Eggs with no shells
QI have two hens, by all appearances apparently healthy. They are good friends (no squabbling) and both only two years old. However, there have been no eggs for these past several months. Rather, shall I say - there have been eggs laid but no shells. I am quite desperate for a solution and so would welcome advice. They live well in excellent condition and otherwise seem happy.
AJeremy Hobson says: By saying ‘no shells’, I’m presuming that you mean they have no hard egg shell and that the yolk and albumen is held together by a sort of soft, rubbery casing.
Assuming that to be the case, quite often ‘soft-shelled’ (as opposed to thin-shelled) eggs like these occur when hens are going out of lay (into the moult, for example). Good layers are the most susceptible. The reason that they occur is because the egg descends through the oviduct so quickly that there is insufficient time for the secretion and deposition of shell to take place… although on rare occasions it may be that a particular bird’s shell gland is not functioning normally.
Another possibility could be insufficient shellforming material or calcium absorption problems, or insufficient protein in the food. If your two chickens are fed correctly balanced feed and have calcium in the form of crushed oystershell, there shouldn’t be any deficiency on either of those counts, but they also need vitamin D and a proper balance of other vitamins so they can process the calcium.
As your birds are obviously well, it’s extremely unlikely that infectious bronchitis might be an issue – but it can be a cause of soft-shelled or no-shelled eggs. Stress and/or shock can sometimes cause soft-shelled eggs.