What causes egg oddities?

What causes egg oddities? - Credit: Archant

I have had two chickens now for nearly two years, one Lowman Brown (Rosie) and the other a Silver Lynx (Snowy). Over the past couple of weeks I have had soft shelled eggs, very crinkly eggs and eggs that have broken in the nest box. They are fed layers mash and extra grit, and I have also started feeding them crushed-up eggshell to try and remedy the problem. They are free range and have the run of the garden. Could you please advise me what I can do, and what the problem may be.

Anne Perdeaux says:

It’s possible that your hens are coming into moult, which can result in a decline in shell quality. Egg-laying will also tail off, eventually stopping completely, as the hens need all their resources to grow new feathers. Moulting can be stressful for chickens, and some owners like to give a tonic or poultry spice to help them at this time. Once they have re-feathered they should start laying again.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that hybrids may well slow down or stop laying after a couple of years, and hens coming to the end of their laying life tend to produce low-grade shells.

Another cause of soft-shelled or mis-shapen eggs is a sudden shock or fright – a low-flying aeroplane, for example, or a nearby predator. Even getting soaked in a downpour can cause shell deformities, but in these cases the problem would be unlikely to persist for two weeks. However, it would be worth checking your hens and their coop for parasites.