Everything you need to know about egg laying and egg oddities.
Hens will be Hens:
You actually do not need a rooster for your Hen to lay eggs (however, let us not forget about the benefits of having a Rooster). Once a hen reaches laying age 17weeks - 30weeks she will start laying eggs from the thousands of ova she was born with. The Egg starts out as a yolk (ova) and will begin it's route from the ovary, which resembles an internal egg clutch; then to the Infundibulum which it looks like a funnel that ensures that yolk makes it to the oviduct where fertilization occurs if you have a Rooster. From there the yolk goes through the Magnum where it is covered in albumen (Egg White), then it travels through to the Uterus/shell gland where it is blanketed with more albumen and the egg shell is formed. Then it makes its final journey to the nest box for collecting.
One question I'm asked everyday "Will my eggs be okay to eat if I have a Rooster?" the answer is "Yes!" When properly collected through out the day and refrigerated it stops the development of the embryo. If you crack open a fertilized egg you might see a tiny white circle in the yolk. Rest assured there is no taste difference!
Color and Taste?
There are so much difference of opinions on this subject, like brown eggs taste better, blue eggs are better than white. But first let's talk about how eggs get their color. Egg pigmentation occurs in the Hen's shell gland/uterus, color is determined by the type of hen you have and also if there is a rooster involved in breeding. The egg color from which the rooster was hatched from and the egg color the hen presently lays can effect the offspring's resulting egg color once they (the offspring) matures to laying age. So lets get back to taste? Science says that there are no difference in taste, with all the research I've done myself in studies by universities and private kitchen experiments it is true. The big difference egg lover's may notice is the difference between the eggs they get from their own flock and their favorite local store. Commercial eggs can sometimes be as 2-3 weeks old already before they reach the refrigeration aisle of your market.
Now let's talk about defects, I imagine those who are very new to raising chickens for eggs have the same thought I do as a newbie : “My eggs will be perfect!”. Quality eggs begin with providing laying hens proper nutrition and even then sometimes what is left in the nest box is surprising. We thought it would be great for you to actually see these instances.
Inside the Egg
Blood Spots/Meat Spots (Misconceptions: "It only happens with fertilized eggs", ""It's a bad egg")
They happen with or without the presence of a rooster because this happens during the development of the egg. Small blood vessels rupture during ovulation or in the oviduct and result in spots. If you notice this problem in your own flock you can give them dark leafy greens help increase their vitamin A and K levels. Meat Spots are sometimes brown in color and can be found in the egg white, yolk, or on the chalazae.
They occur with or without the presence of a rooster in your flock because this happens during the development of the egg. They happen because small blood vessels rupture during ovulation or in the oviduct. If you notice this problem in your own flock you can give your flock dark leafy greens help increase their vitamin A and K levels. Meat Spots are sometimes brown in color and can be found in the egg white, yolk, or on the chalazae. So no worries you can remove the spot to put your mind at ease or crack open another one and eat on!
Another big surprise at breakfast time! Double yolks happen when two ovi (yolks) travel the oviduct together. This happens in both young layers and older layers. The picture taken above happened in perfect time as I began researching for this blog entry. What luck?!
Usually oblong and sometimes overly rounded, misshapen eggs normally occur because your hen is still young and just starting out. Stress can also cause misshapen eggs, so if you've moved your chickens recently and noticed the change, they should go back to laying normally once they get situated. In other cases it could be a defective shell gland but do not fret, they may be misshapen but will taste the same.
How troublesome can they be?! Cracking and chipping is something you want under control and the best solution would be to provide your layers with more calcium. Our Oyster Shell (10 lbs) (Shipping Included). It could be due to delayed maturity as well, but another possibility could be disturbances during laying. To make it more peaceful for your hen be sure to place your coop somewhere that would be free from disturbances.
Sometimes this is caused by a prolapsed cloaca, vent picking, or cannibalism, which stains the egg with blood which makes it look dirty. It can also happen in younger hens who will adjust to laying after a few weeks. Keeping your coop along with nest boxes clean and dry as possible will also help in preventing staining.
Certain breeds of birds are more prone to have pimples on the egg shell where sometimes they are connected to an aging bird or poor nutrition.
There are a few reasons this happens; Dehydration: make sure that your hen gets an adequate supply of water. Incorrect Lighting Changes: it is best not to change their natural lighting, as one of our great Customer Service ladies Linda, explained it in a wonderful way, that when you light your flock in the winter it can also cause them to go into a forced molt, which is truly not healthy for your layers. Forced molts can actually cause a decrease in yearly production and sometimes even shorten the life span of your flock. The other causes of Sandpaper shell would be Infectious Bronchitis or a Defective Shell Gland.