Calcium is the primary mineral that makes up eggshells and when not supplied in the diet, the hen does not have the basic materials needed to make the shell. The egg shell thins when calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3 are not provided in diets at adequate levels. It is seen more often during periods of hot weather because calcium is conserved and retained within the hen's body less efficiently. We mix about 2 pounds of oyster shells to every 50 pounds of 16% layer ration and our egg shells are perfect!
Now getting back to the cracked egg, I have to tell you. . . . .cracked eggs and chickens just don't mix. Once they get into a habit of eating them, it can be very hard to break them of it. Chickens do not naturally eat eggs, but there are certain causes that can incite them to do so. Here is a list of some major causes and some suggestions provided by MSUCares.com
- If shells of the eggs are thin and weak, provide proper diets to correct the problem.
- Not enough nest space is provided. Provide at least one standard nest for each four hens.
- Keep plenty of soft nesting material in the nest so eggs will have a cushion on which to lay.
- Collect the eggs more regularly, at least 2 or 3 times daily. The longer the eggs remain in the nest, the greater chance of breakage and consumption.
- Provide plenty of clean, fresh drinking water. Hens need greater amounts of water than other birds and may consume their eggs for the liquid content.