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Top Reasons Why Hens Lay Soft-Shelled Eggs!

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Top Reasons Why Hens Lay Soft-Shelled Eggs!So, what are the top reasons why hens lay soft-shelled eggs? I have always enjoyed collecting eggs after my hens have laid in their nests. This gives me a satisfactory feeling knowing that my family has a reliable source of fresh eggs. Whether organic eggs or otherwise, the sight of eggs leaves me with a sense of fulfillment. But the presence of soft-shelled eggs makes me curious and I’ve always wanted to know why this happens.

The answer to this question will surprise you but it’s worth knowing what causes such deformities in eggs. The most common causes could be your chickens’ age, lack of calcium, stress, henpecking and dietary imbalance among others.

Soft-shelled eggs have a thin layer of shell covering the egg whites and yolk. If you touch the egg it often feels pliable and leathery. Despite their softness, soft-shelled eggs are somehow durable just like normal eggs.

You may touch them, hold them and even carry them around without breaking. Below are the top reasons why hens lay soft-shelled eggs.

What are the Top Reasons Why Hens Lay Soft-Shelled Eggs?

The Chickens’ Age

  • Any time you discover that your hens are laying soft-shelled eggs, you should look at their respective ages. Pullets are the most affected layers when compared to the rest of your flock.
  • These young hens are more likely to lay thin-shelled eggs, shell-less eggs or soft-shelled eggs. This is not so common in older layers as you may discover later. Soft-shelled eggs, as you may expect, have a shorter shelf-life than the hard-shelled eggs due to their deformities.

Likely Reasons

Manna Pro Poultry Grit
Manna Pro Poultry Grit

Age Versus Diet

  • Another reason could be the type of diet your pullets take as they transition from young chickens to adults. If you have provided your pullets with growers ration, switch to layers mash as soon as possible. The growers feed could be lacking essential nutrients that determine the quality of egg-shells.
  • Calcium is one of the key elements that aid in the development of strong shells around the eggs. Its deficiency in the growers’ mash could be the reason your pullets are producing poor quality eggs. The age of your layers in relation to what you’re feeding them can impact the physical characteristics of their eggs.

Lack of Calcium

  • We’ve discussed calcium deficiency briefly as one of the top reasons why hens lay soft-shelled eggs. How about when your layers are older and suddenly start producing deformed eggs? If you experience such a case it’s time to check what they are feeding, particularly their calcium intake.

A Chicken Diet Low in Calcium

  • Calcium deficiency is one of the causes of the poor development of eggshells. Keep in mind that this essential nutrient plays a key role in the quality of eggs and shell formation. Even though some chicken feeds contain extra calcium, you should provide supplements to ensure that your birds have enough.
  • Lack of calcium in your layers’ diet goes beyond just causing soft eggs. For your birds to produce eggs, they must get enough calcium no matter the source. If they don’t get enough of this mineral, your hens will start looking for it from their bones. This should sound as a warning to you because the habit can lead to serious health problems.
Purina Oyster Shell Poultry Supplement, 5 lb bag
Purina Oyster Shell Poultry Supplement, 5 lb bag

Calcium Supplements

  • Toasted eggshells and oyster shells are the two most important supplements for your layers. This is because they provide your flock of birds with a substantial amount of calcium for quality egg production.
  • Once you notice that your older hens are laying soft-shelled eggs, try to feed them on foods rich in calcium. If the problem persists, consult with your local vet to find a better solution.

It Could be Stress

  • Besides the age of your chickens and lack of calcium, stress can lead to poor quality eggshells. In this case, the main cause of stress could be excess heat, environment, predator or even rooster stress. All these play a role in determining the well-being of your birds.

Environmental Stress

  • Environmental stress can refer to anything ranging from a small chicken run to an overcrowded coop. Such environmental conditions can impact your hens’ ability to lay good quality eggs.
  • Too many chickens confined in small spaces is a recipe for a disaster and isn’t encouraged. Therefore, you can reduce stress among your flock by providing them with enough space in their coop. Also, ensure that their living space has certain features that will keep them comfortable and active throughout.

