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In the Brooder
6 Years
Jun 25, 2013
Nine Mile Falls, WA
One of my hens has been laying everyday and we have been able to pick up the eggs. Recently (last 2 days) the eggs have been destroyed before we even get out there to pick them up and there is no sign of an eggshell unless they are eating the eggshells. I'm told or given the advice that we might need to give them more calcium. My husband has also "researched" that we shouldn't be giving them eggshells...... a whole bunch people have told us that its a good idea to give them eggshells.

Ugh. Help!!!
Id say you need to give them either eggshells or shell grit, they would have eaten the shells yes. shell grit you can buy from a pet or produce store but its quick and easy to make, the shell grit i bought was a mixture of ocean shells snail shells and eggshells, if you dont have the first two dont worry just crush up eggs shells and mix it in with their grain, if you do have the first two also crush these up and mix them with the grain. You should start to see an improvement.
If it's a new layer, it's quite common to lay shell-less eggs. You can give her calcium supplements if it makes you feel better, but usually it's just a glitch in her system that need some time to work itself out, not a lack of calcium. Older hens laying thin shelled eggs are a sign of needing more calcium.

I've fed both oyster shell and their egg shells back to the birds. Trust me, if your birds were eating the eggs, they'd eat the eggs and leave the shell. I've never had a problem with egg eating from giving their shells back and I've had birds 20 years. I don't even crush the shells, just crack them and toss them in the run. That seems to freak folks out, so feel free to crush them if you want, but they don't need to be baked or microwaved like lots of folks will tell you.

If you're feeding layer feed, you really don't need to offer additional calcium, but it won't hurt them to do so. New layers just do weird things and it can take a few months for their systems to work things out.
Donrae is right. You can feed them egg shells. Many people do it with no side effects, myself included. It's an excellent calcium supplement for hens and it's free! If the hen in question is a young layer the cause of her soft eggs could simply be a premature shell gland and her egg quality will improve with age and experience. If she's a more experienced layer it could be due to other causes though. Have a look here (scroll down for soft eggs):
Update; they were actually (one of them) eating the eggs. My husband did more research and found that if you put a ceramic egg or golf ball in their nesting boxes they eventually lose interest in pecking the hard items and leave the real eggs alone. SOO he did that last night and TA DAA we had an egg this morning with no problem. (but then again, I'm sure some of you or all of you knew about this little trick)

Thanks for your input; as always, everyone is so helpful.
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