If you are a seasoned chicken owner you may know by now that no two eggs are the same. They range in size, color and shape, and at times you might even encounter what we like to call an ‘egg oddity’, which will often leave you scratching your head.
However, these seemingly strange occurrences can be explained, so continue reading below to solve the puzzle of your extraordinary egg.
Body-checked eggs are those that are wrinkled or assessed in appearance. This is due to them previously being damaged while in the shell gland pouch, often from stress or pressure put on them. They are then repaired before lay, which is what gives them their somewhat rippled appearance.
While this sort of egg may appear alarming, a shell-less egg is a seemingly common occurrence, especially in young layers, because their systems are still warming up to the laying process and their shell gland is still maturing. However, if shell-less eggs are occurring in your older hens, it might be a symptom of calcium deficiency (and overall poor nutrition), stress, infectious bronchitis, or EDS (egg drop syndrome). If it becomes a repeat issue, make sure that your cows are comfortable and eating a well-balanced, calcium rich diet. A quick visit to the vet to test for any further health issues will not hurt either!
Also known as”slab-sided”, these eggs appear to have a somewhat flattened side with wrinkled edging, and are more common in young layers. It gets its misshapen appearance from being kept too long in the shell gland, or in certain cases when a mis-timed egg proceeds down the oviduct and ends up resting alongside it.
Rough Shelled or Pimpled Eggs
Eggs that have differing textures can be due to a range of things. Little bead like growths on an egg (can be in a cluster or larger mole shapes), are known as calcified substance and may be a result of excess calcium intake, disease, or defective shell glands. If these kinds of eggs are only found infrequently, there’s absolutely not any cause for concern, however reducing calcium consumption over winter can help keep pimpled eggs at bay.
Uneven shell colouring are simply the result of uneven pigmentation while at the shell gland pouch-no cause for alarm!
Egg Within an Egg
Theres nothing more alarming than cracking an egg into your frypan and seeing there’s another whole egg inside of it! But consider yourself lucky if this happens to you, as it is a remarkably rare occurrence! Known as counter-peristalsis contraction, this bizarre event results from the early launch of a new yolk while a present egg remains in the formation stage and not yet been laid. This then causes a contraction where two eggs meet up in the reproductive tract and provided a layer of albumin, membranes and a shell surrounding them both prior to being laid! While this might seem disturbing to some, it doesn’t in any way mean your chicken is unhealthy.
Blood spots can appear on the surface of an egg yolk and is the direct result of a blood vessel breaking in the gut as the yolk has been discharged, or in the oviduct as the yolk travels through it. They occur more so in older hens that have a genetic predisposition, are deficient in Vitamin A, or can also be a completely random occurrence!
Also known as”rooster eggs” or”wind eggs”, super small and yolkless eggs are often produced by young layers using an immature or non-synchronized reproductive system. Or in an older hen, as the result of a piece of tissue in the reproductive tract breaking off and being treated as an egg. They have the exact look of an egg, complete with a shell, but without a yolk-what a joke!
Double Yolk Eggs
Our favourite sort of eggs-double yolkers occur when two separate egg yolks are discharged into our hen’s oviduct too close together, and so end up becoming encased in one shell. This can be due to a hormonal change or imbalance which releases the yolk too early. Double-yolked eggs are more commonly produced by new layers, or those nearing the end of their laying life, and is often a hereditary characteristic. These eggs are usually much physically larger than eggs to accommodate two yolks, and doubly yum!
These are simply a few of the well known ‘egg oddities’, if you’ve encountered any extraordinary eggs we’d like to hear from the comments!
If you’re worried about continual or replicate problems with your eggs, it is ideal to go to your local vet to check about your chickens’ health.
Despite the most attentive chicken keeping, one of your birds will get sick sooner or later. It’s essential to have the ability to recognise the signs of illness and act fast — chickens are good at hiding their symptoms, so by the time you notice, they are generally very sick indeed.
If you believe that your chicken is ill…
A veterinarian always gets the best possible way of helping your birds and will have the ability to diagnose any issues with far greater details than any online source.
This article is a useful guide, but merely just guide — your vet is your best solution!
Diagnosing chickens is a huge challenge: they hide their symptoms, and could not let you know what’s wrong even if they wanted to. Furthermore, lots of the external symptoms aren’t specific to any one illness.
–Not drinking or eating
-Weakness or lethargy
-Pale comb or wattles
-Diarrhea or abnormal droppings
-Fluffed up feathers
-Other unnatural behaviour
If any combination of the above describes your chicken, she might be sick, and you need to take her into the vet ASAP to get specific diagnosis and treatment.
Symptoms of respiratory disease
Respiratory illnesses manifest unique symptoms in contrast to most other ailments.
Again, it’s practically impossible to get a backyard keeper to recognize the specific illness in question. You have to take your chicken to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. This will often involve antibiotics that your vet may prescribe.
General treatment choices
If, for some reason, you can’t bring your chicken to the vet immediately, then there are a few simple things which you can do to improve her probability of recovery.
–Isolate her from the rest of the flock to avoid any possible spread of illness and decrease bullying from healthy chickens.
-Keep her in a well ventilated and dry location.
-Provide a lot of water and food. Give treats if she will not eat her normal food-eating anything is better than nothing.
-Give a teaspoon of yoghurt for a few additional probiotics. Do not overdo it as this may lead to diarrhoea.
At times, a little TLC might be a chicken wants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. After you’ve gone to the vet, it could be worth checking your coop setup — windy dust and loopholes are a common cause of illness, and repairing these issues will help keep your flock healthy.
