It is important to remember that whatever the shape, colour or texture of the eggs your hens lay, the quality and taste of the egg are not affected. However how do we optimise the quality of our chickens eggshells?

The laying of soft shelled eggs can happen to both young hens, as their bodies change to get ready for egg production, and older hens as they reach the natural conclusion of their egg laying period, the egg shells can become thinner and weaker and therefore deformed. In both these instances, the laying of soft shell eggs is fairly common, but in a middle aged chicken it can sometimes be a sign of a calcium deficiency.

Strong eggshells are an important part of egg safety, they help to keep out harmful bacteria and keep eggs protected. Shell strength is determined by both thickness and pore size. The pores allow oxygen, carbon dioxide and moisture to pass through but keep bacteria out. Eggshells with larger pores or thinner shells have less protective power. A strong shell deflects the bad bacteria but they can fit through the the larger pores of a weak shell.

Calcium plays a very important part in shell quality. An eggshell contains 2 grams of calcium, however to get to this level and also remain healthy a hen requires 4 grams of calcium per day. When a hen consumes calcium the nutrient begins its journey to eggshell production. A chicken is in full lay after about 20 weeks of age and will require this amount of calcium for bone growth for the rest if its life.

Research has shown that in the 24 hour egg production cycle there is a need for not only slow release calcium but also readily available calcium too, readily available calcium for the first 6 to 8 hours, followed by the slow release. We can increase calcium in our chickens diet using supplements such as oyster grit, however virtually all calcium in oyster grit, layers and mash feeds are slow release by nature, due to particle size. In times of stress and adverse weather conditions where intake is affected this may cause egg shell quality issues.

When formulating the Feldy Pecker Block a refined calcium of human food grade is included to aid in the rapid release of calcium very early on in the egg formation process. This is achieved by careful selection of the calcium source and its extremely fine particle format. Feeding a good quality Layers Food with the Feldy Pecker Block is a extremely good way of achieving high egg shell quality and has the additional benefit of occupational therapy for the birds and a very high energy boost especially in Winter conditions.