What would cause an egg shell defect?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by technodoll, Jan 15, 2010.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Since early november, one of my sexlink hens has been laying a very brittle, sandy, thin-shelled egg that breaks with the slightest tap.

    The egg inside is normal.

    All eggs up until early November were fine and the only thing I can think of is disease or lack of free-ranging.

    Since I don't know which hen lays this egg, how could I narrow it down to try and fix the problem?

    All other layers give me perfect, thick-shelled eggs and the flock eats the exact same thing (yes it's a balanced diet with free-choice ground oyster shell).

    I keep examining my laying hens but everyone looks and acts healthy (they were dewormed mid-December and have no lice or mites, no coughs or nasal discharges, etc).

    One of my girls seems to be very thin though, and her crop is always huge and hard. She's the smallest of the sexlinks. Could she be having trouble digesting her food and thus be the culprit? She seems fine otherwise, but being so thin worries me - her keel bone is really prominent and hurts my hand when I pick her up.

    I have been looking for grit for 2 months now, to no avail. NOBODY sells any around here, it's unbelievable.

    Thanks for any advice...
  2. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    It could be many things, I guess. I had a Buff Orpington last year that seemed to lay OK for the first few months, then her egg got thin shelled & sand papery as you describe. I upped her protein & calcium & tried all kinds of things, but eventually she just stopped laying altogether except once in awhile I would find just the yolk and white in the nestbox with no shell. Her BO hatchmate never layed an egg that I know of and finally died after she went through the molt this year. I concluded it was genetic, but I don't know. Hope someone has an answer for you. Good luck.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You might look through this to see if you notice something that fits your situation.

    Egg Quality Handbook

    As far as grit, you can buy construction sand, pea gravel, things like that to use. It does not have to say grit to be able to be used. You do have to be a bit careful as some things they sell for aquariums is really plastic and not rock, but they can use a lot of things for grit. I go to my gravel road and get pea-sized and smaller gravel and throw it in the run for them. If your roads are salted, you might not want to do this since too much salt is not good for the chickens.

    Good luck!!
  4. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2009
    Quebec, Canada
    Thank you both for your help!

    We're buried in snow here and can't even see the roads (which are icy and salted) so I'm kinda stuck...

    I have asked half a dozen hardware stores and farm co-ops for anything I could use for grit and it's always the same answer "no, sorry, we don't carry anything". Grrrrr! I'm making a special trip to a city an hour away to see if I can find something there, I can't imagine it's healthy for chickens to NOT have any grit for months at a time [​IMG]

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