Weird Chicken Eggs - Shell-Less And More Strange Things!
A shell-less egg laid by one of my chickens
Weird eggs abound in the world of chicken raising, although you wouldn’t know it if (like me) you had been raised on a diet of store-bought eggs!
Think of the egg-laying process as taking place on an assembly line. At one end of the conveyor belt, the ovaries drop an ovum onto the conveyor belt. This is the “seed” of the egg, which will become the yolk. As it moves through the assembly line it gets layers of egg white, little bungee cords called chalazae, two membranes (inner and outer), and a shell. In the final step the color is applied to eggs which are not white.
Sometimes, particularly with new chickens, the speed of the conveyor belt is not really up to snuff. An egg may zip past a station, or slow way down. The most frequent complaint with new laying hens (called pullets) is shell-less or “rubber” eggs. I’m getting a lot of these, myself!
A shell-less egg is simply one which has zipped past the station where the eggshell is applied. This is different from a thin-shelled egg. Thin-shelled eggs are usually being laid by hens which are not getting enough calcium. It’s important to feed your hens “layer ration” and to provide supplemental calcium if necessary. Your local feed store will sell ground oyster shell grit for this purpose.
Sometimes an egg may form without a yolk. Maybe the assembly line gets a little over-eager! At any rate, the hen will lay a tiny miniature egg, about the size of a dime. It will not have a yolk inside. These used to be called “rooster eggs,” based on the tongue-in-cheek belief that they had been laid by roosters. Nowadays most chicken owners call them “fart eggs” or (more politely) “wind eggs.”
Other weird things can happen when the conveyor belt goes into reverse. Yes, reverse! The most common “reverse egg” is a regular egg inside a membrane or sack. This is an egg which has gone all the way down the line, then backed up one step (to the membrane department), and then zipped right through at normal speed.
Another egg that results from things being thrown into reverse is the “egg inside an egg.” One of these was recently videotaped by a chicken owner, posted to YouTube, and became internet famous. A lot of people suspect this video is fake, but I can assure you that the phenomenon of egg-inside-an-egg is quite real.
One of the best sites for information on weird eggs is Brown Egg Blue Egg. But be warned, some of the pictures are gross! It’s just eggs, and no chickens were harmed, but MAN a few of those pics will put you off your eggs benedict for a while.
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