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Imperfect Eggs

Imperfect Eggs

Imperfect Eggs

It is likely that the vast majority of the eggs you harvest from your hens will be nearly perfect. Some may be oddly shaped, some make be larger than others, and some may be different shades of the same color. But, all in all, most eggs will be “normal”.

In case you find eggs that fall outside the normal range, the following information might help you understand what is causing the problems:

  • Soft or thin egg shells
    • Calcium deficiency is a likely cause indicating they need more soluble grit
    • Common in the first couple of eggs that a pullet lays
    • Common in older hens that have passed their primary laying years
    • May indicate hen has a virus
  • Blood is visible on outside of shell
    • May indicate the hen is suffering from coccidiosis, which causes intestinal bleeding
    • May be a result of an immature pullet that has laid an egg earlier than normal causing a tear
    • May indicate food has more protein than the hen requires
  • Wrinkled shell
    • Happens when an egg is physically disturbed as it is being formed
    • Can be caused by two eggs moving down oviduct back-to-back
    • Can be caused if hen is physically traumatized in some way
  • Chalky or glassy shell
    • Happens when there is a mistake in the shell production process
    • Typically means the egg shell is not as porous as normal making a hatch unlikely
    • Typically does not impact the egg if you plan to eat it

In general, it’s important not to get too bent out of shape if an occasional egg has a soft shell. But, it is important to keep an eye on your flock and discuss any material changes in their egg laying behavior with your local veterinarian.


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