Sunday, 18 May 2014


We had already had a couple of eggs from the girls this morning so I wasn't expecting anything when I went to put them to bed tonight.  Spying a tan coloured blob in the half dark I put my hand in to retrieve it.  I quickly retracted it when what I touched felt more like a fruit jube lolly than an egg.  Taking a closer inspection to confirm that the cold slightly moist and squishy feeling thing wasn't a different sort of product from the chicken vent, I saw that it was a soft shelled egg.

The yolk in the centre can just be made out with transillumination
If you haven't come across one before there are several reasons chickens can throw a soft shelled egg:
  • Lack of calcium or another dietary deficiency
  • Advancing age of the chicken (particularly as mine are ex-battery hens bred for a short period of high production)
  • Heading towards off-season or moult
  • Fast transit through the oviduct (can occur if the first egg was overcooked, then the next egg was laid the same day)
  • Unseasonal hot temperatures
Having said all that a one off isn't necessarily such a bad thing.  Besides, they look pretty all lit up.


  1. We have had brown shaver chickens before, and I think the two commonest causes are the age and grit. After 5 years most chickens will go off the lay, and when they do sometimes their eggs start to have shell deficiencies. If the chickens are young the most common problem is lack of mineral in the grit. You can actually recycle egg shells into their food as a source of the minerals. They need to be ground up fairly finely and added into their meal. It is a cost effective and green way to increase their mineral intake, but ensure you grind then up finely. If the shell is too bitsy some chickens will then start to peck at their own eggs after a while!


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