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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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I've got a pekin bantam who is laying soft shell eggs,

Customer Question

Hi .... I've got a pekin bantam who is laying soft shell eggs, it's taken me awhile to see which one it is. Last few eggs seem to be empty. She's eating ok but seems a little less active than normal and I've just noticed she seems to closing her eyes rather a lot. Any advice would be appreciated please.
Thanks Debbie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 2 years ago.
Hello Debbie,
I'm Shantal and I'm a moderator for this topic.
I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.
I was checking to see if you had already found your answer or if you still need assistance from one of the Professionals.
Please let me know if you wish to continue waiting or if you would like for us to close your question?
Thank you,
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Hello Debbie, I'm Dr. Bob. I apologize for the long delay in getting back to you, but I've been out of town and just now returned to find your question. There are a number of different condtions that can cause the symptoms your Bantam hen is showing and I must ask you a series of questions to try to shorten the list a bit. Do you have other birds, and have you added any new birds to your flock in the past two months?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Morning Dr Bob, yes I have 1 cockerel and 2 other Perkins in with Bertha and a few chicks which are still indoors. No other birds have been added.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Been awaiting for an answer sine Wednesday afternoon, heard back this morning as further question, answered that. Told it would be answered in 15 mins and I'm still waiting
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Okay, thank you. ***** apologize for the delay, I've been unable to get back online at the answer site, there must be a problem there. Hopefully I'll be able to finish our correspondence now. Is she free-range or is she cooped?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Cooped ..... never been a great layer but not a problem as they're pets eggs are just a bonus
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. What are you feeding her?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They have layers pellets am, fruit and veg snacks which I alternate daily and a small amount of corner late afternoon/evening
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. That sounds like a fairly balanced ration, do she ever get out into direct sunlight?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes every day, part of the run has an exposed wire roof
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Very good. We can probably rule out a vitamin D deficiency, one of the potential causes of soft shells.Have you seen or heard any signs of respiratory infection, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, or discharge from the eyes nose or mouth?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has always sneezed a little, no discharge but occasionally one eye tends to close (still no discharge) so I use Brolene eye drops which works
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Okay, thank you. Judging from the rather subtle signs she's showing, I suspect she's a chronic respiratory disease patient. How old is she, and how long have you had her?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She's 18 months to 2 years old.ive had her for approx 15 months. I should have said all my birds are wormed monthly and I use ACV and garlic in their water.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Have you noticed any changes in her droppings?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Funny you should ask that .... I clean both runs and coop out daily and one of them, but not sure which over the last 2/3 days has started doing long thin poos
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Has she ever been in contact with ducks or other waterfowl?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No not since I've had her and wouldn't have thought prior to that as I get her from a Poultry Breeder
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. Do you know if they vaccinated her for Marek's disease?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The Breeder said he vaccinates all birds .... so as far as I know yes
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. One of the conditions on the list that causes symptoms similar to hers is egg drop syndrome. The causative organism originated in ducks and waterfowl and has been know to contaminate Marek's vaccine. Are you in North America?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No I'm in Oxfordshire Uk
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Okay, then we must keep egg drop syndrome (EDS) on the list.The list of potential causes at present is as follows:EDS, chronic infectious bronchitis, Infectious laryngotracheitis, and influenza.These are all potential causes of soft-shelled eggs and lowered production.Unfortunately, with the exception of EDS none of the diseases respond to any kind of direct therapy. EDS can sometimes be cured by forcing the hen to molt. Forced molting is accomplished by withholding food for 5 days. The stress tends to induce molting and the shed feathers help rid the body of the virus, thus renewing production. Of course, if one of the other diseases is the cause, this procedure will not help, and may even further weaken her.Google the conditions I've listed, adding "in chickens" to each disease name. Read one or more of the descriptions you'll find at each site, then compare her symptoms to what you've read. If EDS seems to best fit her symptoms, then the forced molt would be the best course of action. If one of the others seem to be the cause, then support and time are all you can give her to try to pull through. Warm nutritious foods like pancakes, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal are usually relished by chickens, even sick ones. Keep her warm and isolated from the rest of your birds to help prevent the spread of whatever this might be. I wish I could be more specific for you, but poultry diseases tend to share symptoms and definitive diagnoses are most often made upon post-mortem examination. If you should have furthe questions, please let me know. Kind regards, *****
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thanks very much Dr Bob ..... i'll have a look this evening. Debbie
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 2 years ago.
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance to you, Debbie. Best regards, *****