What exactly are soft-shelled eggs?

Discussion in 'Quail' started by SeptemberQuail, Jan 27, 2013.

  1. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2012
    I mean, I know what they are in general, but just in deeper detail, what are they?

    I went to check the water and food for my isolated quail hen, and it was unusual because I found a white egg in the corner of her enclosure. I picked it up, and she immediately turned around and ran up to me and pecked at it, thinking it was boiled egg! (As that's probably her most favourite treat!) I was surprised that she didn't gobble it up before I came.

    Luckily I managed to take it out before she could peck anymore. But it broke easily, she made a hole on the side and when I gently pressed on the sides of the egg, a small crack started appearing, and the texture of the egg felt a little weird anywho.

    Now, she laid that egg early in the morning, whereas it's usual routine for my quail to lay in the afternoon or evening. She continued laying normal eggs the day after (I provided her with extra calcium stuff).

    So, I'm just wondering, are soft-shelled eggs just eggs still in the process of being made? Or just that there was a lack of calcium in her system, so the egg couldn't continue being formed and had to just come out?

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  3. iamcuriositycat

    iamcuriositycat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Charlotte, NC
    Cool link, flockwatcher.

    SeptemberQuail, we all get these from time to time, and it's generally nothing to be worried about. As to *what* they are, it's easiest to understand if you think about how an egg is formed in the hen's body. It's essentially "built" from the inside out, and the shell is the last thing to go on--after the membranes have formed. When you see a soft-shelled egg, usually it's actually a no-shelled egg--i.e., the hen's system simply "forgot" to apply that last layer, and what you see are the tough inner membranes without their shell.

    There are disorders that can cause this to happen, but most of the time it's a simple "mis-fire" and is quickly adjusted for. In your hen's case, it sounds like she just got a little off-schedule and laid that one early, before it was done.

    Hope that helps. :)
    1 person likes this.
  4. CuriousQuail

    CuriousQuail Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 22, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I had that issue the first week I got my quail. I suspect that it's because they were stressed.
    THEN I upped the amount of oyster shell I mixed in their food. Haven't had an issue since. I add some to their sand box, their food, and a wee bit on the side.

    I try to avoid leaving it on its' own on the side because they think it's sand and will bathe in it....
  5. SeptemberQuail

    SeptemberQuail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2012
    Thank you all for the replies!
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by