Shell-less egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shadley, Nov 26, 2014.

  1. shadley

    shadley Hatching

    Mar 25, 2014
    Hi all--

    I have 5 hens (2BOs, 2 Barred Rocks, 1 RIR) that are 6 months old. the BRs and RIR started laying about a month ago, and 1 BO started laying about 2 weeks ago and the other BO (Peeper) about a week and a half ago. About 2 weeks ago i started adding suet for them, as it got very cold (low teens, high in the low 30s). They are on layer feed.

    About 5 days ago i started getting 1 shell-less or very papery broken egg in the nest box--this has been happening everyday now. I assume this is coming from Peeper, who is the last to start laying, based on what i can see. She is also fairly scrawny compared to the others, and at the low end of the pecking order. at times i see her run off from the feeder. i am assuming her shell-less egg production is a nutrient deficiency--especially since they seem to be eating the 4"x4" block of suet in a couple of days. what do you think?

    To address this, 2 days ago i added another feeder in the run (there is also one in the coop), and it is clear that peeper has been taking advantage of it, and added oyster shells for them and stop the suet for now. the run/coop is completely inclosed with 1/2" fencing that goes about 18" into the ground, so i am not so worried about pests.

    since then, the last 2 days i still get a shell-less egg, but hope that will change very soon.

    How do you all clean out shell-less eggs? i don't want the others to eat it, so i clean it out and change the straw in the nest box, which is becoming a real pain since i have done it now each day the last 5-6 days. do i need to change the straw every time there is a shell-less egg?

    Anyone else who has had a similar situation i would love to hear your feedback and advice! there is so much to learn as a new owner......

  2. JKAR

    JKAR Hatching

    Nov 26, 2014
    Hi, I came online to look up why my chicken is laying shell less eggs. At least I know I am not alone. Hope someone has advice or knowledge for us. Thanks
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Shell less or softshell eggs are not unusual in a new layers, takes up to a month or more for things to get running right. I would not be too concerned unless it is an everyday thing for a couple weeks or more straight. New layers can act goofy and it is a stressful time for them, stress can play a part in the less than perfect egg formation.

    As to cleaning these out of the nests, I clean them up as I find them where ever I find them, throwing the soiled straw out into the run or into the compost bin and putting fresh straw in the nest. If it's broken on the ground or somewhere other than a nest, it doesn't really matter if they eat it, any broken egg is game to be eaten ans it doesn't mean they will break and eat good eggs purposely.

    I'd keep the suet feed to a minimum, like any other 'treat'(foods outside their normal balanced nutrition) just a little once in awhile. I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.
    The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

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