For those of us who grew up with grocery store eggs, weâ€™re used to a highly curated and edited egg carton. Only the biggest and most perfect eggs ever made it from the farm to the supermarket (and still do).
But I say that nothing is perfect, and odd eggs are fun! Here are a few of the most common egg oddities.
Soft-Shell or No-Shell Eggs
You see treasure in the nest box, and you reach for it. And thenâ€”squish! The egg in your hand bursts open like a water balloon!
When hens are depleted of calcium, their shells will start to show it. Some of these odd eggs are laid without shells completely so that only the inner membrane is holding the eggâ€™s liquids together. Other times, eggs have soft spots or weak points but an otherwise hard shell.
If you see any variation on these eggs, itâ€™s a good reminder to refill the oyster shell container and keep it full and available at all times.
As the name would suggest, a multiyolker egg may house two (or more!) yolks within the same shell, and you can imagine that these eggs have to be pretty large to hold so much volume! Double-yolked eggs are the most common and occur when ovulation moves faster than normal, sending two yolks out at the same time.
They become encased in the same shell before the hen can produce a new one.
Certain hens have proclivities to laying double-yolkers. Youâ€™ll soon learn that hens that lay multiyolked eggs will do so more frequently than other hens. This is normal, but it can be cause for concern. Watch these birds closely as theyâ€™re more likely to have future reproductive issues.
Tip: Skip the double-yolk eggs for any hatching goals, if you can (development wonâ€™t go well in the incubator), but do enjoy the extra omega-3s and vitamin D from the extra yolks!
Rough spots, bumps and blemishes are completely normal for chicken eggs. Not all eggs will be perfect.
Hens that lay these eggs may just need a little boost in calcium. Oyster shells offered free-choice every day, all day, will help remedy this ailment.
This oddball also goes by the name â€śfairy egg,â€ť â€śfart eggâ€ť or â€śrooster egg.â€ť These unusual orbs are incredibly tiny and almost always yolkless. Theyâ€™re laid by young pullets that are just getting their egg-laying machinery up and running.
There wonâ€™t be many more of these once your hens mature a bit, so enjoy while you can!
Occasionally, youâ€™ll notice an egg that has a smooth, hard shell, no discoloration or blemishes, but itâ€™s a really strange shape.
Maybe itâ€™s very long and slender. Maybe itâ€™s squat and round.
Donâ€™t worry about these funny-looking eggs for eating, but do avoid hatching them. These eggs arenâ€™t prime real estate for a developing chick embryo.
One joy to take from eating farm-fresh eggs from your own flock of hens is that nothing will go to wasteâ€”not even those funky, weird eggs!
This article originally appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of Chickens magazine.