These eggs are coming from my favorite chicken “Ducky”. Named after the ugly duckling… for obvious reasons. She is a sweetheart and is the only one who follows me around while I do outdoor chores. I have taken a lovin to Ducky, despite her ugliness and inability to give me nice eggs, but I needed to get to the bottom of this issue.
First thing I could think of was Calcium. Their eggshells are made up almost entirely of calcium so they need a lot of it. But turns out, there can be a few reasons for soft or shell-less eggs. We will first address the calcium problem though.
Most Common Causes for Soft or Shell-less Eggs
- Calcium: This is the most common cause of a shell-less or soft shelled egg. The shells are almost entirely made up of calcium carbonate crystals. This is why it is super important to replace what is lost when laying an egg. Crushed oyster shells and even baked and crushed chicken egg shells can be fed free choice to keep chickens calcium up.
Kitchen scraps such as dark leafy greens can be helpful as well, but too many treats in the kitchen scraps may cause an imbalance, so make sure they are eating properly rationed layer pellet and keep the treats to a minimum! Make sure to skip the citrus peels as they may cause egg shell problems too! Try to mix the crushed shells and even some mineral rich seaweed into some food they love… maybe some warm oatmeal!
- Stress: Just as stress in humans can cause many issues, chickens are subject to stress as well. Chickens have feelings too! Chickens can be quite nasty to each other sometimes. If you find your hens aren’t really getting along or the soft layer is not acting normal like sleeping outside while all the others would go into the nice warm coop this could be a sign. You can get little beak bits if the birds are feather picking, otherwise just try to find ways to keep them happy.
Less Common Causes for Soft or Shell-less Eggs
- Parasites and other diseases are less common but still are something to consider if stress and diet are good.
- Hybrids made for super egg production may be susceptible to soft or shell-less eggs as they simply just can’t keep up.
- Genetic Defects should be considered, and if it turns out to be the case, these hens should not be bred.
- Salt in their diet. Too much salinity can cause shell-less or thin-shelled eggs.
Lastly, it could also simply be a defective shell gland; it that is the case there is nothing to be done about it.
These are some of the things that can cause your chicken to lay a soft or shell-less egg. I have always had success giving them some crushed egg shells with powdered dried seaweed, mixed in with some treats! Give it a try if you experience the same issues.
Have you ever had any problems with your eggs? Any suggestions share your tips below!