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Weird Eggs Explained

Weird Eggs Explained

Chicken Egg Problems - What's Gone Wrong?

When you go out to collect the eggs and find something odd, it's no reason to worry. Although sometimes weird eggs indicate health problems, often a strange chicken egg is just a reproductive glitch. It is completely normal to get strange eggs every now and then – chickens lay tiny eggs, misshapen ones, even shell-less eggs!

But what causes weird eggs? And when should you be worried?

Common Causes of Weird Eggs in Chickens

Think about it: a productive hen is likely to lay 300 eggs per year. So it's no surprise that hens lay funny eggs sometimes. 3 weird eggs a year is a 99% success rate!

Most weird eggs are just glitches, the result of a “mistake” in the hen’s reproductive system. Weird eggs occur most often when chickens are just beginning to lay or when they are finishing their reproductive life. This is because the hormones that regulate egg production are changing.

Weird chicken eggs aren’t something to worry about unless they happen a lot. Or, if your whole flock is laying weird eggs. Or if there is a sudden change to egg production.

Some causes of chickens laying weird eggs include:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Reproductive “glitches” in the oviduct
  • A disruption to the egg-laying cycle – stress, fright, or even another chicken using the nesting box at the same time can disrupt the laying cycle
  • Vitamin or mineral deficiency
  • Disease
  • Genetics

Most strange chicken eggs are fine to eat. But don't eat eggs that are cracked, exposed to the air, or contaminated with foreign matter.

Types of Weird Eggs

So what are weird eggs and when should you be worried? This article goes through a range of weird eggs. Click the list below to jump to the problem eggs you are looking for.

Common egg problems in chickens and their causes:

1. Shell problems
2. Yolk problems
3. White problems, including foreign objects
4. Other problems

Egg Shell Problems

Thin-shelled Eggs

Thin-shelled chicken eggs have thin, brittle shells. They may easily break or crack in the nesting box.

Thin-shelled eggs that occur regularly are usually caused by a calcium deficiency. However, they can also be related to a magnesium or vitamin D deficiency (important for calcium absorption). Providing a supplement like D3 Calcium and free-access to shell grit is recommended.

If the thin-shelled eggs are rare, they may be due to a disruption to the laying cycle or heat stress.

Thin-shelled eggs are safe to eat as long as they aren't broken or cracked.

Other Weird Chicken Eggs

Tiny Eggs (Fart Eggs)

Tiny chicken eggs, also called fart eggs or fairy eggs, are small eggs. Sometimes they are perfectly formed, but small, but most tiny eggs contain just white or white with some wisps of yolk.

Egg size is largely determined by the yolk, so a small egg is normal when there is no (or little) egg yolk. A tiny egg is usually caused by a tiny yolk, or tissue, stimulating egg production. Tiny eggs with wisps of yolk are normally caused by the yolk breaking before the egg is fully formed.

Tiny eggs are most common in young chickens just beginning to lay, or in hens that are finishing up laying. They aren't normally indicative of problems. You can read more about tiny eggs here.

Tiny eggs are safe to eat.

Eggs Inside Eggs

Eggs inside eggs are very uncommon. There is a less than 1 in a million chance of one occurring!

Usually, an egg within an egg is caused by an upset in the reproductive cycle, usually related to environmental stress. A fully-formed egg is accidentally kept in the oviduct too long, and sucked back up to be included in a newly forming egg.

Keep your chickens healthy and laying well with our handy articles:

Happy chicken keeping!

Rachael at Dine a Chook Australia