Eggs Without Shells

There’s never a dull moment in the garden. Petunia, the Barred Leghorn, surprised us by laying Frankenstein shell-less eggs on September 11th and 12th, leading us to wonder if something was terribly wrong. The eggs were translucent and appeared to have a considerable amount of blood in them. They were soft to the touch, buckling at the slightest pressure and were covered in a strange, dark, powdery substance.

We found each egg below the girls’ roost in their coop, making us wonder if Tuni had laid the egg during the night. We called our most knowledgeable chicken friends, consulted our chicken book, and searched the Internet for clues. We also did a thorough check of the girls’ vents to ensure there was nothing untoward happening. They both checked out fine. I looked the offending egg over with my hand lens, but the powdery grit still just looked like powdery grit.

Bottom line: it seems like she’s probably alright. While frequent laying of eggs without shells is cause for major concern and can indicate a serious illness according to Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, occasional naked eggs can show up if a chicken experienced a stressful event, is at the beginning or end of a laying cycle, or has a lack of calcium in the diet.

I’m pretty sure our chickens are covered where diet is concerned. It seems more likely to me that Tuni experienced a glitch at the end of a laying cycle. That said, I wasn’t able to find any references to the fine, gritty, powder on the eggs, nor did I find anyone describing eggs with a significant amount of blood in them (much more than the occasional spots I’ve seen before in fully formed eggs).

If it happens again soon, or lasts any longer, we’ll probably call the vet. In the meantime, after a day of rest, Petunia is back to laying perfectly respectable white eggs every morning.

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