I've been worried all along that we weren't giving Wilma enough calcium to create shells around her eggs. I knew we needed to switch over to layer food - that is, food formulated for chickens that are laying eggs - but our chicken-food-carrying pet store, Mud Bay Granary, was always out when I came calling. Anyway, sure enough, on Thursday evening Wilma laid a shell-less egg.
It's probably not what you're thinking -- it was an egg, all right, same shape and everything, enclosed in the membrane that usually lines the shell. Except, no shell. It was weird, and also a bit dirty, and I threw it out.
We were frantic to get layer food, so I sent Greg over to Mud Bay on Friday. They had gotten the food in but were already down to their last bag. Meanwhile, Wilma laid ANOTHER shell-less egg, and this one broke open in the coop and made quite a mess.
When I finally got my hands on the layer food, I stood over her while she gobbled it down. Since the shell-less egg incident, I'd also been feeding her a lot of yogurt, which she loves.
Finally, on Saturday afternoon, she was back to laying eggs with shells. Hopefully, that's the last shell-less egg we'll see.
In the meantime, I've also been giving her ground oyster shells (yeah, they eat those, too) but I'm not sure she was eating those, or recognizing those as food. I started scattering them on the ground, finally, along with some cracked corn.
All in all, those chickens eat pretty well. Among the foods we gave them this week: some over-ripe figs, a couple of slightly burned blueberry pancakes, a bowl of soggy corn flakes, split plums from our plum tree, an overgrown zucchini. Stuff that nobody wanted to eat, which would have gone down the disposal or in the compost pile otherwise.