Rubber Eggs: The Life of a Chicken

 

We have 10 hens and 6 nesting boxes.  For whatever reason, most of them want to lay their eggs in the same nesting box.  This makes it difficult to pinpoint who laid the egg missing a shell.

Egg with no shell.

Egg with no shell.

They clamour to have what the others have in every situation.

I usually put out 3 plates of their scraps so they all have easy access to it and the bullies can’t block all the plates at once.  Even though there are 3 plates holding the exact same food, they all run from plate to plate sampling off them all and pecking at each other to block them from the next plate.

Now and then I chop up red cabbage and put a big plate of it down for them to snack on.  They all have access to the same amount, size, shape, and flavour of cabbage, but one hen will grab a random piece in her beak and the rest will chase her around for that one piece  – even though this piece is identical to the thousand other pieces on the plate.

They always want what the others have so it doesn’t surprise me that they all want to lay their egg in the same nest.  If I can get into the coop early enough in the day and spread the first few laid eggs into other nest boxes they will usually split up between those boxes.

Often there are 2 or 3 hens all jammed into the same nest trying to lay an egg.  I will see a white wing, with a red head, and a black fluffy butt sticking out.  It really is a cute sight but I am always worried one will suffocate or that they will break the eggs.  No hens have suffocated yet but we have had a few egg casualties.  Some knocked onto the floor and then pecked and some crushed under all the other eggs.

We usually get 9 eggs from the 10 hens – yesterday we got 11.  This is not normal.

I collected my usual 9 eggs around lunchtime and when I went back to the coop around suppertime, I was surprised to find 2 more eggs. One was regular sized and one was very small.  I reached to grab them and was disgusted when the egg felt like a warm water balloon. I scooped the eggs out with an empty Starbucks cup and brought them inside for inspection. Then research.

Possible Reasons an Egg Could Have a Rubber Shell

At first I didn’t want to touch it as I was worried it would explode under too much pressure, but fascination got the best of me. It appeared that the egg was complete inside the membrane but was just missing a shell.  I Googled it right away and learned that it could be caused by a few different things.

photo-68

Notice I can push my thumb into the egg like a water balloon.

Various chicken websites were in agreement that it is normal for eggs to be missing a shell from time to time and that it can be: attributed to lack of calcium in a hen’s diet, a sign that a hen is now mature enough to start laying, or that a hen has a wonky reproductive system and may not be a good layer.

Only time and a careful eye will allow me to figure out the reason for the case of the rubber egg.  Now if I could just figure out who laid it…

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