Egg without shell? Whats with this egg...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fifibreen, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2010
    We are getting a odd egg infrequently. There is no pattern, just every so often we get one. It does not have a hard outer shell, but a soft squishy shell. It is always laid in the roost and never in the nest box. Usually I find it broken, but I got one last evening intact. I have not been able to determine which hen is doing this either. I don't know if this is something to be concerned about, or just annoyed with, or if we are doing something wrong. I don't have any new layers, all are 1 old+ and have been laying.

    Any information on what I can do, of if this is a issue to be concerned about would be appreciated.

    Below is more important information on the case, and at the very bottom are pictures..

    1) What type of bird , age and weight (does the chicken seem or feel lighter or thinner than the others.)
    3 wyandottes-2 1 year olds-1, 2+ year old
    1 buff orpington-2 year old,
    1 light Brahma-1 year old

    2) What is the behavior, exactly.
    There is an laid egg on occasion without a hard shell. It is ALWAYS laid in the roosting area, never the nest box. This is infrequent, I can't tell who(s) doing it and why. They have all been laying normally otherwise, with thick shells.

    3) How long has the bird been exhibiting symptoms?
    Don't know which bird, and it happens infrequently

    4) Are other birds exhibiting the same symptoms?
    As far as I can tell there is only one bird doing it, but who?

    5) Is there any bleeding, injury, broken bones or other sign of trauma.

    6) What happened, if anything that you know of, that may have caused the situation.
    Nothing I'm aware of...

    7) What has the bird been eating and drinking, if at all.
    All birds are eating, drinking normally. They are fed Layina laying crumbles with free choice grit and oyster shell. They are also allowed to free range some in the yard, and get occasional treats.

    8) How does the poop look? Normal? Bloody? Runny? etc.

    9) What has been the treatment you have administered so far?

    10 ) What is your intent as far as treatment? For example, do you want to treat completely yourself, or do you need help in stabilizing the bird til you can get to a vet?
    As far as I'm aware this is not a emergency.... but I would like to know what I can do to prevent it.

    11) If you have a picture of the wound or condition, please post it. It may help.
    Posted egg pics..

    12) Describe the housing/bedding in use
    chicken tractor, bedding is compressed wood pellets and wood shavings...

    These are all the eggs laid yesterday. Three are perfectly normal, one is not.

    In this photo I am squishing it a little to show how soft it is....

    Our hens have free choice oyster shell and have strong shells, except for this random egg

    This egg is also very translucent and shows the thinness of the shell..
  2. DOnSoCalOC

    DOnSoCalOC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    No replies yet?
    I am having the same issue!
    I have had about 4 or 5 now, within the last 2 months.
    I don't know which of my "girls" it is either.
    Mine are fed similar to yours: Organic Soy-free layer feed Countryside Organics, Organic Soy-free scratch Countryside Organics, free range the yard nearly all day unless we leave the house then they are put in the run, oyster shell in a feeder, grit in a feeder, plenty of fresh water, treats consist of veggies/fruit/freeze dried mealworms/crickets/ occasionally only, poop looks fine once in awhile there is a runny pile but majority is formed and firm.
    The ONLY change has been in a mistake I made by putting the freeze dried mealworms in their feeder mixed with their feed. There was a small amount left in the bag so I dumped it in, not thinking...they REALLY love them! So that particular feed ran out and now the feed is just normal, but they get the worms on the side for a treat. Maybe not enough protein in feed alone, in comparison to having the worms in it??? That is the only thing I can think of. I even take some of their leftover feed that is powdery and mix it with homemade kefir or water and they love it. I don't know, but I sure hope there is an answer. I am trying not to think about it too much, or stress about it.


    Thank you.
  3. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    Soft shells come from fear. If the chicken gets frightened - seriously scared by something - the egg travels though the chicken's body too fast. The soft shelled egg is the result. I had this happen when the chickens were frightened at night by a predator trying to break into the coop. I got some NiteGuard lights and the problem stopped.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Soft shelled or shell-less eggs are just a glitch in the internal laying process. They're common for new layers, young hens' systems are just figuring things out. Every batch of new layers I'll get one now and then. I HATE reaching into a nest of eggs and touching one of those! And they're really funny to give to your dog who is used to getting hard shelled eggs. Just wait it out. The hen is fine, her system's just working out some kinks.
  5. DOnSoCalOC

    DOnSoCalOC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    Interesting. Mine are all about just a little under 1 year old. Are they still considered "new layers/young hens" at this age? This just started about 5 weeks ago and I got another one last night (after they went to bed) under my BJG, not sure if it was hers as there was a secondary egg under her also that was a normal egg.

