Chickens Laying Soft Shell Eggs? Reasons, Treatment & FAQs

Do you want to know more about chickens laying soft shell eggs? In this guide you will know all about thin and soft eggs reasons with treatment ideas.

Introduction

Eggs with a thin and soft shell are very common in the poultry industry. A chicken’s eggshell is made up of calcium carbonate, which, during the formation of an egg within a hen’s body, undergoes a process called calcification.

The eggshell is produced by the oviduct or third section of a hen’s reproductive tract and is the first thing that the chick encounters.

Calcification is a very complicated process, but in simple terms, it’s when calcium carbonate is added to an organic matrix, which is mainly made up of keratin, and the resulting product forms an eggshell that protects the developing embryo.

When there is not enough calcium available for this calcification process to work properly, eggs will be laid with thin shells.

Chickens Laying Soft Shell Eggs

Chickens will lay eggs with a thin and soft shell if there is not enough calcium available for the calcification process.

This can occur in several different ways-

The best way to ensure that your hens have an adequate source of calcium is to feed them layer pellets that have been formulated for this purpose. Layer pellets will contain at least 12% calcium.

It is not advisable to feed chickens eggshells as a source of calcium because the shells are only 20% calcium and this would make them even more deficient in an already insufficient amount of calcium for calcification.

Feeding chickens’ eggshells would also be a waste because a lot of energy was used to produce them.

Why Chickens Lay Soft Shell Eggs? – Common Reasons

One possible reason for chickens laying soft-shell eggs might be because they lack certain nutrients such as biotin or vitamin D3.

The level of these vitamins within a chicken’s diet can affect their egg-laying ability and quality – if levels are too low they won’t be able to lay eggs with the correct shell quality.

Chickens requiring more biotin will produce eggs with thin shells, whereas if there is a deficiency of vitamin D3 it can also lead to thin-shelled eggs.

Some other reasons could be behind chickens laying soft-shell eggs, such as dietary deficiencies (e.g. calcium or vitamin D3), increased lighting causing an imbalance within the chicken’s body, and infections.

Broiler breeders are known to produce some of the thinnest shelled eggs on record because their high metabolisms require higher levels of calcium than what they receive on average in poultry feed mixtures and scratch feed.

This means that breeders often lay three times as many eggs as an average layer which weighs twice as much; and often twice as many eggs, if not more, during each molt or second laying interval.

Also Read:  Incubating and Hatching Chicken Eggs: Step by Step Guide

Chicken has an instinct to eat eggs that are easy to break, which causes the hen to lay soft-shelled eggs. Hens tend to eat their egg within one hour of laying them if they are not being supervised by a human.

Also read: Best vitamin and mineral supplements for chicken’s overall health

Treatment of Chickens’ Soft and Thin Shell Eggs

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A fresh brown chicken egg with soft and thin shell

There is no treatment to improve the shells of chickens once they have laid their eggs; however, there are certain things you can do to prevent it from happening again:

  • Ensure that your chickens are being fed layer pellets or other forms of balanced poultry feed.
  • Ensure that your chickens have access to the correct levels of vitamins D3 and biotin within their diet.
  • Extend the dark period for your hens to encourage them to produce more calcium for eggshell production, but ensure that you provide at least 12 hours of light daily because this is what they need to lay eggs.

Top 5 Best Calcium Supplement for Chickens

Here are few amazing calcium supplement for chickens laying soft shell eggs-

1. Manna Pro Crushed Oyster Shell | Egg-Laying Chickens | 5 LB

This product comes with a free oyster shell crusher supplement too! That’s not all, this product is also made of fine processed crushed oyster shells to provide the most premium calcium for your chickens.

Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promotes bone development in young animals.

Manna Pro Crushed Oyster Shell | Egg-Laying Chickens | 5 LB
  • Pellet size crushed oyster shell
  • Great source of calcium
  • Builds strong eggshells
  • Heat-treated for purity
  • Provides calcium

Last update on 2021-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Product Features

  • Made of fine processed crushed oyster shells, which provide more premium calcium for your chickens.
  • Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promote bone development in young animals.
  • Free Oyster shell crusher is provided too!

