Common Abnormalities in Chicken Eggs
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Common Abnormalities in Chicken Eggs

What are some of the reasons why chickens lay strange shaped eggs? What does it mean when there is a spot of blood in an egg? How many eggs can a hen lay? Why do some eggs have two yolks? Why do some eggs have no yolks? Is it okay to eat an egg with a bloodspot in it? Does diet affect laying?

While this article is written in reference to chicken eggs, it would also apply to most other eggs, especially duck eggs, and game bird eggs. Remember you do not need a male bird for a female to lay eggs, but without a male the eggs will be sterile.

Most hens have roughly 4,000 ova in their body, thus they have the potential to lay 4,000 eggs. Hens younger than 1 year of age are called pullets, they usually start laying around five months of age.. Egg color is determined by the breed of the bird, particularly the color of her ears (yes chickens have ears), and can be white, brown, light green, and pale blue. Most hens will be slaughtered after one or two years of laying, having laid fewer than 1,000 eggs.

For more information on how eggs are formed you may want to read How Chicken Eggs are Formed.  Note that most abnormal eggs are not sold in stores as they are screened before hand.

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No Yolk Eggs are common in hens that are laying for the first time, these eggs are often smaller than they will be on subsequent days. These are sometimes called dwarf eggs, or fart eggs.

Eggs with Soft Shells may also be the result of a hen's first lay, or something more serious. If one or more of your hens suddenly start laying eggs with soft shells you may want to consider that they are not getting enough calcium in their diet – you can offer them crushed oyster shell, or even egg shell. The hens might be stressed for some other reason; predators, kids, lack of water, and so forth. Sometimes, if one hen is consistently laying weak shelled eggs, it may be a problem with that hen alone.

Strange Shaped Eggs are sometimes the result of a stressed hen. These eggs could be longer than normal, or flatter on one end. They are fine for eating, but some people prefer not to let them hatch if they are indeed fertile, as the shape might result in growth problems for the chick.

Bumpy Shells are often the result of calcium deposits on the shell (these may be white or the same color as the shell). Again this could be relate to the egg being laid by a young hen, or even an older one. In some cases this is the result of a poorly balanced diet; basically she may need more phosphorus which she could get from eating more insects. If your birds do not free range you can try catching a few grasshoppers (assuming you have not sprayed with insecticide) and toss them into the chicken coop or pen. Bumping shells are actually fairly common and no need to panic; however if this is an ongoing concern in your flock there may be a disease so you should talk to your veterinarian.

Twin Yolks occur when two yolks are trapped within one shell. The egg will often be extra large in this case. Triple yolks have occurred but are extremely rare.

Bloodspots are tiny spots of blood inside the egg, usually on the yolk. These are generally screened and not put in stores, however they are perfectly fine to eat, and are only the result of a bit of blood that happened to be caught when then shell was forming.

You might also enjoy reading:  Why Wont My Chicken Eggs Hatch?

Or:  Trivia and Information on Eggs

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