Chickens Laying Eggs With No Shell – Have your hens ever laid soft-shelled eggs that got you worried?
A host of factors could be influencing this occurrence.
Chickens laying eggs with no shell or soft shells isn’t anything new.
In fact, the reasons behind it are easy enough to understand that you should be able to do something about the situation when it arises.
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Table of Contents
How to Classify Soft Chicken Eggs
Eggs that have underdeveloped outer layers are classified into categories based on the way these eggs appear.
There are soft shell eggs, shell-less eggs, rubber eggs, and partially-shelled eggs.
On some occasions, hens can lay eggs that have no shell at all.
In this case, you’re only able to see a membrane- and albumen-wrapped egg yolk.
In other cases, the results only turn out slightly better, with eggs appearing to have a shell, but one that can be cracked very easily.
Factors That Impact Eggshell Formation
A shell is formed to provide protection to the life growing inside an egg.
It’s a compact and sturdy layer that blocks dangerous pathogens and bacteria from invading the yolk.
In light of this, chicken embryos developing inside shell-less eggs are extremely vulnerable to outside elements.
There’s a good chance these eggs could be carrying a variety of bacteria and germs.
Defective shells aren’t all that bad, especially if you’re looking to use them for animal consumption.
Thin-shelled eggs, for example, are packed with protein and are a great food source for farmhouse pigs.
You’ll want to make sure, however, that the eggshells aren’t completely shattered before feeding them to the animals.
It is a possibility that soft-shelled eggs won’t happen very often.
However, to ease your worries, let’s take a look at all the elements that factor into raising chickens for their eggs.
A young hen is more susceptible to laying a soft-shelled egg.
Older hens are unlikely to pose these kinds of problems as they’ve already gone through the biological process of laying eggs several times over.
In this case, you’re looking at an underdeveloped biological framework as a potential reason for why eggs are coming out soft in some hens.
A hen’s diet is another possible culprit for why she could have laid a soft-shelled egg.
Grower rations are usually fed to younger hens, while older hens receive layer rations.
Grower feed is also known to contain much less calcium compared to layer feed.
In Young Hens
Since calcium is critical to egg development, it follows that younger hens are much more likely to lay eggs that have underdeveloped or even non-existent shell layers.
Calcium supports the building of eggshells, which makes it a necessary nutrient for hens of all ages.
The moment you notice any hen in your flock laying soft-shelled eggs, quickly switch up its feed to a layer ration.
More often than not, giving your hens calcium-rich feed greatly decreases the possibility of them laying soft- or partially-formed eggs.
You’ll soon notice their eggs coming out fully developed and healthy.
If this still isn’t the case, you’re going to have to include calcium supplements in your hen’s diet.
Keep in mind that feed containing a good amount of calcium might still not be able to yield eggs with fully-developed eggshells.
This is when you have to accept the fact that younger hens just don’t have the physical structure to support eggshell formation.
When young hens take in calcium, they end up applying the nutrient to other parts of their system.
In Older Hens
As soon as they grow older, however, their bodies will realize that more calcium needs to be allocated for the production of eggs.
Older hens are perfectly suited for egg-laying because even when they don’t have enough calcium in their diet, they’re able to draw the nutrient from some other part of their body.
There is only going to be a problem if the hen’s bones are weak—a sign that it lacks calcium.
Addressing Calcium Deficiency in Hens
If you’re looking for calcium supplements for hens that are about to go on full lay, strongly consider incorporating toasted eggshells and oyster shells into their diet.
While you’re at it, you’ll also want to make sure the rest of your flock is fed the right way.
Get more information on how to accomplish this by checking out the best chicken feed options for your flock in the market.
Calcium deficiency is not going to be the worst thing that happens to your precious hens.
Rest assured that if this is their only problem, you have a variety of scientifically proven ways to address it quickly and efficiently.
Chickens Under Stress
Now, stress is definitely a killer; it may not kill your chickens outright, but it will ruin their egg-laying capabilities to a certain degree.
You’ll notice immediately if a hen is stressed out if it’s not as active as it usually is and doesn’t feed as much.
Their soft-shelled eggs will also be a sign that they’re probably not feeling as well as you think.
The problematic issue of stress can arise from several factors, which include the changing seasons and the type of environment your flock is living in.
Heat can potentially be devastating for your chickens, especially in the absence of cover and lack of water access.
You’ll need to make sure your flock has regular access to shaded areas throughout the day to keep them cool, and a regular supply of water to keep them hydrated.
Of course, you also have to accept the fact that weather changes are beyond your control.
You may not have been able to stop the changes in the weather and temperature from taking a toll on your hens and causing them to lay underdeveloped eggs, but you did do your part to ensure they survived.
At the end of the day, nothing else is going to matter as much.
