Egg Sizes

by Vivian
(Australia)

Question
Egg Sizes: My Chickens are Isa Brown (5), I have had them about two years. At first I had 4 0r 5 eggs per day now its only two.

Sometimes I have one very large egg which is watery and has a thin shell. On another occasion I have had tiny eggs which look like pigeon eggs.

I feed them pellets and mash and kitchen scraps. They have a large run but unfortunately there isn’t any grass left. Do I need to supplement with something else? I am a first time chicken keeper.

Answer
Egg abnormalities are often caused by mineral deficiencies. This could account for poor shell quality as well as irregular laying patterns, decreased egg numbers and unusual sizes.

This could also be an indication that these hens are getting “laid out” and nearing the end of their laying life.

Sometimes small yolkless eggs are laid at the beginning of a laying cycle, especially with young hens just beginning to lay. (I’ve always called them “pullet eggs”.)

You say you’ve had them for 2 years, but it’s unclear how old they were when you got them.

If they were already laying and adult size they may be older than you think. Production bred hens do have a short laying life, about 2 – 3 years.

Make sure you have a good layer feed. You might have a bad batch or need to buy better quality.

I like to provide an extra calcium supplement for my hens, either oyster shell or a similar product for hens.

Nutrition and age are the main issues that could cause what you are experiencing. Good vegetation forage is very important for chickens.

I have two yards for my flock and I rotate them back and forth, and water in the summer so they don’t kill grass and have it all year. That system works well here.

Click here to post comments

Return to Chicken Egg Questions.

large egg

Question
large egg: Our chicken has a droop bottom and lays her eggs anywhere. When she does it's always covered in poo.

Still looks healthy and wanders with the other chickens, been like this for a couple of months. Is their a lack of vitamins, they are totally free range and only go to the chicken coop at night to lay eggs.

Answer
I’m sorry, but I’m really having trouble visualizing what you describe as “a droopy bottom”.

When hens are in laying mode there is a softening and enlarging around the vent and abdominal area; their feathery backside appears fuller than as a pullet. Maybe this is what you have noticed?

Laying soiled eggs is not that uncommon but may indicate diarrhea. Ideally the passing of an egg will shut a flap that prevents stool passing with an egg.

Since the eggs and poo pass through the same vent, some of the muscles that push an egg out may push a little poo at the same time.

You might want to get a sample of this chicken’s stool to the vet to check for any intestinal parasites or infection.

If this droopiness you are seeing is an abnormality she may be experiencing some muscle weakness or eggs moving too slowly through the oviduct.

You titled this Large Egg, so maybe thinking of the possibility of her being egg bound? It would be unusual for her to have shelled eggs backed up in her oviduct, if she is actively laying nearly every day.

You can gently catch her and gently check for egg shaped masses. The hard shell gradually coats the egg as it passes through the oviduct, so at any given time there can be eggs at various stages readying to be laid.

It sounds like she is well other than the soiled eggs.

Click here to post comments

Return to Chicken Egg Questions.

Big Egg

by Connie Pearson
(Texes)

Question
Big Egg: Is there anything I can do for my young hen. Her first egg was too big, got hung up and is hanging half way out with her insides.

It's really bad. I got the egg free of her but she is bleeding and her insides are hanging out of her.

The vet told me to kill her. Is that what I should do? Is there no hope?

Answer
I believe your vet is correct in his advice to end her suffering. This prolapse is more than what you see externally.

The ligaments that hold her oviduct in place have probably failed and short of surgery there is likely no way that she will heal naturally and completely.

Once this happens it’s likely that she will not be able to pass her droppings or eggs. The torn tissue that’s bleeding is open to infection and her chance of recovery is very, very, small.

You may want to try to nurse her back to health, which would take weeks of isolation, a course of antibiotics and TLC.

But with this part of her body damaged and her body programmed to continue to produce eggs the likelihood of more eggs getting stuck is high. There is also the likelihood that she cannot pass her droppings.

We had a similar question today: “Hen’s insides turned out”. You might want to read the answer there as well.

Click here to read or post comments

Return to Chicken Egg Questions.