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Ameraucana (Easter Egger) Laying Shell-less Eggs

29 February 2012

Have you noticed that Tulip, the Ameraucana (Easter Egger), has not been laying? We tally the number of eggs laid on the white board inside the coop at the end of each day. Tulip molted in October and never “started up” her laying routine again.

Tulip's shell-less (or "rubber") egg

Now she’s begun laying soft-shelled eggs commonly called “rubber eggs”. Not a good sign. A hen will often lay a few shell-less egg over the period of her lifetime, but it usually not a constant thing unless there is something wrong inside her. The hens body does not go through the last step of egg production where the shell covers the membrane with another layer that hardens into the outer shell. This used to happen to Petunia (our little Golden Laced Wyandotte). It would take her by surprise and she would squat and out would come a soft-shelled egg bouncing on the dirt. Rosie, our little glutton, would run over and peck at it and the other hens would gather around and eat the egg’s contents as it spilled out.

Big, beautiful, Tulip has had problems with laying on occasion so this is not a surprise. Last June she was so sick, I had to remove her from the flock for two weeks, keeping her in a cage in the garden shed. See “Tulip is Ill”. Now she again has a problem in her “egg maker”. Her eggs not only have a soft shell, they are not being expelled, and are “stacking up” inside her.

I went to the run the other morning and Tulip was in the corner, head down. Not a good sign for a hen. There, beside her was the most disgusting blob I’d ever seen. Well, almost the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen, after all, I raised boys. Kind of a greenish mass. I was tempted to run but I am a responsible poultry owner and am level-headed and quite mature (at least I’d like to think so). I picked the “thing” up. Yes, in my bare hands. I didn’t want to leave the hens alone with it because they have the philosophy, “If you don’t know what it is, eat it!”

 

Shell-less egg within and egg, etc. next to a normal egg

Don helped me dissect “the thing”. It was a shell-less egg, within an egg, within an egg, within an egg, within an egg. Five eggs, one inside another. It weighed 8 ounces. Oh, that poor girl. She must have been forming it and carried it around for a month. Within a few hours, she was running around with the other hens, scratching and dust bathing. What a relief she must have felt!.

But I feel no such relief. I know that when things go wrong with the “egg maker” inside a hen, it usually does not correct itself. But there’s always hope. Look at Daisy. She’s had lots of problems over time and is laying lovely eggs now, nearly every day of the week. So, I’m keeping an eye on Tulip. I’ve reduced their “treats” and provided lots of calcium in their diet. Hopefully, she’ll get back to her old self again and give us those big, beautiful, green eggs to enjoy.

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10 Comments to “Ameraucana (Easter Egger) Laying Shell-less Eggs”

  1. I hope that Tulip is ok. She is very pretty! Could it be a one time thing or is this something that happens? Just wondering.

  2. I don’t know what this costs. But I know a few people who have hens for pets who’s egg maker has gone awry and they take them to the vet twice a year for injections that stop their egg production. It let the hens live out their natural lives w/ out having eggs back up in side of them.

  3. OMGosh, as a fairly new chicken keeper (well, almost three years), I have never heard of such a thing. Thanks for posting about it.
    I’m hoping the release of the eggs has resolved the problem for lovely Tulip. She is a beauty!

  4. I hope Tulip is on the mend. She’s been through a lot, it sounds like she is a strong hen!

    We lost our Buff Orp, Daisy, to egg yolk peritonitis last year. Do you know if this is related to the soft eggs? I ask because I suspect it was Daisy who was laying the soft eggs before she became ill.

    My vet said reproductive problems are common in hens because they were selectively bred to produce eggs — not to be pets — and all the egg laying takes a toll on them. It’s hard though because I think of our girls as pets.

  5. Oh, sorry about your Daisy. It may be peritonitis that our Buff Orpington had when an egg broke inside her. She survived. Perhaps I could treat Tulip with antibiotics but that means they all have to get it unless I isolate her. Her attitude is great. Happily accompanies the rest as they forage in the garden. Still no hard egg, though. We have to accept that these hens are bred for high egg production which means problems. Good to hear from you!

  6. I’m am interested in this. I promised the husband there would be no vet bills for the hens but…………you know how that goes! Thanks for the tip.

  7. My vet put my hen Betty on a liquid calcium supplement that’s given to lactating women and young boys who are growing too fast, as well as 2 doses of 2500 IU vitamin D3 (squeezed out of the gelcap).

    Betty is healing from an injury to her vent (dog mouth meets chicken butt)and was struggling to lay for a couple days. After a long belly rub and some metacam, she laid two eggs overnight in the coop – one rubber egg followed by an egg with an extra thick shell. After that, my vet put her on the calcium and vitamin D (it is very grey and dreary here and chickens need vitamin D too – who knew?).

    I don’t know if something like that would help Tulip, and I’m not advocating you try it without at least talking to a veterinarian first, but I thought I’d share my experience. Betty laid her first egg yesterday since she’s been on the calcium and her egg was normal so I think it helped.

    (the calcium supplement is a sweet liquid – I just squirt it on about a tablespoon of rolled oats and she loves it!)

  8. Looks like a potato! Ouch. Poor Tulip. I hope to hear all is well. I was wondering what happens to the eggs if a chicken doesn’t lay one every day, guess they could build up one like that mega-egg. I have 2 hens (just got them 6 months ago) and am trying to learn more…hoping to get 2 more hens soon! ♥

  9. My 6 hens that were hatched just this year have been laying eggs every day nice dark brown eggs but when I crack them (or try to) open to make scrabbled the hard shell cracks but the inner soft shell does not. I think for some reason its tougher then it should be, I was wondering if you had any idea what could cause that(lack of vitamins? or somthing else)

  10. I’ve not had this problem. I know that eggs that get old in the refrigerator have a tougher membranes because the shell has let air get to it and it has dried out a little. Don’t think it is a nutrient problem. My suggestion is go to Backyard Chickens and do a search there. If you have the problem, thousands of others have it too. Good luck!

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