Help - Lots of Soft Shell Eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheChad, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. TheChad

    TheChad In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    Bucyrus Ks
    I have noticed that the chickens are just laying eggs out in the run but it is the egg only with no shell. Is there a way to resolve this. I am not getting as many eggs as I used to and this could be the reason. The diet has not changed and they have all the oyster shell they want.

    Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  2. R@ndy

    [email protected] Songster

    Mar 20, 2009
    Any thunderstorms recently? I herd it can cause them to spit out an early egg
  3. momoftwinsinwi

    momoftwinsinwi Songster

    May 29, 2007
    Rochester, WI
    are you giving them oyster shells?
  4. TheChad

    TheChad In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    Bucyrus Ks
    Ya we have had thunderstorms but this has been happening for about a month. Egg count has went from 15 to 5 a day with 20 good egg layers

    They do have oyster shell.

    Just trying to figure out why they are not laying.
  5. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp Crowing

    Mar 25, 2009
    South Alabama
    Are they going through a molt?

  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    Molting can do that. And, if it's extremely hot, that will affect eggs sometimes, as they have high water needs. It can sometimes be calcium, too, but there are several causes.
  7. I have found that causes for softies can be drawn from the following:

    Calcium deficiency - and too many treats can inadvertently be the cause (lots of treats = reduced % calcium in the diet). Cut out all treats for a week and give calcium supplements (oyster shell should always be available free choice, but you can also try adding some dairy and crushed eggshells to the diet to boost calcium levels)

    Stress - too much noise or disturbance around the hen house can cause the girls to lay their eggs early, meaning they don't spend enough time in the shell gland and come out soft. Minimise disturbances around the henhouse and that might help. (Although thunderstorms can obviously not be accounted for here!)

    Moulting and excessive heat - see previous posts

    Infectious Bronchitis and other diseases - could be a possible cause in your case, as all hens are affected, especially if there is no other obvious environmental reason, and they have all suddenly gone from laying well to producing predominantly poor quality eggs. According to Gail Damerow (The Chicken Health Handbook), diseases which can lead to soft shells or no shells are as follows, in order of prevalence: infectious bronchitis, infectious laryngotracheitis, vit D deficiency, egg drop syndrome, ochratoxicosis, avian influenza. (Please note the final three in this list are RARE!). Personally, I would suspect infectious bronchitis, if no obvious environmental or dietary cause can be identified in the first instance.

    So, do start with the obvious stuff with diet and environment and let us know how you get on...
  8. TheChad

    TheChad In the Brooder

    Mar 31, 2009
    Bucyrus Ks
    Thanks for all the help.
    I do not believe that they are going through molt cause they have not lost their feathers.
    They should not be stressed but who knows.

    Infectious Bronchitis--What are signs of this and what to do to resolve the issue?
  9. Please don't take IB as your first line of enquiry - it is far more likely to be due to dietary or stress factors. Address them thoroughly first... and then if you get no joy, begin to address the possible disease mechanisms.

    However, as you've specifically asked...

    IB is characterised by a sudden reduction in overall egg production, wheezing and sneezing and general respiratory symptoms, and then about six weeks of very poor quality eggs (wrinkled, soft shells, odd shapes). The most telling symptom is that eggs from a bird with IB will have very watery whites - they just don't hold together around the yolk properly and will simply spread out when you crack the eggs onto a saucer.

    Confusingly though, there are strains of IB which only affect the reproductive tract, so the respiratory symptoms will not be present. For this reason, you really need to have a lab diagnosis for proper confirmation of this disease.

    It is the most contagious poultry disease known, and once it is in your flock, the infection rate will be 100%. This helps to distiguish it from other causes of laying problems, as every single hen will have it if it is indeed IB. If some hens are unaffected, IB is astronomically unlikely.

    It is a virus, and cannot therefore be 'cured' - you just have to wait for it to run it's course. Birds affected by a bout of IB will thereafter be immune to further exposure, but may never lay well again, as the virus can damage the uterus/shell gland.

    IB is unlikely to prove fatal, as mortality with the virus is notoriously low, however it can leave the hen susceptible to other pathogens such as e-coli or mycoplasma infections, so you have to be vigilant for those symptoms whilst the virus is running its course, more so than worryingabout the IB itself.

    Please, as I said, address the environmental issues first though - IB, although a common poultry complaint, is most often not to blame. And even if it is, you can't actually do much to alter the course of the disease in any case. Try and find a simple cause first - and calcium-related issues are usually where you will find the culprit.
  10. Wynette

    Wynette Crowing

    Sep 25, 2007

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