New chicken alternating between really thin shells and sandpaper shells, also adopted chickens "pret


9 Years
May 21, 2012
Hi! We recently moved to Portland and were able to get chickens again (our HOA in Arizona made us get rid of our chooks there :( ). We bought 4 almost-1-year-old chickens and a chicken tractor 6 days ago, a SLW, EE, Australop and a BO. I expected no eggs for a week or two while they adjusted, but the BO and the EE just kept laying with no breaks. The BO's eggs are perfect, but the EE keeps alternating between soft-shelled eggs that get broken in the nest, and then eggs with too many calcium deposits on the end. She's laid all 6 days we've had her, and it's been a pattern of 2 with too much calcium, then 1 that is too thin and breaks in the nest.

Is this just from the stress of moving her? Her feathers are a bit frumpy looking at the end of her tail, but she seems alert and active, eats like a pig, and never even took a laying break after being caught, put in a box, driving almost an hour, and being put in a brand new pen.

On a related note, my SLW and Australop have spent the last three days acting like they are laying (they've spent extended periods of time making and sitting on a nest), but no eggs. Is this just normal behavior as they get ready to start up again? I'm trying not to handle them to avoid added stress, but should I be checking their vents? It is possible my SLW laid for the first time after being rehomed today, because I did find a brown egg at 9am today after she was up there. I was assuming it was the BO again, but she didn't lay until noon yesterday, so that would have been pretty early for her.

Thanks so much, sorry for all the newbie questions!
Have you offered extra calcium to them? Oyster shell, egg shells, yogurt, etc. Your ee may just need a boost. That'd be my first solution.

I often have lots of lumps and bumps on an end of a shell, I figure it's just natural. Occasional soft shells aren't a big deal, but since she's had a couple I'd try supplementing.

Congrats on getting chickens again!!!!!
Thank you! Yes they do have oyster shell available, and I mixed it in with their feed today too. The second part of my question got answered, because I got an egg from all four hens today!
One of the new (again) layers also had a thinner shell, she punched a small hole in it (probably with a toenail) but the membrane stayed intact. Maybe they weren't getting enough calcium at their old home? They were in a big run with about 50 other hens and a rooster. Anyone know how long it will take for this new source of calcium to be evident in their shells?

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