Pros

  • High-quality product.
  • Comes with free Oyster shell crusher supplement.
  • Easy to use and store.
  • Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promote bone development in young animals.

Cons

  • None known.

2. Purina Oyster Shell Poultry Supplement, 5 lb bag

This well-balanced poultry diet provides the minerals essential for good health, including calcium.

Contains a poultry-approved form of calcium to assist in egg production and provide sound skeletal development.

Purina Oyster Shell Poultry Supplement, 5 lb bag
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328 Reviews
Purina Oyster Shell Poultry Supplement, 5 lb bag
  • Excellent source of supplemental calcium- Supports egg...

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Product Features

  • This well-balanced poultry diet provides the minerals essential for good health, including Calcium
  • Contains a poultry-approved form of calcium to assist in egg production and provide sound skeletal development.

Pros

  • The supplement is made with an oyster shell which is a great source of calcium.
  • Assists in egg production and provides sound skeletal development
  • Purina brand is a high-quality brand.

Cons

  • Comes in small quantities.
  • Can only be used by laying hens.

3. Small Pet Select Flaked Oyster Shell-Calcium Supplement for Chickens & Ducks

This product is a poultry feed supplement that can be used as a dietary source of calcium for pet birds and animals such as chickens, ducks, etc.

The most common use for this product is to help with egg-laying issues in adult females due to lack of calcium intake.

Also Read:  How to Raise Baby Chicks? Raising Chickens Tips : Week 1 to 20

There are also various other benefits from proper Calcium supplementation such as; enhancing the immune system, preventing seizures and muscle spasms, promoting blood clotting and healthy bones and teeth formation, and more!

Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promotes bone development in young animals.

Small Pet Select Flaked Oyster Shell-Calcium Supplement for Chickens & Ducks (5lb)
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645 Reviews
Small Pet Select Flaked Oyster Shell-Calcium Supplement for Chickens & Ducks (5lb)
  • Oyster shell supplements calcium for laying hens
  • Increase strength of eggshells
  • Promotes healthy plumage of birds
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee**

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Product Features

  • This product is a poultry feed supplement that can be used as a dietary source of calcium for pet birds and animals such as chickens, ducks, etc.
  • The most common use for this product is to help with egg-laying issues in adult females due to lack of Calcium intake.
  • Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promote bone development in young animals.

Pros

  • The supplement comes with valuable nutrients like D3 which ensures good health of the birds
  • It contains all-natural ingredients.

Cons

  • May prove costly on some budgets.

4. Pet’s Friend Eggshellent Calcium 16 Ounces

The Pet’s Friend Eggshellent Calcium provides all of the necessary nutrients for laying hens, including calcium and vitamin D3.

It also helps to prevent soft-shelled or misshapen eggs and can aid in reducing feed costs by helping hens utilize food more efficiently because they need less protein.

Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promotes bone development in young animals.

Pet's Friend Eggshellent Calcium 16 Ounces
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319 Reviews
Pet's Friend Eggshellent Calcium 16 Ounces
  • A High Potency Calcium Supplements For Pets
  • Non-chemical processed
  • 100% Eggshell Powder, no additives
  • U.S.A. sourced

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Product Features

  • The Pet’s Friend Eggshellent Calcium provides all of the necessary nutrients for laying hens, including calcium and vitamin D3.
  • It also helps to prevent soft-shelled or misshapen eggs and can aid in reducing feed costs by helping hens utilize food more efficiently because they need less protein.
  • Provides essential calcium for laying hens; helps to form eggshells and promote bone development in young animals.

Pros

  • The supplement is made with an oyster shell which is a great source of calcium.
  • Can be used by both chickens and ducks & other animals.
  • Contains lots of nutrients that are beneficial for the health.

Cons

  • Comes in liquid form.
  • It may cause issues if it spills out of open containers.

5. UltraCruz-sc-516504 Poultry Bone and Egg Builder Supplement, 2 lb, Pellet

Product Description: This supplement can be used to encourage optimum egg-laying in adult chickens, improve disease resistance, and the health of your birds. It provides an excellent source of calcium for all types of poultry.

