Dorking hen's egg shells are thin... any idea why?


9 Years
Apr 10, 2010
Raytown, MO (BY KCMO)
I have several breeds of chickens and all of them have nice egg shells with the exception of my Silver/Grey Dorkings. They are the only birds I have that lay white eggs and so I know it is them. One lays a weird egg that has a bunched up end on the air sack (blunted) side while the other always cracks before I get it inside. I was using Purina layena and switched to Nutrina to try a different brand of food in case that was the problem. I feed them their egg shells back to them and haven't started providing oyster shell yet as they have only been laying for about a month...

All my chickens were bought from farmers, or Sandhill preservation with the exception of these Dorkings which I bought from a hatchery. I'm wondering if I just got a low genetics workin against me or what the deal may be.

I appreciate your ideas and suggestions on what is causing this and what I can do to fix it.


I don't know why it is affecting only the dorking but my understanding is that you should start to supply oyster shell as they come into lay. I would start it now. Don't put it in the food, offer it seperately. If they want it they will eat it. You could always ask on the dorking thread to see if this is a common problem with them. It is often the case that birds just beginning to lay lay very funky eggs. Often soft shelled etc. until they get things humming along in there. Hatchery birds may be more prone to this than the ones you have ordered in the past.
According to the ALBC, heritage chickens need more protein than than other layers. I never found any layer feed that gave my heritage flock, including Dorkings, enough protein. I don't want to feed unknown meat by products, either, so this was a problem. I finally found unmedicated turkey starter, made by Purina, that had a higher protein level, with soybean meal as the first ingredient and fish meal as the meat. I've been feeding that and have seen a big improvement in egg quality. The turkey starter does not contain any additional calcium, which is also essential for egg production, so I offer oyster shell free choice in a separate feed pan. They seem to prefer Manna Pro oyster shell over other brands, maybe b/c it's in smaller pieces.
I hope this helps,
You have to consider, ALBC's definition of heritage goes against hatchery breeding/stock, so I doubt it is the Dorking breed itself here that applies to the issue.
I found a couple sites that said the Dorkings eggs can be pretty soft. I will put out oyster shell for them and see if I can't boost that some. I do use the extra protein feeds but only at time of molt and when eggs times drop. I also counteract illnesses with a higher protein diet especially when I'm worming the birds.

I have read that it isn't a good idea to feed a high protein diet all the time because of internal organ problems. Same as us if we eat only protein all the time. I think summer is a better time to up protein doses as there is plenty grass to counteract the diet. I only use scratch grains in the winter to promote body heat.

Thanks for all the suggestions.


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