Thin shells

Welsh Nomad

New member
one of our birds is laying big eggs but the shells are very thin (crush when you try and pick them up), partially shelled or non existant shelled (like turtle eggs). Often the eggs are broken. All the birds are on the same diet of layers pellets and we don't know which bird has the problem. They quite often get green stuff to peck at as well.
Any suggestions how to fix the issue?


PKF Sponsor
Hampshire, U.K.
Hi Welsh Nomad.
How old are your birds, and are they hybrid layers?
Hybrids are bred to lay more or less continuously for the first two years, but after that they usually come to show signs of age such as you describe in the next year or so, however good their diets. They also become more inclined to egg laying problems such as prolapse or peritonitis. By the time they get to this stage, commercial birds will have been culled and replaced with younger ones, but of course people like us who often keep them partly as pets but also want eggs are then faced with a hard choice about what to do about it.
Greenstuff is good, in fact if kept penned they need it every day really. You can also try adding a calcium and vitamin supplement - Nettex Mineral Powder added to their feed is a good one - but if only one of your girls is affected, and they are all more or less the same age and less than two years old, it’s likely that this particular bird has some disorder which is causing the problem. In which case, I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do about it, really, except to keep watch and find out who is the culprit, and then decide if you’re going to keep her. She may go on to have worse problems, eg become egg bound because a soft egg is difficult for her to push out, which is painful, and fatal if it breaks inside her and infection sets in.


Active member
Gascony, France
We've recently had a hybrid die whilst trying to lay a soft shelled egg- problem is there isn't anything to push against and all the effort leads to a heart attack. Chickens only have so much Calcium they can release to shell an egg, so big eggs are a problem. As Marigold says, just one with a problem indicates the diet is OK, but one chicken isn't. Worth checking that the feed had the correct Calcium/ Phosphorous ratio as that is very important to the shelling mechanism- 8:1.

So you can't simply fix the issue unfortunately. Just good feed, greens, a nice dry wind free environment, soil bath and sunlight is all you can offer. We have one now heading the same way and we know there is absolutely nothing we can do apart from make sure she doesn't suffer if it leads to complications.


Well-known member
I agree with the other posts, we only tend to see it in older hens that are coming naturally to the end of their laying life.
All you can do is make sure that none are suffering