Shelless eggs

nana h

In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2017
18
30
46
I have six hens I purchased when they were just starting to lay. I'm guessing they are about a year old now. Five of my hens are laying normal eggs, one consistently lays eggs with no shell. This has been going on for a few weeks now. They are all fed the same layer feed, and oyster shell is always available to them. Matter of fact, I now have it in a few spots in the yard to make sure the others aren't bullying her and keeping her from it. Is this a sign of poor health requiring a vet, or just a sign of a picky eater?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I Want Ice Cream
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Jul 16, 2015
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Eggs without a shell has nothing to do with calcium consumption. Stress is generally the cause as the eggs come out before a shell can be applied. Since you mentioned possibly her being bullied that would cause it. Otherwise it's also seen as hens resume laying or are shutting down. If it becomes chronic than there could be something wrong with her shell gland.
 

nana h

In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2017
18
30
46
Thanks. The four Blue Marans are larger, but the two little white hens are most definitely the aggressive ones. They have free run of a good size area, not sure how to reduce her stress. Shoot, I'm not very good at reducing my own, lol.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I Want Ice Cream
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Hopefully it eventually straightens out. Since they are novice layers that alone could be the stress on some. Give her time, I haven't ever had one continue laying shell less eggs. It usually resolves after a few weeks.
 

chickengeorgeto

Crowing
7 Years
Dec 25, 2012
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There are about 5 or 6 causes of soft shelled eggs that you can't do anything to help except let time take its due course. These causes are old hens, young hens, stressed hens, hens with low calcium deposits (in-spite of their diets) and hens with certain diseases that settle in hens' reproductive tract.

There is another group of reasons that you the chicken whisper can help mitigate or eliminate. The most notable is feeding greens that interfere with a hens' ability to absorb calcium. Spinach, Kale, and similar greens are the worst offenders. Also citrus fruits (Citric Acid) interfere with calcium absorption and I will also add water laced with ACV (Acidic Acid) as a probable cause of soft-shelled eggs.

Acidic Acid (Vinegar) is also used in the industrial production of plastics and other petrol chemicals.
 

RWise

Songster
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Dec 25, 2012
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I have a hen or 2 that will not touch the oyster shell, I feed the egg shells back to them and they gobble them down. Some say toast them, I just crumble them a bit and toss them out.
As said, give them some time,,,
 

nana h

In the Brooder
Nov 16, 2017
18
30
46
Okay, I have been putting the eggshells in the composter, but will start giving them back to the girls instead. I was mostly concerned that she had some ailment that needed attention. Didn't want to be ignoring something that was causing her discomfort. I guess even if she doesn't lay useable eggs she's still keeping the bugs down and making fertilizer for the vegetable patch, lol.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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Good thread even if older. Same problem with one hen. I think it is stress induced now.
One hen in flock laying 'bad' eggs...
...could be lack of nutrients/calcium due to being kept from feed,
or she has a genetic issue with nutrient uptake and/or a shell gland gone wonky.

Wonders if @nana h 's bird got straightened out?
 

Cryss

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
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Northwest New Jersey
She isn't being kept from feed, always a big container of oyster shell available. She will lay some good eggs then throw out a couple soft. I'm thinking several changes are stressing her. Rooster was put in a bachelor pad. Lots of noise as we build the new coop. Introduction cage (aka dog crate)was brought in to get them used to it before pullets arrived, then removed after a week because one pullet was too small for the 34 degree night the very day they arrived. Then replaced the next day filled with the new strangers. That same day her sister went broody, no dog cage available. Locked them all out during the day to prevent continued broodiness. Locked her and the only other layer in occasionally for egg laying opportunities. She didn't. Broody is done. They're not locked out now. Icing on the cake is more noise from a generator because were having an electrical repair on the human house, with cooking (aka smoke) on a campfire.
Fun. I'm stressed, why wouldn't she be?:th
But, in case, is there anything I can do if it's a wonky shell gland? She was good last year.
 

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