One of my hens has been laying soft shelled eggs that fall apart when touched. What can I do to get her back to laying normal eggs?
Edited by connor97 - 6/18/13 at 11:28pm
Lack of calcium. Get some oyster shell. Put it in a dish and set it out for them. They know how much they need and will eat as needed. Also, this could be a pullet just starting lay. In this case, the egg cycle is just getting started and give it time, to get going in correct fashion.
I either case, set out the oyster shell for them.
Karen in western PA, USA
If only one hen or a few hens out of many are continuously laying soft shelled eggs it is likely not a calcium deficiency. Most laying pellets and laying mashes on sale today are calcium fortified. If the hens' diet was calcium deficient all or most of your hens would be laying soft shelled eggs. Instead check out Land Grant University (agricultural college) sights about chicken diseases.
I feed the egg shells back to mine (as well as oyster shell) free pick to any that want it. But just because you provide it does not mean they (she) is/are eating it. I do not feed layer pellets/mash/crumbles as I have read these are hard on the Roo, but I do use startina (purina) and my girls love it!
I have also had 2 hens that had problems making shells, 1 had an obstruction in her bowls and died from it. They other layed many leathers and would not eat the egg shell or oyster shell. I tried many things with her like making her food just for her with shell in it, with this she made soft shell eggs that would break when touched. I have about 80 hens/pullets and she was culled, problem solved.
This is not true in the strictest sense of the word but I think this is the way you should look at soft shelled eggs and the hens that lay them.
A mature hen that continuously lays soft shell eggs likely has what I consider to be an STD. This doesn't mean that it's the roosters' fault for not practicing safe sex. This means that she either has an active disease or else a scaring/deformity in her ovum or egg duct caused by a past disease. The egg duct is where the shell is added shortly before the egg is laid.
Below is a short premier on a how to get started with meat birds and laying hens. Likely costs per unit are also laid out or listed. Some disease causes of soft shelled eggs are also discussed here as is grading and packaging your backyard produced eggs for sale. Click on the link.