Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ask Bee - Why Are My Hens are Laying Thin Shell / Soft Shelled Eggs??

Dear Bee,

Speaking of thin shells and egg eating (from the post:
Ask Bee - Help! Egg-Eating Chickens!), I have a question. Starting a few weeks ago, I suddenly had no-shell and soft-shelled eggs. My flock’s diet hasn’t changed, but I switched feeds to a higher protein layer ration. I also sprinkle oyster shell on the ground in addition to their already free choice and I grind up the egg shells (what I use myself - the rest are sold and don't come back) and mix with table scraps.

I have a few pullets new to laying, so I attributed the no shells to them. But then I noticed the thin and soft shelled (membrane only) eggs. This also happened in March. Is this the "time of year" when I'm starting to get these eggs because of the molt? Or is there something else going on?

Since I changed the ration and started sprinkling oyster shell on the ground, the no-shells have disappeared, but I still have one laying a thin shell. Will it take a while to get them situated again? 

Bee's Answer:

Spring and Fall are the times of year that hen's reproductive organs are recovering from a lull, a down time in the hormones, etc.  When they restart, sometimes things sputter a little.  Sometimes when they are gearing down for a low egg production time, they will also do this.  This goes away in time and pretty soon the eggs are all good.  Yes, this is the time of year and again in March when they are gearing up for peak laying season after their natural winter slow down.  You'll also see this at times from a broody who is going back to laying. 

Much like how a woman’s body can do things differently after having a baby… but then things go back to normal after a while.

Bee -

November 27, 2012 is the last day to leave your comment to be part of



  1. Ah-ha. I just had my Silver Laced Wyandotte go through the thin shell (with some bumpy ends) process. Now I know it's all hormonal and light related. I had double checked the oyster shell supply which looked good. Now I know. thanks Bee and Bulldogma.

  2. I have occasionally seen thin/no shell eggs when the pullets first start laying too. I think sometimes they don't eat enough oystershell to start out with, so in the future I'll be sure to mix some into the feed and maybe feed some buttermilk at POL>

  3. Hi! I have just recently decided upon getting into chickens and your blog is my favorite one to "study". Do you all eat these eggs with no shells? I am assuming they are ok to eat just not ok to sell? Thanks so much for all this info! Makes it look more like fun and less like work!!

    1. Dontspraymebro - it would be inadvisable to eat a soft-shell egg as the membrane can be more easily penetrable by bacteria. It's fine to "pop" them and feed them to your chickens, though.

  4. I really love the "no spring chicken" key chain btw.

    1. Be sure to enter your comment under the giveaway blog to be up for the drawing :) The link is highlighted in the blog above.

  5. A soft-shelled egg is not good to eat? I have been eating them for 35 years. Are you saying there is not protective coating from the hen if it is soft shelled?


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