(Q) POOR EGG SHELLS
I have several hens which are all just basic hens for laying eggs. They are mostly just over two years old and have been fine and laying on a regular basis, but recently I have noticed that there are one or two eggs which do not have a shell, they are egg shaped with a sort of rubberised skin. This has happened only recently and I have removed them straight away as there was one that had been broken and the hens were just starting to peck and eat it.
Have you any idea as to the cause of these strange eggs and what can I do to make the problem go away?
This is a very common problem and the eggs are called “Soft Shelled Eggs” which means just what it says.
The problem is that the hen is not producing enough calcium or protein which it requires to create the actual shell. There is also the possibility that the bird has been laying well for quite some time and therefore needs to take a rest from the laying process whilst she rebuilds her resources.
You can help by adding “Shell Aid” to the birds water, as this will provide essential minerals and vitamins. Also try adding a small amount of cod liver oil to the birds feed.
What I do suggest is that if they have been in lay for a long period let them rest and you will find that the production will soon be back to normal after a few weeks, they would also benefit by adding some "Poultry Tonic" to their drinking water, as this is packed full of vitamins designed for poultry.
The soft-shelled eggs can present the problem of egg eating, this is a habit that takes a lot of breaking. Although this can be difficult, try to make sure you remove any malformed eggs and clean up any broken ones straight away, as once the bird gets the taste for the eggs you have a major problem to stop the egg eating.
BB’S Choice is a selection of only the best tried and tested products recommended by Terry Beebe. Terry has been involved in backyard and exhibition poultry keeping for over 20 years and writes articles for Practical Poultry, Fancy Fowl, Country Smallholder, Home Farmer magazines and many others. He has also written several informative books, so you know his advice can be trusted.