Most quail owners will at one point or another find eggs without a shell. This can be a cause for worries about potential health issues within the flock, but what causes this issue and how can it be prevented?
Shell-less eggs are quite common in older quails as their egg-laying years come to an end. However, there might be other reasons why a quail lays eggs without shells. Such as these: The quail is still young, she may be stressed, she lacks calcium, she is getting too much salt, she is experiencing sudden hot weather, or she might be sick.
New quail keepers often worry when they notice that one of their birds has laid soft eggs with missing shells, as it is a relatively uncommon occurrence. This is usually due to less serious causes, which can be resolved with a few steps, without involving complex means and solutions.
In this article, I’ll go into detail with what could be causing shell-less eggs in quails and how you go about treating the issue.
Table of Contents
She is Young
As young quails start laying eggs, you might get one or two eggs without shells. She might also be laying flunked eggs.
The reason for this is that her shell glands are still in development, and could take a couple of days before she adapts to the full processing of the eggs.
This therefore shouldn’t be cause for worry. However, give her a quality diet and enough water for faster development of the gland.
She is Getting Old
When a quail reaches 4 to 5 years, she will most likely start to lay shell-less eggs consistently. This means that she is reaching the end of her egg-laying period.
She also might be having a faulty shell gland (Involved in the shell formation) in which, in most cases, arises from quails getting older. When this happens, there is nothing much that can be done about it.
Your Quail is Stressed Out
When we talk about stress, we mean that the quail is in a state of emotional strain, which can either be sudden or has developed over time because of a recent change in her living arrangement.
She maybe has been spooked by a dog or a playing kid, shaken by an abrupt thunderstorm, or even had a squabble with another quail. These sudden outbursts might make the eggs to come out without a shell.
This problem usually goes away when the stress is removed. Try to give your quail proper housing. This could be a box, a cage, or even keeping her indoor.
If her bickering with other quails gets intense and happens daily, try isolating her once in a while and then getting her back.
She Lacks Sufficient Calcium in Her Diet
An eggshell is mainly made of calcium, some protein, and other components. For an egg to be laid, a lot of calcium is derived from the quail’s body.
Therefore, this will mean that even the slightest reduction of calcium intake in the quail’s system can cause egg deformation, which includes shell-less eggs.
As you may already know, quails mostly feed on grains and seeds. You can offer her pullet-sized oyster shells that have been crushed to smaller pieces. If this is not available, get chicken or quail eggshells, crush it and feed it to the bird.
Alternatively, give her collard greens and kales, as they are calcium-rich vegetables. Make sure you are not overdoing it. She needs a balanced diet to develop other parts of her eggs.
Finally, give her enough free-range time. The sun is a powerful source of vitamin D that helps in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.
She is Consuming Too Much Salt
Quails don’t have a great way to store salt in their body. When a laying quail receives too much salt in her diet, it can cause eggshell defects, the main abnormality being shell-less eggs.
Again, you need to maintain a proper balance diet for your quail. Check the level of salt in the feeds you give to the quail.
Another way that your quail may be getting too much salt is if you are using a water softener in your home. It would be better off if you switch to untreated water.
Laying Eggs Everyday
If your quail is an all-star egg layer, she probably is using more calcium for egg production than she has, or she is laying faster than her body can produce a shell.
A typical quail should lay 300 eggs in a year after maturity, and the number decreases as the years go by. Therefore, having her lay every day will deplete her energy, making her lay lower quality of eggs, including eggs without a shell.
The best solution is to give her a break. Keep her separated for 3 to 7 days and then return her to the flock.
Hot Days and Weather
If there is a sudden change in the weather and it becomes very hot, your quail eggs may become either thinner or shell-less.
High temperatures reduce the calcium content in their blood by about 25 to 30%. Since calcium is the main mineral associated with eggshells formation, this abnormality may occur.
If this happens, you will notice low food intake from her.
You can wait till temperatures turn to normal for the shell thickness to get back to its originality. You can also take alternative measures like icing her water and freezing her feeds, give the quail a shade if she doesn’t have one, and ventilate it. All these measures will eventually cool the quail, getting her temperature back to normal.
She May be Ill
Some respiratory diseases and infections in quails cause slowed egg production and decreased egg quality that can include shell-less eggs.
These respiratory illnesses may be caused by failing to clean their pens regularly.
If a quail is laying eggs without a shell and having other symptoms, such as rattling when breathing, listlessness, and diarrhea. I recommend that you take her to a veterinarian. Remember also to clean her pen regularly to avoid further infections.