Why did my chicken lay this strange egg?

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My New Hampshire Red hen just layed her first egg, but it had no shell. It was like a jello egg. My Auracauna hen (same age) layed her first eggs last week and they have been just fine. They eat the same layer feed, food and garden scraps, and free range a portion of each day. What do you think the problem is?

-- Jill D. (jdance@mindspring.com), September 27, 1999


It was chicken miscarriage. I have seen this before. Don't worry to much about it.

-- Carol (glear@usa.net), September 28, 1999.

First few eggs are always kinda goofy. Takes them a while to get the plumbing in gear.

Don't sweat it, lotsa eggs coming soon.

We are getting 5-8 a day, every day from this springs batch.

Got recipes?

-- Art Welling (artw@lancnews.infi.net), September 28, 1999.

Thin or non-existent shells happen sometimes. Make sure your hens are getting oyster shell, or some other source of calcium in their diet. Usually we just put the oyster shell in a separate feeder and let them get it free choice. This is pretty important for layers.

The laying mash usually has some calcium in it, but we found that they needed a supplement if the egg shells were to be good and solid.


-- gene (ekbaker@essex1.com), September 28, 1999.

yup- don't worry. Just give oyster shell and let the hen's "plumbing" get into gear.....

-- farmer (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), September 28, 1999.


Thought I would share more info on a related subject - Recently a few of my hens developed a foot swelling/infection on one foot. I figured out that when they perched a nail/claw was digging into the pad of the foot, eventually puncturing and causing a nasty problem. Not all the breeds show this and maybe if they had free run of the yard instead of a smaller dirt pen it would help but - watch for it - dog nail clippers work well if needed. Good luck.

-- Kristi (securxsys@cs.com), September 28, 1999.

Which came first, the chicken or the jello?

-- Lars (lars@indy.net), September 28, 1999.

OK...anyone willing to share a few facts about laying hens? Is there a gen'l age range that they begin to lay? What type of hens do you think are the best for egg production? Any other info. for a total newbie on the subject of raising hens for eggs would be greatly appreciated.

P.S. I really AM lame...lol...couldn't even type my email in the right place...sigh. beej

-- beej (beej@ppbbs.com), September 28, 1999.


Well I'm a total newbie too, and have learned by asking questions of the kind folks on this board and reading two books: Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living and Gail Damerow's Guide to Raising Chickens. (But neither mentioned jello eggs!) Also read lots of back issues of Countryside Magazine.

My chickens started laying at about 20 weeks. Check out www.mcmurrayhatchery.com and request their free catalog. It's an education in itself, and will include characteristics of the different breeds and their suitability as meat or egg (or both) birds. I chose aracaunas and buff orpingtons from the local feed store because I liked their characteristics. Then I went to the county fair last week and saw New Hampshire Reds and realized that's what my Orpingtons really were. I knew they didn't look like the picture in the McMurray catalog! Thanks to all of you who responded. I'll add more oyster shell and see if she gets better with practice. The other hen is laying real nice eggs.

-- Jill D. (jdance@mindspring.com), September 28, 1999.


The "jello" egg you spoke of is a regular egg with no shell on it. This happens sometimes particularly when the hens start to laying, or when they get rather old or ready to moult. In a first egg situation, it is due to the plumbing not being just right yet, as some of the others mentioned. Maybe the shell forming part of their body was not functioning but the egg producing part was. I doubt that lack of calcium was the cause in the pullet's case. Now if it were in an old hen, I'd say furnish them with more calcium via oyster shell.

As hens get older, they will many times produce a double-yolk egg, or an egg with funny ridges or rough spots, or maybe a lighter color than they have been laying. The eggs are good, the hens are just ready for a "rest". That's when you withdraw food and water for a couple of days and force them into a "moult". They will stop producing eggs for a while, regain their strength and come back laying the biggest, nicest, eggs you could hope for.


-- Gerald R. Cox (grcox@internetwork.net), October 01, 1999.

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