One of the qualities of an egg produced by domesticated laying chicken is the condition of the egg shell; other qualities are the egg size, egg weight, egg color, and yolk color. A hard-calciferous egg is more preferred by consumers, either for home consumption or breeding.
The thin-shelled or soft egg has a huge economic impact on poultry production; such eggs are either disposed or sold at ridiculous prices, usually far from the expected return. It is a worrisome situation poultry farmers find difficult to cope with.
This is one of the conditions poultry farmers must proffer solutions to in the strategic plan made prior to the production. However, you need to understand the causes so as to know the best control measure needed to curb this condition.
Causes Of Thin-Shelled Or Soft Eggs In Layers
Let me start by asking; is thin-shelled or soft egg a disease or an infection?
Obviously no! the thin-shelled or soft egg is not a disease or an infection as you may presume. However, it could be a symptom of a disease condition, response to external factors or deficiency of some minerals or vitamins; the latter is usually the closest cause of thin-shelled or soft egg.
The causes of thin-shelled egg or soft egg can be broadly categorized under these three (3) factors namely:
- Health status of the laying birds
- Environmental condition.
Nutrition As A Factor Causing Thin-Shelled Or Soft Egg In Layers
I do make vehement emphasis on the quality and quantity of feed served to laying birds because is a major factor to good and efficient production. Layers are not like the meat type like broilers; they are different in all ramifications, so also their management should be treated as such.
You need to be wary of the layer mash you serve your layers; not only the price as you’ve always done but the quality of the feed. The quality of the feed is marked by the presence of the essential nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals. These two components are usually added in minute quantity but have a powerful and significant role to play in the efficiency of egg production of your birds.
For good and quality eggshell, the following feed components are needed:
- Macro minerals: Calcium and Phosphorus
- Micro minerals: Zinc, Manganese, Copper, and Iron
- Vitamins: Vitamin D, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, Niacin, Vitamin C and others.
The deficiency of any of these minerals or vitamins usually leads to the thin-shelled or soft egg in layers, hence, these feed components must be present in your layer mash in the right quality and quality.
Let me break down the concept of “the right quality and quantity”
It is very possible you have all the aforementioned components in your layer mash, in fact, they are present in the feed because each feed ingredient in the mash has these components but usually in either minute quantity, below the requirement of the layers, or unavailable as a result of the action of antinutritional factors present in the feedstuff.
In the same vein, you can have these components in good quantity but bad quality, why? This is usually caused by processes involved in feed manufacturing or poor handling of the feed and feed ingredients.
To stay safe from these conditions, dietary supplementation, in terms of premix, of these components is usually recommended during layers diet formulation. Premix, available in vitamins and minerals, is a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals added to feeds to eliminate the deficiencies and enhance better performance of the birds.
Health Condition As A Factor Causing Thin-Shelled Or Soft Egg In Layers
When you are confident of the quality of your layer mash but you fervently see soft eggs, it is a sign of compromised health status. The soft egg is one of the signs that your laying chickens need to be dewormed; worms are intestinal parasites that distort the absorption of nutrients in the birds’ gut. When worm infestation is at its peak, a soft egg is usually produced.
Aside from worm infestation, your chickens would lay soft eggs when they are about to go down on Newcastle disease. One of the signs of Newcastle diseases is soft egg aside from the green droppings you observe. When you observe soft eggs, try to vaccinate you bids against Newcastle disease.
Other disease conditions such as coccidiosis and necrotic enteritis can also cause the production of thin-shelled or soft eggs in layers because they affect the absorption of nutrients needed to enhance the performance of the laying birds.
Environmental Conditions As A Factor Causing Thin-Shelled Or Soft Eggs.
The effects of the environment are also prominent on the overall performance of the birds. Heat stress is a very important factor to consider regarding the overall performance of the birds. Heat stress can greatly reduce the feed intake, utilization and absorption of nutrients in laying birds; when your birds are heat stressed, it is very possible they produce thin-shelled or soft eggs.
Read more: How To Manage Heat Stress In Poultry Birds
How To Control Thin-Shelled And Soft Eggs In Layers
The aforementioned causes of thin-shelled and soft eggs in layers have given us the insights of how best to control the incidence across the discussed causes to enhance the performance of the layers and maximize profit. You can control thin-shelled and soft eggs using any of the following measures.
- Diet fortification:
Calcium and phosphorus are key minerals for good egg quality; for firm egg production, calcium and phosphorus are required by layers at a ratio of 12:1. According to the study, 0.40% to 0.45% of phosphorus and 4 to 4.5%of calcium can be given to the layers for maximum egg production and best eggshell quality. Consider the inclusion of premix in your diet during formulation to eliminate deficiencies and achieve nutritive balance.
- Health management and vaccination
Pay adequate attention to the health of your laying birds by adopting a pragmatic health program that allow routine medical care such as deworming and usage antibiotics at an acceptable level for your chickens; you can also use this vaccination schedule for layers for period vaccine administration.
- Modification of the environment during stress
You need to devise an approach that caters for stress conditions, such as heat. Adjust the nutritional requirement of the laying birds by lowering the energy requirement to manage heat stress. You can also serve electrolytes in form of multivitamins during hot weather condition. Adding iced-block in the water to cool the water during hot weather is another effective way of alleviating the effects of heat stress.
- Use these stringent biosecurity measures
- Change the litter material of your laying pen regularly, every two (2) weeks is fine.
Producing eggs of good quality is of high economic importance; only firm eggs control the good market price. You can now manage the occurrence of thin-shelled and soft eggs on your farm with this guide. Other farmers in your timeline need this piece, take it to them by using the share button below.
Read more: How To Know A Good Laying Bird (Layers)
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