Can Vitamin D deficiency cause thin/no shell in chickens?


9 Years
Feb 28, 2010
Clinton, OH
This is my second winter with hens, yet this is the first winter we've had a problem with thin or non-existent shells. The hens get 3.5% calcium in their layer ration, and we offer oyster shell at all times, yet we're still having the problem. The 3 hens that are in their second year are having the problem, whereas a brand new hen (just started laying) does not seem to have the problem. We've had lots of snow so they've been indoors alot (almost all the time), could a lack of sunshine be causing Vitamin D deficiency and then the hens can't absorb the calcium?


12 Years
Dec 16, 2008
Northern Nevada USA
I am having the same problem with my RIR hens that have just finished their second winter. I have one that lays a shell-less egg almost every week. Due to our location and run set up my hens get maximum sunlight and I even give them ~expired milk almost weekly, sometimes yogurt too. They are on Layena and I have no problems with my younger pullets and hens. I have to think it's about aging. I also had a very poor hatch from their eggs...fertile, developed, no hatch...less than 50% hatch. So I'm thinking that commercial growers have it down to a science when they choose not to keep hens beyond 18 months or so. They just aren't as productive, eggs or fertility.


11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
Olympia WA

What about your water? Apparently some kinds of water (lots of heavy metals if I remember right), can cause them to have thin shells even if their calcium intake is adequate. There was a thread on this a while back, maybe I can find it when I'm not so tired...I doubt it is the lack of sunshine--we have so little sunshine around here, and my coop is in the shade, so my hens would be in big trouble if that was the case.

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