soft shells

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bucky1198, Oct 20, 2011.

  1. bucky1198

    bucky1198 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 21, 2011
    My hens have been laying for awhile but today I found an egg with a soft shell almost felt like a water balloon I have oyster shells for them out for the last 2weeks but they don't seem to want anything to do with them is there anything else i can do?
  2. Yay Chicks!

    Yay Chicks! Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Forest Grove, OR
    You can clean and crush their eggshells and give them those [​IMG]
  3. LT

    LT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 21, 2011
    West Fork
    Ours didn't seem interested in oyster shell either, so I started cleaning the shells, baking them for a bit to sterilize and make them more brittle. Then I ran them through the food processor and mixed them in with some left over cornbread batter. If chickens could lick a plate clean they would have!!!! Plus I really like knowing that their eggs are being used 100%!
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    If you only find one soft shelled egg, do not worry. There is nothing wrong. If the egg shells are fine except for this one case, they do not need more calcium.

    Occasionally a hen's internal egg laying factory messes up and starts a second yolk through the process soon after another one has started. The first egg is normal but it has used up the egg shell material in the shell gland. The hen's shell gland does not have enough time to collect enough shell material for the second egg so it is often a soft shelled or shell-less egg. There are a few other things that might cause a rare soft shelled egg, but her laying one after the other is the usual cause if it is a rare occurrence.

    If it is one hen consistently doing his and all the other hens lay eggs with good shells, it is something internally wrong with that one hen. Her body does not process the calcium correctly.

    If it is one just starting to lay, it sometimes takes a while for the pullet's internal egg laying factory to work out the bugs. You can get all sorts of weird eggs until they get the internal egg laying factory working properly.

    If many eggs are consistently soft, they probably need more calcium or they have a disease. This does not sound like it is your case.

    Layer feed has all the calcium in it that they need for egg shells if Layer is all they eat. If you feed them a whole lot of other stuff, they may not get enough calcim so offering oyster shell is a good idea. It actually never hurts to offer oyster shell, but if they don't touch it, they are getting enough calcium from other sources.

    I feed Starter or Grower to my entire flock when I have young chickens with the flock and offer oyster shell on the side. If I keep them locked in the run, they eat some oyster shell, but not really a lot. I do feed them a lot of green stuff from the garden. You'd be surprised how much calcium is in some of those plants. When I let them free range, whether I am feeding Layer, Starter, of Grower, they hardly ever touch the oyster shell and the egg shells are fine. They get all the calcium they need from what they are finding to eat, either from the Layer or the bugs, plants, and other stuff they eat.

    To sum up. If it is a very rare occurrence or a pullet just starting to lay, you do not have a problem. If it is one hen consistently doing this, your problem is one hen, not the entire flock. If it is flock wide, then you do have a problem.

    Good luck!!!
  5. MontanaChickenLady

    MontanaChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2011
    Beautiful Montana
    My chickens didn't seem to want any of the oyster shells either when I had them out as a separate dish. Instead, I decided to incorporate it with their regular feed and mixed it according to the ratio given on the package. I feed all of my chickens layer feed and now with the oyster shells incorporated. I was told all of this is OK for my rooster to be eating as well. Eggs have been great and I've only seen a total of 2 soft eggs since they started laying.
  6. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    I do find that my birds prefer crushed egg shells. I simply wash them with water, air dry and hand crush them. No problem with soft shell except an 3-year-old Production Red. Her case is more of a system malfunction from "old" age. In her prime, she was an egg machine.

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