10 things you wanted to know about chickens but were afraid to ask – 3#

SOFT SHELLED EGGS.

As your chickens come back into lay then there is always a chance you might stumble across a soft shelled egg but what precisely are these, why do they occur and how can you prevent them?

Soft shell eggs are those which are laid with only the inner and outer membrane in place. In fact the term ‘soft shell’ is actually incorrect as the egg is laid with no shell at all. They can occur in two circumstances, firstly when the hen is rushed into laying her egg meaning it is laid before the shell is formed. This can occur due to a sudden stress or shock but also in a period of excitement. Secondly these sorts of eggs can be laid as a result of a deficiency in calcium or vitamin D within the diet. This can occur during warm weather when the hen is eating less and isn’t getting sufficient calcium in her diet to produce the egg shell so supplements of liquid calcium can help. It’s not unusual for a hen to lay one or two ‘softees’ in a season however if a hen consistently lays eggs like this there could be an underlying viral condition that will need checking.

One important thing to do if you have a ‘softee’ layer is to ensure you remove the ‘egg’ as soon as possible after laying as it may get broken under the feet of the other hens or possibly eaten. If the latter occurs then it could result in further ‘egg eating’ but that’s an issue for another post.

Are they safe to eat… well yes, just not all that appetising to look at or very easy to crack open on the edge of a pan.

A soft shelled egg, or more accurately, an egg without a shell!

A soft shelled egg, or more accurately, an egg without a shell!

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