obviously lacking in calcium because she passed a shell-less egg.

Does she have access to oyster shells all the time? I would strongly advise that you start adding some plain yogurt to her diet as it is a great source of calcium.

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Soft shell eggs

by Sam
(Jersey CI)

Question
Soft shell eggs: Our hens are 2 years old. We have a new hen that is from a fertile egg that one of my hens hatched.

We are now getting 2 or 3 good eggs each day and the rest are laying soft shell. My husband is blaming the new hen as he has heard her crow a bit like a cockerel.

Answer
Soft eggs laid with just the membrane and little or no shell are caused by mineral deficiencies.

The reason for this could be that not enough minerals are offered in their diet or the hens could be getting too old to lay good eggs.

If they are too old, you may be offering a good diet and their bodies are no longer able to turn the minerals in to egg shells like they used to.

If you are saying that the hen that has been crowing may be laying these soft eggs; that is possible.

Some hens do crow and this might be more likely to happen as a hen gets older and her female hormone levels are decreasing, similar to menopause in humans.

I have heard of hens crowing a little and laying just fine.

Some breeds of hens will only lay well for about 2 years. If you want hens that will lay longer, I would suggest looking into getting “Heritage” breeds.

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