Soft Shell Eggs


9 Years
Mar 9, 2010
Hi all.

The last few days I've found a VERY thinly shelled egg in the shavings under the roost in the coop. I have a Delaware that is - I think - just starting to lay and may be trying to work out the kinks, figuring things out, etc., but I'm also unsure about the origin of this egg. Is the best course of action to isolate the little Del to see if she lays a soft-shell? This has happened probably 3 of the last 5 days and probably 7 of the last 14 days and is a little concerning to me. The last round of new birds didn't lay nearly this number of soft shells before they got straightened out and started laying hard shell eggs. Is this normal for most birds to take this long to straighten out?

If it's not the Del, could I have a feed problem, lack of minerals, or some other malady? I don't supplement calcium because our feed has a good supply of it (4% I think) and have never had a problem with soft shells before now. To the contrary, their shells are usually so hard that it's hard to crack them on the side of the bowl/pan, so this is a little puzzling.

Any insight would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.


Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
I'd start by offering free choice oyster shells. Even though your feed has calcium in it some birds need more than what is provided by the feed. If they don't have access to extra calcium their bodies can leach some calcium from their skeletal system, but then they will start laying eggs with poor shell quality. By offering the extra calcium free choice some hens will eat it and some won't depending on their needs.

I am inclined to think the thin shells are just someone working out the kinks in the plumbing, but there are also cases of birds having a defective shell gland. If you believe you know which hen is laying these eggs, then crate her inside the coop so she can still be part of the flock but you can also isolate her and establish if she is indeed the one laying faulty eggs. I don't know that I would isolate her completely from the flock for such a minor issue because of the difficulties that are presented with re-integration.

I hope you figure out what's going on. Good luck.


12 Years
Jul 28, 2010
Ripley, WV
I found my first thin 'jelly' egg this AM. Odd thing. Like the shell was just plain missing. My birds have been laying since Dec. and this is the first one so I don't think any of them are working out any kinks. The shells have been good and strong. So I don't think they lack anything in their diet. I feed them crushed shells too. So any ideas on what gives?


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