Your poultry: bad eggs
Sometimes the hen house yields some real stinkers.
One of the main reasons for keeping a few hens in your back garden is for the eggs they will produce.
Humans have been fiddling with the genetics of poultry for thousands of years. We’ve created types that breed true in the last couple of hundred years, and laboratories to refine egg and meat production in the last 70 years or so.
The variety of breeds of Gallus gallus has expanded to encompass the various needs of breeders and fanciers throughout the world, whether you like beautiful feather patterns, lots of eggs, or something that makes a good roast.
One of the big factors in all of that genetic meddling is the kind of egg you buy in the supermarket. These don’t vary in size much. For the most part they are uniform in shape and shell, carefully graded and selected, inspected inside and out, and you’ll only ever see perfection.
But when you keep your own flock, you know there are all kinds of anomalies that can be produced by your hens. Some are weird and wonderful productions, and some are pretty disgusting. It pays to know what caused them, and to know if it’s fixable and whether you can you still eat it or not.
Eggs can be odd in a number of ways: shell deformities, wrinkles, deposits, ‘extensions’. Sometimes the egg will have no shell at all or a very thin one. The shell may vary in colour from white to many shades of beige, brown through to rich mahogany, and then there are the shades of blue, green and olive. Shell colour is dependent on genes and breed, but when a hen lays an egg in a colour that is faded compared to her normal offerings, it can be due to a problem.
Internally there can be inclusions like blood spots, meat spots, sometimes even another fully-shelled egg. If you have roosters, hopefully you won’t find a partially-developed embryo when you crack it open, or just as bad, a wriggling worm.
If a hen is roughly handled, stressed, caught or chased when an egg is being formed, it can cause wrinkles, crumples and cracks which then solidify.