soft shell / no shell eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RisingSpring, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    one of my wyandotte hens has been laying weird eggs this week. i have seen it happen 3 times so far (today i saw her actually lay it) where she lays an egg that looks like it has a very soft shell that just breaks apart, or could just be an egg with a thick membrane with no shell?

    every time, patty the hen grabs the egg and runs away from the other chickens, and proceeds to peck at it / try to eat it. until a few days ago she was laying normal eggs (as far as i know).

    our chickens are free range, eat all organic laying feed, get supplemented with lots of goodies. most of our hens only started laying in the last 2 months and we don't extend light exposure in the coop.

    i have read that this can be due to calcium problems; any reason why one hen would be having problems and not the others? anything else can cause this to happen?
     
  2. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2010
    Southern Maine
    Is she lower on the pecking order, maybe she doesn't have access to the feed or supplements that the others do. If you are not already giving them oyster shells you should start offering them free choice. It can also be a pretty normal thing for it to happen once in a while.
     
  3. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    Each hen is different and some could need more nutrients than others. Free choice does not work for me, so I feed them their shells back to them as needed or occasionally mix oyster shells in their feed. But, since the eggs being eaten are soft shelled, they might need other nutrients other than just calcium.
     
  4. bobertyork

    bobertyork Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2009
    Atlanta GA
    I too would mix oystershells in their food and feed back their own eggshells. wash them, let them dry and crush them with a mortar and pestal.
     
  5. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
    Have any of you seen on your hens sitting on the roost and drop a very soft shell egg? It was evening and they were all on the roost when she dropped the egg. It was the first soft shell any of them had laid. They have good protein feed, their dried egg shells fed back, greens and treats, oyster shells, etc. I know you can get an occasional soft shell, but to just drop one from 4 feet in the air??? I have never seen this. Has anyone else?
     
  6. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    I have not seen it, but hear of it happening. Most of the time it is a regular shelled egg from young hens, but some have been soft/no shell eggs.
     
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

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    Aug 20, 2010
    Colmesneil,TX

    Yep, my top hen did this right in front of me once this fall. She looked like she was trying to make a poo and out popped a soft egg. She laid a bunch of soft shelled eggs then stopped laying completely. The soft ones were everywhere but she always laid the hard ones in the nest. She ate the same as the others and they laid regular eggs. I guess it's just her plumbing. They all stopped laying around the time she did, by the way. One of these older girls has started back up now so hopefully the others will too.
     
  8. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 24, 2010
    Southern Maine
    I've had this happen too with my top hen. Everything went back to normal quickly though.
     
  9. RisingSpring

    RisingSpring Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 30, 2011
    Northwestern PA
    she is not low on the pecking order. in fact, she is one of the rooster's favorite hens. she eats with everyone else, no problems there.

    we have been collecting drying and powdering their egg shells for some time now. have given them some a few times, not as consistently as we should yet. i am not interested in buying oyster shells.

    she is a young hen, only started laying in the last 2 months, so i know age isn't an issue. i really hope this is just a phase and things go back to normal!

    what if they don't though?? anything else i should be concerned about??
     
  10. Kara515

    Kara515 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Southeast Missouri
    Galanie: Thank you! That is exactly what happened with my hen. All of my chickens are less than 4 years old so hopefully it is just a fluke and things will go back to normal also.

    BantamoftheOpera: Thank you also! Good to know it can come and go!

    RisingSpring: Sounds like you shouldn't have too much to worry about. I don't feed my girls free choice oyster shells but offer it to them off and on because I have yet to find a way to keep it clean! I get an occasionally elongated egg or short and squat shaped egg but it appears that laying an occasional soft shell egg isn't going to be something to worry about too much. Maybe offer their own egg shells back to them more often since you are not wanting to go with the oyster shells. If it doesn't stop after another week or so, you may need to ask for more ideas! Good luck!!
     

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