Young silkie laying soft eggs

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Squid, Nov 11, 2013.

  1. Squid

    Squid New Egg

    Sep 25, 2011
    San Diego
    I have a silkie hen who is about 8 months old and has been laying for about 3 weeks now. She layed a weeks worth of healthy hard eggs but for the last 2 weeks she has been laying soft shelled eggs. We find the egg broken in the roost with a soft, lizard-like shell or sometimes it looks like there was no shell at all. I have researched it (even in the threads here) and it seems like most of the shared experiences were duds like a one time thing but my question is what happens if it doesn't stop?
    She is extremely healthy. She is the head hen and eats A LOT. I am going to start adding crushed oyster shells but I have a hard time believing its any type of deficiency since it happened over night and she is so plump and healthy!
    Thanks a lot!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    What feed is she getting? Starter, grower or layer?
    Soft eggs are either a nutritional imbalance, disease or damaged shell gland.

    If no disease then there is an imbalance of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.
    Too little calcium can cause poor shell quality but it can also be caused by too much calcium in relation to the amount of phosphorus. It can also be inadequate vitamin D as all living things need D to absorb calcium and a proper Ca:p ratio.
    If she's getting sunlight she likely has sufficient D.


    Chickens have medullary bone which they extract calcium from to get the 3 grams it takes to make an egg shell while the egg is in the shell gland. That has to be replaced with calcium from the diet.
    If the calcium is insufficient, brittle bones and rickets can result. If calcium is too high, in relation to phosphorus, renal damage can occur.

    The best bet is to provide oyster shell in a separate container for the hens to choose when to eat it.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by