Molt - Soft Shell Eggs

Crobinson08

In the Brooder
Apr 23, 2020
24
16
46
North Texas
Molt question: I know the molt can cause a decrease in egg production but can it cause soft/no shell eggs? Our 2 one year old hens are going through the molt (not a hard molt) and eggs have decreased but I've found a big wet spot in the nesting box a couple times this week and was pretty sure I've got an egg eater, but this morning found a soft shell egg. I think one is laying soft shell and the other is going to lay, breaking the soft shell, and having a snack while she's doing her business. I'm so confused though because I've seen the soft shell layer chowing down on calcium this week and the other one has calcium deposits on her eggs. The egg situation is different every day it seems.

Past few days:
Fri - Wet spot and one good hard shell egg
Sat - Two good hard shell eggs
Sun - No eggs and no wet spots
Mon - Wet spot and no eggs
Tues - Soft shell egg and good hard egg

What should I do to get hard shells back? (They are on layer feed and have free choice oyster shell available)
 

Sashaaa

Hatching
Nov 6, 2021
7
2
4
Sydney, Australia
Molt question: I know the molt can cause a decrease in egg production but can it cause soft/no shell eggs? Our 2 one year old hens are going through the molt (not a hard molt) and eggs have decreased but I've found a big wet spot in the nesting box a couple times this week and was pretty sure I've got an egg eater, but this morning found a soft shell egg. I think one is laying soft shell and the other is going to lay, breaking the soft shell, and having a snack while she's doing her business. I'm so confused though because I've seen the soft shell layer chowing down on calcium this week and the other one has calcium deposits on her eggs. The egg situation is different every day it seems.

Past few days:
Fri - Wet spot and one good hard shell egg
Sat - Two good hard shell eggs
Sun - No eggs and no wet spots
Mon - Wet spot and no eggs
Tues - Soft shell egg and good hard egg

What should I do to get hard shells back? (They are on layer feed and have free choice oyster shell available)
Hi there, I'm having a similar problem and was wondering how your chooks are going now? Are they both back to laying normal eggs? How long did this go on for? Did you have to add extra protein/calcium to their diet? And do you mind if I ask how you knew they were molting if it wasn't a hard molt? Mine are 1.5 years old and I don't think they've molted before, but one has a funny gap in her feathers around her neck now and has been laying soft/thin-shelled eggs lately, so was wondering if she's going through her first soft molt... I find it so hard to tell!
 

tbecker826

Chirping
Aug 7, 2020
26
34
51
Molt question: I know the molt can cause a decrease in egg production but can it cause soft/no shell eggs? Our 2 one year old hens are going through the molt (not a hard molt) and eggs have decreased but I've found a big wet spot in the nesting box a couple times this week and was pretty sure I've got an egg eater, but this morning found a soft shell egg. I think one is laying soft shell and the other is going to lay, breaking the soft shell, and having a snack while she's doing her business. I'm so confused though because I've seen the soft shell layer chowing down on calcium this week and the other one has calcium deposits on her eggs. The egg situation is different every day it seems.

Past few days:
Fri - Wet spot and one good hard shell egg
Sat - Two good hard shell eggs
Sun - No eggs and no wet spots
Mon - Wet spot and no eggs
Tues - Soft shell egg and good hard egg

What should I do to get hard shells back? (They are on layer feed and have free choice oyster shell available)
I have the exact same problem. I dont think I have a egg eater but one hen who is about 18 months old is laying the same way. Fine one day and soft the next day or part hard part soft or very thin shells. I cant figure out if there is something wrong medically or if its just that she is molting. This is my first time dealing with molting. I am interested to see what others say on this thread. Good Luck to you.
 

tbecker826

Chirping
Aug 7, 2020
26
34
51
Hi there, I'm having a similar problem and was wondering how your chooks are going now? Are they both back to laying normal eggs? How long did this go on for? Did you have to add extra protein/calcium to their diet? And do you mind if I ask how you knew they were molting if it wasn't a hard molt? Mine are 1.5 years old and I don't think they've molted before, but one has a funny gap in her feathers around her neck now and has been laying soft/thin-shelled eggs lately, so was wondering if she's going through her first soft molt... I find it so hard to tell!
I have the same problem as you. I have put my hens on the feather fixer feed which has more protien to help with molt. Mine just started to lose feathers in the coop. I found some this morning. I figured they were molting cause you could see pin feathers coming in on them. This is my first time dealing with molt but I do know they usually start at the neck. I would say yours are starting to molt as well. Hopefully someone else can answer all your other questions that I do not know the answers too. Good luck. The soft eggs are my worry cause I am so worried one will break inside them. I am a little less worried since some say this can be normal when they are molting. I never knew havign chickens was so stressful but I sure do love my girls. :)
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,894
35,858
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I have the exact same problem. I dont think I have a egg eater but one hen who is about 18 months old is laying the same way. Fine one day and soft the next day or part hard part soft or very thin shells. I cant figure out if there is something wrong medically or if its just that she is molting. This is my first time dealing with molting. I am interested to see what others say on this thread. Good Luck to you.
A bird that's near molt or actively molting can have wonky eggs (and most likely they'll stop laying for the season afterwards), as their bodies are putting more energy in re-feathering and not in laying.
 

Sashaaa

Hatching
Nov 6, 2021
7
2
4
Sydney, Australia
I have the same problem as you. I have put my hens on the feather fixer feed which has more protien to help with molt. Mine just started to lose feathers in the coop. I found some this morning. I figured they were molting cause you could see pin feathers coming in on them. This is my first time dealing with molt but I do know they usually start at the neck. I would say yours are starting to molt as well. Hopefully someone else can answer all your other questions that I do not know the answers too. Good luck. The soft eggs are my worry cause I am so worried one will break inside them. I am a little less worried since some say this can be normal when they are molting. I never knew havign chickens was so stressful but I sure do love my girls. :)
Nice to know we're not alone! It's so stressful not knowing what's wrong... Good tip abut the feather fixer feed - I might try that! Have you tried giving them extra calcium as well for the soft eggs? I worry about egg binding/peritonitis as well :( Good luck with your girls! Hopefully it's just the molt and they'll be back to their usual selves soon!!
 

badboyk1n9

Chirping
Apr 21, 2021
39
28
51
Well increase the calcium in their diet probably, like rice or egg shells, that might work, maybe of not then I prefer consulting to a vet (I am also a poultry vet thought not very experienced)
Molt question: I know the molt can cause a decrease in egg production but can it cause soft/no shell eggs? Our 2 one year old hens are going through the molt (not a hard molt) and eggs have decreased but I've found a big wet spot in the nesting box a couple times this week and was pretty sure I've got an egg eater, but this morning found a soft shell egg. I think one is laying soft shell and the other is going to lay, breaking the soft shell, and having a snack while she's doing her business. I'm so confused though because I've seen the soft shell layer chowing down on calcium this week and the other one has calcium deposits on her eggs. The egg situation is different every day it seems.

Past few days:
Fri - Wet spot and one good hard shell egg
Sat - Two good hard shell eggs
Sun - No eggs and no wet spots
Mon - Wet spot and no eggs
Tues - Soft shell egg and good hard egg

What should I do to get hard shells back? (They are on layer feed and have free choice oyster shell available)
 

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