Some disorders have particular symptoms (in addition to those described above) which can help with home identification.
Coryza: [respiratory] Extremely swollen eyes, and a very rancid odour.
Coccidiosis: Occasionally leads to bloody faeces.
Avian flu: [respiratory] Dark, reddish spots on legs and comb, and sudden death. This disease can infect people, so be extremely cautious if you suspect it. Report any cases to the community government immediately.
Impacted harvest: Swollen crop (a pouch in the front of the body), which is very tough to the touch.
Sour harvest: Swollen harvest, which can be mushy to the touch, and a rotten odor from the mouth.
Botulism: Tremors of increasing intensity, end in death.
Bumblefoot: Infected wound .
Egg binding: The bulge of a stuck egg at the exit to the port.
Frostbite: Pale, slightly blue comb or thighs.
Pasty butt/vent gleet: Droppings caked over the buttocks.
Mites or lice: Pale comb (from blood loss), and compact insects among feathers.
Worms: Proof of worms in droppings.
If your chicken is acting strangely, but does not appear to be showing signs of illness, they might just be broody.
While the jury might still be out on this one, what we do know is that eggs would be the cherry on top when it comes to poultry keeping. But how much can you really know about these gems that are wholesome?
We are here to set the facts straight and also inform you exactly what you might ever want or need to learn about eggs!
What is an Egg?
A chicken egg could be either fertilized or unfertilized, and is the perfect little package (an average-sized egg weighs about 50 grams, however this will vary based upon the chicken breed), comprised of seven basic parts; the casing, membranes, the albumen (white), the yolk, the chalazae, the germinal disc and the air sac. Each one of these parts have a specific work to do and serve a particular function.
The eggshell is a really intriguing piece of engineering, housing the entirety of these eggs components inside. It’s composed almost entirely of calcium carbonate, and covered in tiny pores, which give the egg its grainy texture. The casing is a semipermeable membrane, which is just fancy talk for significance that moisture and air can pass through it’s pores. Additionally it is protected by a thin outermost coating called the’bloom’ or’cuticle’, that acts as a natural barrier against external pathogens such as bacteria and dust.
The egg has 2 membranes-outer shell membrane and inner shell membrane, which both sit just inside the shell surrounding the albumen (white). These super strong transparent protein membranes, which can be made partially of keratin, have the function of protecting against bacterial invasion. The outer membrane is secured to the egg shell, whereas the inner membrane sticks into the albumen.
The albumen, more commonly called the’white’, is composed of vitamins, minerals, protein and water and is made up of three primary parts-an inner, middle and outer layer, each of varying depth which surround and protect the yolk. These powerful layers contain plenty of proteins which in a fertile egg can assist with the chicks development, or if sterile, will be passed on to us!
The yolk is the fundamental portion of an egg, and while generally yellowish, its color may change based upon the chicken breed, which range from a light yellow to a deep orange. This tiny powerhouse is where the majority of the proteins, minerals, vitamins and fats of the egg are housed, such as Vitamin A, D, phosphorous, calcium, thiamine and riboflavin.
Chalazae are a part of the egg and are sequences of twisted tissue positioned at opposite ends of the yolk. They play the important role of stabilising the yolk and germinal disk to stop twisting and misalignment from the egg.
Also referred to as the egg cell, or blastodisc, the germinal disc sits on the surface of the cover of the egg yolk and is the ‘powerhouse’ of the egg, as it is where the sperm enters the egg. It is here that the embryo will form by a process of cell division and expansion after fertilisation has occurred.
Sometimes called the ‘air space’ or ‘air mobile’, the air sac forms once the contents of a newly laid egg cools, causing them to contract. This air sac rests between the inner and outer membranes in the eggs bigger end. As the egg matures and not get fertile, the air sac will expand because of moisture and carbon dioxide leaving the egg, and air going into the egg to replace them.
So now you understand just what constitutes these all natural wonders, you are likely asking just how a hen can make this kind of protein packaged product?! Keep reading to find out…
A productive egg layer does first and foremost be based on the chicken strain, so ample research ought to be undertaken in this respect if you are wanting chickens for the sole purpose of the egg producing capabilities. In addition to this they have to be given a balanced and nutritious diet (high in calcium and protein ), fresh water, lots of sunlight, in addition to nesting boxes which are conducive to egg laying (fresh straw, broad, and from the way of direct sunlight or drafts).
A female chicken is born with a complete complement of eggs inside her body, and depending on the strain, will create many or hardly any eggs through the years. Chickens have thousands of miniature ova, which are undeveloped yolks in their gut, and if they’ve matured, an ovum is going to be released into the oviduct where it begins it’s great journey of growth. A hen can have many eggs at various stages of development inside her reproductive system at the same time. Those at the start of their journey are only small yolks, whereas the eggs which are farther down the oviduct are markedly larger and more developed. It takes about 25 hours for an egg to reach the vent prepared for planting in the time it leaves the ovary. Within this period the yolk will expand and become encased from the albumen, wrapped in a membrane and then enclosed in a pigmented shell-voila! Fresh eggs for everybody!
The first stage of embryo growth happens in the blastodisc (germinal disk ), which will become known as the blastoderm once fertilised, and it includes genetic material from both the chicken and the rooster. If housed in the perfect states, either via incubation or by a hen, these cells will then develop into a chick embryo, where it will grow and further develop, getting nourishment from the yolk and albumen.
We think it’s safe to say that there’s definitely far more than meets the eye when it comes to the humble egg. Next time your hen lays one of these beauties take some time to applaud and appreciate these natural wonders!
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