What Do Different Egg Shapes Mean?

egg shapesAll chicken keepers find egg shapes that appear funny. Maybe a better term would be odd. Egg shapes can be clues to something deeper going on in the hen’s body. These deeper issues can be passing, and not really a problem. Or, in some cases, the odd egg shapes can be warning signs that we should examine. 

What should you do when you find Odd Egg Shapes in the nest box?

In almost every case of funny egg shapes age, illness, stress, and diet can be the culprit. Managing the hen’s health after you find any odd egg shapes may restore her health.

Young laying hens often will lay an oddly shaped egg. The problem is usually short lived. The causes could also be a defective shell gland, stress. or crowded living conditions.

Wrinkled eggs can almost look like corrugated. One possibility for this could be copper deficiency. The other reasons could be excess calcium,  Sometimes heredity can be the problem, along with recent illness, or the presence of a double yolk! In any event when we see these bumpy  abnormalities.

What if there is a very soft shell or …….no shell at all? Have you ever reached into the nest and been surprised to find  squishy, rubbery egg shapes. This surprise can be the result of an immature shell gland in the hen. Also, lacking enough calcium, and vitamin D, can cause the egg to lay prematurely, with out a shell.

(Continue reading below the graphic…)

egg shapes

Similar to eggs without shells are those that are called rubber eggs. This can also be caused by lack of calcium, a problem in the shell gland. And the usual suspected reasons illnesses, high temperatures, mites,worms, lice and even natural molting can be the reason for a rubber egg. 

egg shapes

This egg had a very thin, weak shell. It was broken by another hen sitting on the eggs in the nest box.

As a young pullet comes into lay, her shell gland may not be operating at  peak performance. If the eggs are pale with weak shells, keep a close eye on the hen. She could be recovering from a viral infection. As a hen ages and starts going out of lay, her shell gland can start to shut down. This can be temporary or permanent.

Lastly, sometimes we find eggs with rough bumpy spots or patches.  These bumps are calcium deposits. Not to worry! Most times this is short lived and the hen is back to laying regular smooth eggs in no time at all.

egg shapes

Most of the possibilities listed above are stress related. Keep your hens comfortable, and maintain a stress free environment. Add additional calcium in the form of oyster shell, ground up egg shells, or limestone. Feeding an appropriate layer feed to mature hens, ensures that they are getting the nutrition they need to form strong egg shells. If a hen continually lays an odd egg, it could be heredity at work. If no signs of illness are present and the hen just lays an occasional strange egg, I wouldn’t be overly concerned.

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egg shapes