Why Are My Chickens' Egg Shells Soft?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 21 July 2020

Have you gone to collect your flock’s fresh eggs, only to find that - instead of a firm shell, there’s a thin, flimsy film coating your eggs? Or worse still- no shell at all? Doesn’t make your daily collection quite so easy!

What’s causing this strange business with my eggs?

If your eggs are a little soft served for your liking, it’s an indication that your chickens probably need some more calcium in their diet. Normal layer feed that you’re  giving your hens does have more calcium in it than other types of feed, as laying hens do need more than other types of chicken. However, if you’re giving your laying hens layer feed and the eggshells are still coming out thin, then this is an indication that you’ll need to supply some other sources of calcium.


Why do hens need such a high amount of calcium in their diet?

Egg shells are made from calcium, and egg-laying hens need quite a bit of this valuable nutrient in their diet to keep their eggs strong. This is because when the egg is being formed, the calcium for the shells is drawn from the hen’s bones. So, if your girls are calcium deficient,  there won’t be enough calcium to form the strong egg shells - hence why they come out flimsy and floppy!

How can I give my chickens egg-stra calcium?

The best way to give your chickens a calcium boost is to introduce shell-grit into their diet. Shell grit is made up of calcium rich oyster shells/cockle shells and/or limestone, and should be put in a separate feeder to the normal layer feed for your chooks to peck at.

You can also crush up some egg shells and leave them for your chicken’s to peck at, which will help boost their calcium levels.  Check out some more information on grit in our What Is Grit And Why Is It Important? article.

Once you’ve got your hens calcium levels where they should be, the eggshells should be nice and strong once more. So you can enjoy all the goodness of your fresh backyard eggs without worrying about them falling to pieces! If you've noticed some other strange goings-on with your fresh backyard eggs, why not check out our Egg Oddities article to see what the problem might be, and how to fix it.

From soft egg shells to Coryza, a big part of being a chicken parent is noticing signs to prevent, identify and resolve health issues in your flock. It can be stressful and worrying when things aren't going well with your chooks and you must make sure that you've got the knowledge you need to raise happy healthy chooks. Did you know 67% of chicken keepers surveyed experienced a chicken health or behaviour issue in the first 12 months that they didn’t know how to handle?

But don’t worry! Our feathered friends over at Chickenpedia have created a Chicken Healthcare Course. It is a comprehensive online course that covers everything you need, including what to look for in an unhealthy chicken and how to support your egg-laying hens to optimal health. All of their courses are really well structured and filled with vital information, which is why I highly recommend them to all of my readers! From raising baby chicks to feeding to behavior, you’ll find valuable information that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

Check out Chickenpedia today. As a member, you will also get access to the ALL of their chicken courses!

Sources and further reading