UltraCruz-sc-516504 Poultry Bone and Egg Builder Supplement, 2 lb, Pellet
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56 Reviews
UltraCruz-sc-516504 Poultry Bone and Egg Builder Supplement, 2 lb, Pellet
  • Poultry Vitamin and Mineral Supplement
  • Contains Calcium and Vitamins A, D and E
  • Supports strong bones and eggs and prevents calcium...
  • Ideal for egg-laying hens and young, growing chicks
  • Supplied as a 2 lb. bucket

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Product Features

  • Encourages optimum egg-laying in adult chickens
  • Provides an excellent source of calcium for all types of poultry.
  • Promotes overall good health for all breeds.

Pros

  • Made with high-quality ingredients that are absorbed into hens’ bodies easily because they are in pellet form.
  • The supplement is made with an oyster shell which is a great source of calcium.
  • Can be used by both chickens and ducks & other animals.
Also Read:  Can We Keep Chickens As A Pet? with Pros and Cons

Cons

  • Products quality needs improvement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are few common question asked by most of the newbie chicken raisers-

Q1. Can chicken eat eggshells?

Ans: Eggshells are made primarily of calcium carbonate. They also contain smaller amounts of protein, water, and trace elements such as zinc, copper, and chromium. When the egg is laid the shell is deposited within about fifteen minutes.

The shelf life of an un-cracked egg when refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit is about 21 to 28 days, though this can increase if any of several common harmful bacteria are present.

However, some vaccines help reduce the disease potential for salmonella, including one produced by Merial called “egg drop syndrome“. The vaccine does not cure an infected flock but may cut the level of contamination and lessen the severity of the disease.

When a hen is healthy, her body converts some of the protein in feed into vitamin D and absorbs it through its intestines to aid in the calcium absorption needed to produce eggshells.

However, deficiencies may occur due to many reasons including lack of sunshine, excess phosphorus in a ration, dirty water supply, dark-feathered breeds, stress, natural lack of appetite during winter months, or poor feed conversion.

Q2. Can hens eat raw eggs?

Ans: Yes. When chickens are raised on pasture they will naturally find and eat the unfertilized eggs produced by other birds (scavenging). However, it is not healthy for them to rely on scavenging for all of their diets.

Chickens can eat raw eggs, but they must be handled safely to prevent the chance of salmonella poisoning. It is best to cook eggs thoroughly before feeding them to your chickens. If you are not comfortable feeding them raw eggs, feed cooked eggs instead.

Q3. How old do hens have to be before they can lay eggs?

Ans: Generally, hens begin laying eggs at around 20 weeks but this will vary according to breed and other factors.

Some breeds of chickens are not meant for laying eggs. If the breed was designed to be good for meat production you should not expect them to produce many eggs.

Also Read: Best egg laying chicken breeds

Q4. Can you eat an egg with a thin and soft shell?

Ans: Yes, eggs with thin shells still have the same nutritional value that they did before being laid so there is nothing wrong or harmful about eating them. It will just feel a little bit different when cracking one open.

An Overall Summary

Chickens laying soft shell eggs can occur due to several reasons such as dietary deficiencies (e.g. calcium or vitamin D3), increased lighting causing an imbalance within the chicken’s body, and infections.

There is no treatment to improve the shells of chickens once they have laid their eggs, but there are certain things you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Chickens’ soft shell eggs contain a high amount of calcium carbonate which can be beneficial to a chicken’s diet if not in excess, feed chicken’s eggshells are also rich sources of protein, manganese, zinc, iron, and other important trace elements.

However, feeding chickens eggshells would be a waste because a lot of energy was used to produce it. There is nothing wrong or harmful about eating them because their nutritional value has not changed.

Conclusion

While there are some issues with supplements, overall they have many benefits to offer. They should be used during the winter months when natural sources of calcium are scarce or during times of stress for hens, such as molting.

It will give them a boost of nutrients and help them recover faster. While all calcium supplements provide benefits it is important to choose one for chickens laying soft shell eggs. I hope this guide will help you to get good quality eggs from your flocks.

are your chickens laying soft eggs
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