Moving on, let’s take a closer look at the different stress factors that influence the kind of shells a hen’s eggs end up having:
The living conditions of your flock can greatly impact their stress levels.
One instance is when chickens have to live with a multitude of other chickens, sometimes other animals, and compete for shade, food, water, and other necessities they need to survive.
It’s far from being an ideal scenario and is something that is almost always guaranteed to cause stress.
These less-than-ideal conditions could negatively impact some chickens more than others.
Chicks and sick chickens could possibly end up dying, and hens in full lay may end up laying eggs that are underdeveloped.
There are regions that require keepers to regulate the size of their coop so that the chickens are able to grow and live a healthy life.
In these areas, failing to raise your chickens the right way could get you in trouble with the law.
Having a large number of chickens packed in a small coop is unhealthy, not just for the chickens but also for those raising them.
Imagine how fast bacteria and diseases could spread in this kind of scenario.
Chickens tend to get stressed from mating too much, which is exactly what happens when they’re all packed together, so make sure your flock has just enough space to roam around.
Furthermore, you’ll also need to implement a healthy rooster-to-hen ratio so that your hen’s ovaries don’t get stressed out from the frequent mating.
Now, this one is the real killer.
Not only is the stress caused by the sun’s relentless burning heat something for you to worry about when raising chickens for their eggs, but it’s also a serious threat to your chickens’ health and well-being.
Hot weather conditions can lead to the production of underdeveloped eggs, usually thin-shelled eggs or eggs without any form of shell covering.
You’ll notice a big difference in how eggshells turn out when you compare batches laid during the warmer months with those laid during the colder months.
Reproduction during the winter season generally leads to healthier batches of eggs.
Chickens on the receiving end of the sun’s heat are definitely going to feel its full intensity.
If they aren’t able to seek cover under the shade during these moments, they could potentially end up getting harmed or even dying.
This is, again, why we stress the importance of having a coop that has enough areas under the shade for all the fowls.
Additionally, there must be enough clean water sources inside the coop to help the chickens combat the very worst of the summer heat.
The amount of heat absorbed by hens will impact their laying abilities.
Their lack of cooling mechanism means you have to put double effort into making sure they’re well-fed and properly hydrated during the hotter months, as well as able to seek refuge from a number of shaded areas inside their coop.
Juicy treats, such as mealworms, can help take a bit of the edge off the heat and offer some much-needed hydration.
Calcium supplements are especially ideal during this time when your chickens need physical and reproductive support the most.
Stress From Diseases
There’s no questioning the fragility of chickens.
As strong as these animals appear, they’re immune systems are going to cave when subjected to the most damaging conditions.
In these instances, ailments start to develop and make an impact on your fowl’s health.
When hens lay soft or partially-formed eggs, they could be suffering from a viral or bacterial infection.
You don’t want to wait out these issues and hope for the best because as determined and strong-willed as chickens are, they don’t exactly have the greatest immune system.
Ailments and chicken disease that are affecting your fowls could very easily thrive and spread, infecting some of the other members of the flock.
When neglected, such issues can get even worse and maybe even end up killing the entire flock.
In the event of severe (and we say severe because even the flu can be fatal to a chicken) health problems, make sure to take your chicken to the vet immediately.
Proper diagnoses and treatments are needed for chickens exhibiting symptoms of illnesses.
In most cases, once your hens recover from their ailments, they should start laying normal and healthy eggs again.
Why Are Chickens Laying Eggs With No Shell
There are times when, no matter what you do, there’ll still be that one stray egg that isn’t perfect.
The eggshell is either too soft, not completely formed, or totally nonexistent.
There’s just no explanation for it, and it’s something that you have to accept.
This is, in a way, nature telling you that you will never have full control.
As long as you are doing the right thing, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
You just need to be wise and cover all the bases.
Take care of your flock the right way by regularly providing clean water sources, nutrient-rich feed, enough shaded areas, and calcium supplements.
Also, make it a point to partner with an experienced veterinarian who can provide quality consultation for all kinds of issues concerning flock raising.
This individual should have sufficient knowledge on how to address problems regarding eggshell formation.
Chickens Laying Eggs With No Shell
Is there really a way to ensure that 100 percent of the chicken eggs from your flock will turn out healthy with fully-formed shells?
No, there isn’t.
Plus, if we really wanted to find out, then it would take more than analyzing a group of chickens laying eggs with no shell, or an entire batch of soft-shelled eggs, to discover the answer.
Again, this is science telling you that you have to surrender to it.
At the end of the day, there is really only so much you can do as an ordinary chicken keeper.
However, when you do all the things you’re supposed to do the right way, you’re very likely to end up happy with not just the quality of eggs your flock’s hens produce but also with your flock’s general health and behavior.
Gather as much information as you can from verified sources. Learn from your experiences.
Then, you should be able to garner results that will ensure happy chickens.