    I realized another change in their day, I drape black pond plastic over the vent areas to block out the sunrise so's they don't awaken so early with the time change. I get them up every morning at 7am, but we already had 2 soft shells prior to this change. Also, my BJG is missing a patch of feathers under her neck, no signs of "foul play" just missing feathers.

    I am getting concerned about the frequency in the soft shells. This last one makes 6 in the past 5 weeks. I believe they are not coming from just one hen though.
  6. DOnSoCalOC

    DOnSoCalOC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    This is an interesting concept. I am going to keep a close watch over the next few days. We have found 3 after they have gone to bed, so this could be a reason, though we don't really have any predators; but we do go out at night to cover the vents by draping the black pond plastic over them so this could very well startle them. The rest were laid during the daytime. I would really like to solve this as it is definitely causing us some concern.

    I am hoping that it is just their bodies working out internal glitches. There are so many different answers as to "Why".

    Thank you.
  7. WatchYourStep

    WatchYourStep Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 20, 2012
    How much bread are you feeding them? We fed ours tons of bread, and got a squishy egg, we only feed bread in moderation now.
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'll add to the confusion. From your description I'm not sure this is it, since I'd think the night eggs would have a lot harder shell.

    Under normal circumstances, a hen starts a yolk about 25 hours before it is laid. Hormones trigger that release, but I don't know what triggers those hormones. It might have something to do with daylight since most eggs are started in the morning and laid the following morning, about 25 hours later. I've had hens that laid the same time every day and some that lay a bit later each day. There are probably more than one thing that causes those hormones to kick in and tell her to release a yolk.

    Occasionally, a hen will start a second yolk. If they are released at the same time you might get a double yolked egg. But if they are released at different times, she can lay two eggs in the same day. The shell gland may not have enough time to make enough shell material to coat the second egg, so it can be thin-shelled or soft-shelled. Since I think there is some time between when yours are laid, I'd expect her shell gland to have time to make some material. That's why I'm not convinced this applies to yours.

    I've read that overweight hens and hens that are fed a lot of protein can cause this multiple release of yolks. Some supposedly do it because of genetics. I had a hen that laid a double-yolker about once a week. I figured that was probably genetics.

    When the egg is being formed, it spends a whole lot of time in the shell gland, getting the shell material deposited. Maybe something is causing her to dump that egg quickly instead of leaving it in there long enough to get a harder shell? I had not heard that fright theory before. I'd actually read about a hen retracting the egg sometimes due to stress or disturbance and holding onto it for a while. But I am not saying that is not your explanation.

    If your other eggs have hard shells, I really don't think it is a lack of calcium. It never hurts to offer oyster shell on the side (which you are doing), but I don't see anything that indicates lack of calcium is your problem, just maybe how the hen is processing the calcium.

    You've got me stumped. I've had a few of those eggs, but those few were always associated with a pullet just starting to lay.
  9. fifibreen

    fifibreen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 29, 2010
    I got another squishy egg last night!! They are usually not that frequent.

    When you are speaking of hormones and daylight, one thing that happened recently is we moved out their winter light since the days are getting longer(plus it is unseasonably warm here). This shorted the light they were receiving by about 1-1/12 hours is a dramatic fashion. Is it possible this could have one of them mixed up?

    To my best knowledge there is nothing scaring or bothering my hens. We have pretty tight predator control.

    I imagine that there could be some bulling happening while we are gone, but there are no missing feathers or or bloody birds.

    They get some bread for treats, but only on occasion, and in rations.

    I do not suspect any of them are too fat, but is there a good way to tell if your chicken is too fat??
  10. calvincoop

    calvincoop Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2010
    Portland, Oregon
    You may want to give your hen who's laying those some calcium supplements. that may help but I wouldn't worry about the soft shelled eggs. do you notice that your hen is acting kinda funny before she lays them? Like just standing in one spot and not really walking around. Or standing kids funny like a penguin or her feathers are fluffed up?

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