Causes of thin-shelled chicken eggs

Thin-shelled chicken eggsAfter splitting
up our duo of two-year old Golden Comets
, it quickly became clear
that our guess was right — one was laying daily and the other was
either not laying at all or was laying shell-less eggs that she crushed
and consumed.  I’m guessing in favor of the thin-shelled eggs
based on having seen one or two eggs with papery shells in that tractor
over the last few months.

Calcium is the obvious
solution to eggshell problems, so we dosed the troubled hen up with
leftover eggshells.  She nibbled on some, ignored a lot, and still
didn’t lay.  With the simple solution out of the way, I started
researching what might cause a hen to lay thin-shelled eggs.  Here
are some possibilities:

  • Defective shell gland. 
    The only option is to cull the bird from the flock.
  • Lack of vitamin D3. 
    This would be the best case scenario, but is by far the least likely
    since chickens become deficient in vitamin D when they are not exposed
    to greenery and sunlight.  Our birds spend their whole lives on
    grass in the sun.
  • Egg drop syndrome. 
    This viral disease is unlikely to have made its way into our flock, but
    there is a very slight possibility that our troubled hen could have
    picked it up by drinking creek water contaminated with duck
    feces.  Birds infected with egg drop syndome don’t appear sick,
    but they will lay fewer eggs, many of which are thin-shelled (and often
    paler in shell color.)  The birds will have to be culled from the

Unfortunately, it looks
like our problem hen is going to have to go.  I’ll give her a week
of R&R just on the off chance she needed a break, then she’ll fill
our bellies.

We like having a spare homemade chicken
on hand so
that we can separate a troubled bird from the flock and still let her
drink clean water.

Latest Comments

  1. Erich August 2, 2010
  2. anna August 2, 2010

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