Something I often get asked about is egg-shells. Why are the shells soft? Why are they lumpy? There can be many variations of a chicken egg! Here are some of the more common egg shell variants and their meanings.
1. Bloody Eggs
More often than not, bloody eggs arise from pullets in early lay, or a hen coming back on the lay after winter. They can be more prominent in overweight hens, or from poor coop hygiene. Bloody eggs are generally not something to worry about, but you can double check their vent to make sure there is no prolapse if concerned.
2. Shell-less Eggs
Sometimes, you may find an egg with no shell whatsoever. They are protected only by a squishy membrane. Almost like a stress ball! Again, this may just be from a young pullet, or hen coming back on the lay. But, if you are finding this happens more often, you may have a nutritional deficiency on your hands. I would recommend a broad nutritional supplement such as one (or more) or our products in the Natural Blend Range , Anitone Supplement, or Livamol. Please also make sure you have calcium either in the form of crushed egg shells(see our previous blog post on how to do this!), or shell grit available at all times. We also have our calci-pack available to make this easy.
3. Wrinkled Eggs
These look like older skin. The have thinly creased and wrinkled surfaces. This can be due to stress or overcrowding. Check there is no reason for you chooks to be stressed and make sure you have adequate space for the number of chickens you own. Each chook needs 1m2 at a bare minimum.
Otherwise you could have an older hen with a defective shell gland, or a bronchial disease. Infectious bronchitis would show itself in other ways also, such as coughing, sneezing and low appetite.
4. Lumpy Eggs
This presents as small lumpy, pimply type calcifications on the eggs. Generally due to bird age, or inadequate nutrition. Try one of the supplements above, and check your feed regime.
5. Oddly Shaped Eggs
Sometimes an egg is cracked in the shell gland pouch and then repaired before lay. Aren’t our chooks clever? This can be due to stress, overcrowding, or bird age.
6. White Calcium Deposits
These eggs have white, irregularly shaped spots deposited on the shell. This could be due to disturbances during calcification, a defective shell gland, or excess calcium in the diet. I recommend giving the chooks calcium in a separate dish – with a calci-pack which is available from us online. Chickens are actually very clever; they know just how much calcium they need and will eat it, when they need it. However if you don’t separate it, and instead add calcium to their feed then they could end up eating too much of it.
7. Thinly Shelled Eggs
Thinly shelled eggs are usually a sign of calcium deficiency. If you already have a calcium products available for your chooks, you may need to look at a full nutritional supplement as above in the ‘shell-less egg’ section. I would also look at reasons for stress, such as heat, cold or recent additions to your flock.
Sometimes, if you have exhausted all these options, you find you just have a slight genetic anomaly in the chicken. Everyones different!
Here are the links to the products mentioned above if you need.