Why Chickens Sometimes Lay Eggs Without Shells

If you’re a chicken owner, you’re probably accustomed to collecting eggs from your coop. But what do you do when you find an egg without a shell? Don’t worry, it’s not as alarming as it may seem. Let’s explore why chickens sometimes lay eggs without shells and what you can do about it.

What is an Egg Without a Shell?

A shell-less egg may appear normal in shape, but what holds it together? The answer lies in the pair of membranes that typically reside beneath the shell. These membranes are responsible for keeping the egg intact and are often peeled away when cooking hard-boiled eggs. With shell-less eggs, the rest of the egg’s components remain, with the membrane serving as its protective layer. It’s also worth noting that eggs with very thin or incomplete shells can also occur.

Shell-less Egg

Possible Causes

There are several reasons why a chicken might lay an egg without a shell:

  • It just happens sometimes: Occasionally, a shell-less egg may occur without a clear explanation. If it’s a rare occurrence, it’s challenging to pinpoint the cause.
  • Low calcium: Eggshells are primarily made of calcium carbonate, and for a hen to produce proper shells, she needs an adequate amount of calcium in her body. Insufficient calcium can lead to difficulties in forming eggshells.
  • Age: Both young and old hens may produce shell-less eggs. Young pullets who are just starting to lay eggs may experience this as they establish their laying routine. Older hens, as part of the natural aging process, may also produce these types of eggs.
  • Stress: If a hen experiences a frightening event while in the process of producing an egg, it can temporarily disrupt the final product.
  • Physical ailment: Shell-less eggs may be an indication of an underlying health issue in your hen.
Further reading:  Air Fryer Shredded Chicken: A Healthy and Flavorful Recipe

Solutions to Encourage Shell Production

If you’re concerned about shell-less eggs, there are several things you can try to help your chickens produce eggs with shells:

  • Monitor your hen: If the issue is isolated and your hen is otherwise healthy, there may not be any immediate cause for concern.
  • Switch chicken feed: Ensure that your young hens receive a “layer” feed with sufficient calcium content as they mature and begin producing eggs. This feed type is specially formulated for hens in the egg-laying stage.
  • Provide oyster shell supplements: Consider adding a free-choice oyster shell supplement to your hens’ diet. This will provide additional calcium and can contribute to stronger eggshells overall.
  • Ensure sufficient vitamin D: Vitamin D is essential for hens to absorb and utilize calcium effectively. Make sure they are receiving enough of this vital nutrient.
  • Reduce stress: Keep your hens as stress-free as possible by protecting them from excessive heat, predators, and loud noises, among other stressors.
  • Maintain overall health: Regular veterinary care, access to fresh water, and protection from extreme temperatures are vital for your hens’ well-being.


A chicken laying an egg without a shell may initially be surprising, but it often indicates a larger underlying issue. By implementing these strategies, you can help your hens stay healthy, happy, and produce eggs with the all-important shell.


Q: How common is it for chickens to lay eggs without shells?
A: It’s not uncommon for chickens to occasionally lay eggs without shells, but it should not be a frequent occurrence. If it happens regularly, you may need to investigate further.

Further reading:  Quick and Flavorful Sheet Pan Ranch Chicken Dinner

Q: Can a lack of calcium affect the overall health of my hens?
A: Yes, calcium is essential for various bodily functions in hens, including bone health and muscle contractions. It’s crucial to ensure they receive an adequate amount of calcium in their diet.

Q: How long does it take for pullets to start laying eggs with shells?
A: Pullets typically start laying eggs with shells around 18 weeks of age. However, they may not reach their full laying potential until approximately 25 weeks old.


Discovering a shell-less egg in your chicken coop might raise concerns, but it’s usually a manageable issue. By understanding the possible causes and taking proactive measures, such as providing proper nutrition and reducing stress, you can help your chickens maintain optimal egg production. Remember, a healthy and happy hen will lay eggs with robust and intact shells. To learn more about chicken care and barbecue tips, visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ.