It is said that backyard flocks will give a large variety of egg abnormalities over the years. My flock is so new, that I'm just learning how true this statement really is! Some are fun, like double or triple yolks but others can be a red flag and another way to monitor the health of your flock.
We recently rescued some older battery production hens from a local 16,000+ laying facility. Because we have such a young flock, we weren't seeing eggs on a consistent basis at all, and even less now that winter has set in - so the addition of 10 ISA Browns and their beautiful large dark brown eggs was so exciting! And while I loved the fact that we got eggs by the next morning, there have been some comical moments when collecting the eggs.
Soon, we realized that the shells were just not as strong as our "home grown" hen eggs. Between my husband and I, I think the number is up to at least 6 eggs (just this week) that either didn't make it out of the coop before busting or (and of course, it had to be me) didn't make it out of the gathering apron ... oh my, what a mess!
We actually noticed that the new girl's eggs were definitely a little "off" right away. Strange pigmentation, thin and cracked shells and then, today, I experienced my first shell less egg. I went to pick it up and was immediately met by a loud cackle and a peck at the egg.... sending it's contents all onto the floor of the coop.
There are SO MANY different types of egg abnormalities that you can and probably will see once you start raising a backyard flock.
A lot of the abnormalities have a couple of things in common... stress and poor nutrition.
Stress can cause:
- Small eggs
- Eggs inside eggs
- Shell less eggs
- Soft shelled eggs
- Misshapen eggs - very large, very small, oblong
- Mottled eggs
While poor nutrition can cause:
- Poop covered eggs - can be too much salt, too much fiber or poor gut health
- Shell less eggs - salt imbalance, moldy feed, lack of calcium, phosphorus or vitamin D
- Soft shelled eggs - moldy feed, excess phosphorus, lack of calcium, or salt and/or mineral imbalance
- Thin shelled eggs - moldy feed, salt and/or mineral imbalances, over consumption of water, lack of calcium, phosphorus or vitamin D
I believe that my older hens have not had a balanced diet and have had an extremely hard and long laying cycle. A little rest, fresh air and good food will hopefully do the trick!
Until Next Time,
Stay Safe and Healthy