Excess Heat

  • Excess heat is one of the major causes of stress among your layers. Too much heat can make your hens lay soft-shelled eggs. Naturally, a chicken’s body can withstand a temperature of about 106 degrees Fahrenheit. Unlike humans, hens cannot control excess temperatures effectively. This calls for drastic measures to keep your birds comfortable.
  • Even though you cannot control weather conditions around your birds’ living space, you can still give them some relief. Ensure that they have enough water to quench their thirst and cool off their bodies when it’s hot. Apart from that, provide them with a cool shelter where they can rest during the day.

Provide them with Nutritious Treats

  • Supplement the diet with nutritious treats such as mealworms and frozen fruits to improve their egg production. Hot weather conditions can cause dietary deficiencies among your layers. As a result, they will use more nutrients to fight stress rather than for improving egg quality. Providing them with certain treats will help them overcome their stress.

Rooster Stress

  • Inasmuch as roosters play a critical role in fertilizing eggs, they can also cause stress to layers. This comes about when they over mate, thus stressing layers in the process. If you notice that your roosters are a problem for your hens, then you should separate them. Roosters are not necessary for hens to lay unless you want fertilized eggs. Less stress means that your layers will produce eggs of very high quality, particularly in their shells.

Henpecking

  • henpecking goes hand in hand with bullying and can lead to the formation of oddly shaped or soft-shelled eggs. If one of your hens is constantly bullied by others, she will get stressed. A lot of stress interferes with the development and formation of eggs. To some extent, it can cause the affected hen to lay fewer eggs or stop laying at all.

Isolate the Aggressive Chickens

  • Once you discover that there are overly aggressive birds in your flock, you can isolate them to save the peaceful ones. Doing so will reduce stress among your layers, leading to the production of well-shaped eggs with strong shells.
  • Alternatively, you may consider using beak bits to minimize cases of pecking. These accessories fit well onto the birds’ beak to prevent them from hurting others.

It could be a Sign of Illness

  • Sickness is one of the top reasons why hens lay soft-shelled eggs. As a matter of fact, poorly formed eggs is a sign that your layers are not fine. This is a clear indication that one of your birds is sick.
  • Common types of illnesses that can lead to the production of soft-shelled eggs include bumblefoot, bacterial infections, trauma and virus. Each of these infections affects chickens differently but their impacts result in low-quality eggs.
  • If you suspect that one of your layers is sick, reach out to a vet as soon as possible. It is only the vet that can diagnose, reveal the exact sickness and recommend the right treatment. Once the sickness is resolved, you can rest assured that your hen will lay high-quality eggs. After all, healthy chickens are a source of happiness to the owner.

Related Questions

Is it right to consume a soft-shelled egg?

  • The fact that the egg does not look normal means that there is something wrong with it. The shell plays a big role in keeping the egg and its contents safe from pathogens and germs. So a soft-shelled egg is not fit for consumption because it might be invaded with harmful pathogens. Eating such an egg can cause serious health problems to you or your family members.

What is the difference between a soft-shelled egg and a shell-less egg?

  • A soft-shelled egg is characterized by a thin-looking layer covering the egg-whites and yolk. When you touch the layer, it feels leathery and soft. However, you can handle this type of egg without damaging it. Shell-less eggs, as the name suggests, have no shell or layer covering its contents. Instead, it has a thin membrane covering the egg-whites and yolk. A shell-less egg is very delicate to handle and does not have a distinctive shape of a normal egg.

In Conclusion:

Sometimes hens lay eggs with soft shells even without experiencing the above named Top reasons why hens lay soft-shelled eggs. This just occurs and most of the chicken owners find it normal unless the problem persists. If that happens in your case, find out the causes and their remedies to keep your flock healthy and productive.

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