1. geoaussie

    geoaussie Junior Member

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    We have eight Rhode Island Red chooks, free range, probably a few years old with rooster. Because of faxes they are fenced in but would have a quarter acre dedicated run, well vegetated. Lately the eggs seem to have deteriorated in quality. Paler colour and the yolks are sticking to the shell making them hard to get out intact. Any ideas what would be causing this.
     
  2. Nigel Richards

    Nigel Richards Junior Member

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    It sounds like they have a healthy enough environment.

    You mention their ages to be a "few years old"; this could be a clue as egg quality can begin to diminish after about four years in my experience. The only other element could be some form of virus or illness - but if they're in obvious vitality then I'd be inclined to go back to the age question.

    Good luck.
     
  3. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    I'm still giggling at the mental image of feral faxes threatening your chooks. Could be a new movie - "When office equipment runs wild..."
     
  4. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    You do not get the same problems with emails.
     
  5. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Egg Quality issue.

    Damn that aging! Could also be any or a combination of recent moult, parasites external and internal, too much wet weather, protein and specific essential amino acid dietary deficiencies, lack of grit to grind food, too high egg temperature and humidity storage, energy shortage with too low a dry matter intake because of high moisture grasses etc. Bacterial contamination on egg surfaces causing bacterial deterioration of the egg contents, particularly if the eggs are scrubbed clean after being dirty.
    My Gran would have said get new ones and feed them some boiled or soaked grains, pulses like lupins or peas and these days forbidden, cooked meat scraps and some fresh cows milk. Corn and other high carotene grains and roots will bring back the yellow yolks. I wonder if chooks eat turmeric? At least you can find where your chooks lay and that they don't eat their own eggs! I hate finding yellow yolk remains from a busted egg on the ones they leave me. Leaves me with dark and potentially murderous thoughts for the culprit/s. The rooster could be "daffing" them too much as well if there are only one or two for the randy fella to annoy. And the list goes on...... The trouble with commercial rations are that they are balanced if the chooks get no other outside feed, but can become unbalanced when we let them free range or add to that planned diet.
     
  6. Nigel Richards

    Nigel Richards Junior Member

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    Interesting points on the pulses and 'egg-eating habits', Curramore1.

    Why are the pulses 'forbidden'?
    Down here in Greece, they're still fed, as is the milk and meat scrap you mention.

    I had a nasty bout of egg-eating recently; was VERY tempted at a spout of ring-necking, initially.
    Then I got scratching m'old head a bit - decided to completely revise nests.
    So I knocked together a row of really dark, privy nesting boxes, piled them chocka-block with straw, and presto; no more egg-eating...

    except by me!
     
  7. pebble

    pebble Junior Member

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    You must have a better class of emails then the rest of us PP ;-)
     
  8. Curramore1

    Curramore1 Junior Member

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    Pulses are good

    Poor language skills, sorry. Pulses good, milk good, any meat scraps and any swill in this country are illegal to feed farm animals. Hefty fines apply in the order of tens of thousands of dollars. Australia has a lesser number of animal pests and diseases than many other countries largely because of it's geographical isolation and more importantly stringent quarantine inspection and enforcement at borders. Although I have never personally heard of anyone being prosecuted and many chooks must get table scraps as part of their diet I am sure. I know that chooks are not cloven hooved, but if foot and mouth ran riot here it would devastate our nation financially and be almost impossible to eradicate because of the extensive and uncontrollable feral populations of ungulates and others susceptable to the disease.
    Good ideas for the egg eaters too.

    P
     
  9. briansworms

    briansworms Junior Member

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    Chooks that are fed earthworms lay bigger eggs. A young boy discovered this and won a Science Award for his efforts.
     
  10. Nigel Richards

    Nigel Richards Junior Member

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    Caution:
    Earthworms are host to a number of parasitic worms, including gapeworm.
    People involved in aviculture steer very clear of them.

    " Gapeworms occupy the trachea of pheasants & chickens primarily, but can be found in any Aviary bird.
    Cause gasping sounds.
    the Bird gapes it's beak and looks as if it's gasping for breath.

    Gapeworms cycle through earthworms, so birds will usually only get infected outdoors or on dirt floors..
    Administering Baytril (Anti-biotic) only appears to have a secondary effect, at best."
     
  11. floot

    floot Junior Member

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    Loved the 'faxes' thing, not often a typo can make one smile :p

    Anyway, 8 chooks on 1/4 acre is great. Chooks are really proficient at finding so much of their supplemental requirements such as minerals, grit, vitamins, protein when they can free-range in what is quite a large area. I would suspect they have an internal parasite load. Bird parasites are often transported into home chook pens by wild birds so even 'clean' chooks can be infected after a while. Chooks being captive can be susceptible to these, particularly as it the end of their egg laying season and they may start moulting. Older birds are more susceptible than younger ones.

    I would recommend you lock them up for a while and worm them. I would lock them up for 6 weeks or so to break some of the parasite cycle. If you have a henhouse give it a good dousing in a pyrethrum based spray or powder at least twice before you put them in to hammer any ticks or fleas. In the past I have attached old doggy flea collars to their perches, that works a treat.

    As the weather cools off I would add some oil to their kitchen scraps or grain any type of vegie oil is fine.. just coat the seeds etc. I normally use used cooking oil but have used fresh/unused corn, peanut and olive oil in the past. I have also used homebrand salted peanuts and crushed them up a bit. Just a tablespoon of oil for 8 chooks would be enough and give them some two or three times. Chuck some crushed garlic in too if you like. A bit of high energy and it seems to help them moult better.

    Cheers,
     
  12. Nigel Richards

    Nigel Richards Junior Member

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    Good point re adding oil to autmn diet; We grow heaps of sunflower (22-36% oil content) as living bean poles (3 sisters) so end up throwing a head of seeds into the chooks regularly during cooler months.
     

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