Why do I ALWAYS lay softshell eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ozarkchickens, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. ozarkchickens

    ozarkchickens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2016
    My RIR Ginger is 2 years 2 months. I can't remember when she last laid a normal egg. Every egg is soft shelled to varying degrees - from a soft collapsed spot to almost shell-less.

    My hens get mostly layer feed, one small 'meal' a day (cottage cheese, yogurt, tuna, scrambled eggs w shells, oatmeal), occasional greens (never spinach) and free choice oyster shell and grit. Thanks to many of you, I've tried different supplements and feed, from the most expensive organic to ... (with appropriate transitions). Even liquid calcium in the water.

    Ginger's eggs are SO big that every egg is laid with huge effort - daily. I fear a short life for her, despite her good health. I can only assume this is a genetic issue as my other 14 lay regular eggs.

    Any thoughts? There are no vets within 100 miles of here who will see a chicken.

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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    If you are only getting eggs from her with no shells than I would assume there's something wrong with her shell gland. Either it will resolve one day or not. Not much you can do about it.
    aart likes this.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    The fact that her eggs are so massive means that the available shell material has a much larger egg to cover. I'm guessing that eventually she will succumb to a reproductive issue.
  4. shanadienne

    shanadienne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2013
    Massachusetts, USA
    I have an Easter Egger, one year old, with a similar problem—all the eggs she lays are either bumpy all over (they look like a popcorn ceiling, but smaller/finer bumps) or soft-shelled. Once I got a soft-shell covered in grainy light green powder. Plus she sometimes lays them at night on the perch.
  5. NewChickmom2016

    NewChickmom2016 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 25, 2016
    My Easter Egger was laying thin shelled bumpy eggs. Now just thin shelled. Last night she laid one from the perch- first time that has ever happened with her - splat. Gave her some calcium / Vit D today - will continue to do so for a few days and see if it helps. Wondering if soft shell eggs is more common with Easter Eggers - does anyone know?
  6. ChocolateMouse

    ChocolateMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2013
    Cleveland OH
    They are not more common. It's sometimes genetic, but easter eggers are (generally speaking) either mixed breeds or a landrace at best, not strictly a "breed" per say and don't have tight lines that would breed that in. A chicken with soft shelled eggs can't reproduce anyhow so it'd be harder to pass down.

    As for the OP, I'd say it's just a problem your chicken happen to have and, given all that you've tried, will keep having. I would be shocked to hear that even with the best of care this bird lived to a ripe old age. It's up to you whether or not to keep or cull as is appropriate to your needs. Just bear in mind that you will probably have to put this bird down due to something like prolapse or egg binding someday. It's VERY common in birds with problems like these.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I have a thin/softshell layer...they go from soft to hard, mostly thin.
    It's just her. Stress may be a factor.

    I call her 'Lemon'...you know, like a 'lemon car' with all sorts of problems.
    She'll be stew by winter.

    IZZYBELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2013
    Wow imagine having to pop that out daily! I have noticed that as my girls have aged their egg size has gotten larger. Sometimes the shells are thinner, too. (I only noticed when I added a young layer... man her shells are hard!) When I find an overly thin shell, I put the oyster shell directly in their feed, so that they have no choice but to eat it. It does seem to harden them up. Maybe try that? It won't help with the egg size, though.
  9. chicklets81

    chicklets81 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 10, 2017
    I have a Buff Orpington who is in her 2nd year and she will not lay a normal egg. I have 10 laying hens, and everyone lays normal eggs but her. There are a few chickens that have decided to roost way up high above the roosting bar, on a nesting box turned upside down, and this is where she sleeps, and will lay her soft shelled egg up high and so it splats on the floor. This happens once or twice a week.

    She is the only one who will not lay a normal egg. I haven't figured it out yet, and I don't think I ever will.
  10. shanadienne

    shanadienne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 10, 2013
    Massachusetts, USA
    Seems like the soft-shell layers sometimes don't know they are laying eggs!

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