CHARLOTTE SHARES A TIP
HYBRIDS LAYING SOFT-SHELLED EGGS
I find I sometimes get a persistent soft-shelled egg layer among my hybrids and no amount of oystershell consumed makes the slightest difference. Shell-less or soft-shelled eggs with just the membrane around the egg can be quite a common problem. This may happen in young pullets – the egg goes down through the oviduct so quickly that there is no time for the shell to be made. Sometimes pullets are adjusting to their new egg-laying functions with just the first few eggs being shell-less. If the egg has a very thin shell, there may not be enough calcium or vitamin D in the diet so extra oystershell should be given. If a hen is still laying soft-shelled eggs after two or three weeks, it may be due to some inherent weakness in the strain which does not allow proper assimilation of calcium or an inherent malfunctioning of the reproductive tract – this could have been caused by infectious bronchitis or another disease when the hen was younger or intensive breeding may have led to malformed ovaries. With my problem layers I think the latter is the case and there is nothing that I can do about it. Often I am able to rescue the egg before other hens get in the nest box and eat it. If the hens get to it first the nest box bedding gets wet and egg yolk dribbles over the other eggs which is always a nightmare!