Have you noticed lately that the eggs that your beautiful hens are laying every morning have had bumpier shells than usual?
Maybe it’s been easy to ignore as you’ve just been scraping these little bumps off with your fingernail, but other people who are interested in buying your eggs have been pointing out the lower quality shells, and very much NOT ignoring them.
They may be asking, ‘are these safe to eat?’ and, ‘why do the eggs have all these bumps?’
Who even knows how to answer these questions?
What are calcium deposits?
These raised bumps are actually called calcium deposits and are defects on the shell that can occur when your chickens are eating way too much calcium.
They show up as tiny spots on the eggs that some people might think are fish eggs.
Calcium is one of the very most important nutrients for hens as it plays a major part in your chicken’s reproductive system.
Of course, the easiest way to solve this problem is to introduce a healthy amount of calcium to your bird’s diets.
However, there may be some other reasons for these egg imperfections…
Four possible reasons for these calcium deposits
One potential reason for these calcium deposits on eggs is over ovulation.
This happens much more often in older hens. While usually a hen only forms one egg at a time, sometimes she’ll over ovulate and produce two at once.
What usually ends up happening is one of the eggs will have too much calcium, resulting in these bumpy deposits, and the other egg will have a very weak shell or no shell at all.
This is quite a rare event, and if it only happens every once in a while, it’s nothing to worry about.
-Lack of vitamins
These bumpy egg shells can occur when there is a lack of vitamins.Vitamin D, and especially vitamin D3, are very important for your hens.
Vitamin D3 helps the chicken to absorb calcium into it’s system.
When they don’t get enough, the calcium goes first to their bones and cells, and doesn’t make it to the egg shell that your chicken is trying to form.
This can be a big problem, especially considering how important these vitamins are to the chicken’s overall health.
Some of your poor chickens might catch a disease at some point in their very short lives.
These sicknesses can result in defects in the eggs that they lay and their egg shells.
Because there may be imbalances with vitamins during sickness, chickens will produce lower quality eggs with a more problems than usual.
Another reason for this is that when a chicken is sick, it’s usually drinking much less water and not eating enough. Without the right nutrients and hydration, your hen is bound to lay eggs that are a little funky.
-Lighting and water supply
The final potential reason for these pesky calcium deposits is that the hens aren’t receiving the right amounts and temperatures of water and lighting.
Hens need cool water to produce quality eggs, and they need a specific amount of light in the day. B
oth of these things play a huge factor in chicken’s reproductive system.
How can these deposits be eradicated?
Now that we know the potential causes for these calcium deposits, we can solve the great mystery on how to eradicate them (for the most part).
-Over ovulation is one of the problems that is inevitable, and can’t be prevented. However, this problem isn’t very common so it’s most likely not going to be the top reason for the bumps on your eggs,
-If you’re suspicious that the cause is a lack of vitamin D3, there are many supplements that you can feed the chickens to help with that. This liquid calcium can be given to the chickens daily through their drinking water.
-Proper vaccination and sanitation is important for all hens to avoid diseases that can cause fertility problems. Avoid eggs with calcium deposits (and other side effects of illnesses) by giving your chickens all the shots they need. Make sure to educate yourself on the specific vaccines that your hens need.
-Giving your hens enough lighting throughout the day will ensure the top quality egg production. This needs to be in a set schedule and every day they need 14 to 16 hours of daylight. When the hens are supposed to be sleeping, absolute darkness is also necessary. Without consistency, chicken’s reproduction systems can get thrown off balance.
-Chickens need to drink a lot of water, and doing so may help eradicate the calcium deposits. Their preferred water temperature is 55f, and if it’s any hotter or cooler, the hens might not drink enough. Make sure to use a thermometer to measure the temperature of their drinking water so that your picky hens stay hydrated.
How do I introduce more calcium to my chicken’s diet?
One of the two most common ways to give your hen a healthy amount of calcium when it is lacking it is to actually feed your chicken egg shells. This may seem weird, but the girl chickens especially love to eat these shells and they’re very good for them! If you’re running low on egg shells, the second most common way to feed your hens calcium is through oyster shells. These are another snack that chickens enjoy and can be an excellent source of nutrients.
Are eggs with calcium deposits safe to eat?
Yes. There’s nothing poisonous about eggs with calcium deposits.
These bumpy shells are pretty much a cosmetic issue, although they can be reflective of other issues with your hens.
As long as the shell is completely intact, the calcium deposits make no difference on if the actual egg is safe to eat, tasty, etc.
However, not everyone knows this, and customers can often see that the more blemished the egg is, the lesser the quality (kids are especially picky with this).
This is exactly why it’s still important to try to eradicate these types of eggs as much as you can.
Why do chickens need calcium in their diet?
Chickens need lots of calcium in their diet for a variety of reasons.
One of them being that 90% of their egg shells are made of calcium, so it takes a lot to be able to produce that every single day.
Calcium also plays a very important factor in the chicken’s heart rate, bone growth, PH level, and more.
It generally plays a huge contribution to your chicken’s health, and enables it to live a long, happy life.
The longer a hen lives, the more eggs it’ll lay, so taking proper care of your bird’s diet is a very smart investment.
Four other eggshell imperfections
Calcium deposits are just some of the ugly blemishes that can be found on eggshells. Some other common problems include:
-Corrugated shells are shells that have a wrinkly, ribbed appeaerance. They can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, heat, and poor nutrition. They may be a sign that the chicken’s drinking water is too salty or has been treated with lime or other agents.
-Wrinkled egg shells are common amongst older hens. They also can happen when the bird has been infected by a disease called infectious bronchitus, which is why vaccination against this is important. This disease stays with the chickens for life which means that the wrinkled eggs may
appear even years after the original infection. As long as these weird-looking shells don’t have any cracks in them, thankfully, they’re still safe to eat.
-Sometimes, chickens lay eggs without any shells at all! These shell-less eggs happen a lot when a chicken is young and just beginning it’s laying process. They can sometimes be a result of a lack of calcium or vitamin D, but as long as they’re irregular, they’re not much to worry about. These eggs can occur even when a chicken senses a disturbance at night such as a storm or a predator around the coop.
-Speckeled eggs are discoloured with brown spots everywhere. These eggs are perfectly safe to eat and are the result of debris in the chicken’s oviduct early in the process. Speckled eggs are quite common and nothing to be concerned about.
What other lumps or deposits can be found within the egg?
Blood spots can occur when a blood vessel is ruptured in the hen’s ovaries while the egg is being formed. These spots may look alarming but are actually safe to eat as long as the egg is cooked. They are also found in only about one percent of eggs.
Meat spots are a similar issue, and are usually found in the egg white. These are caused by pieces of tissue being picked up by the egg as it’s in the chicken’s oviduct. While both of these deposits look a bit frightening, they’re quite rare and not a sign of any real harm to your hen.
Depending on the frequency of your chickens producing eggs with calcium deposits, they may be harmless irregularities or a warning sign. If these ‘fish eggs’ are appearing regularly, it may be a tell-tale sign that something needs to be changed with your hen’s diets, or you need to care for them differently. But, if these eggs are a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence, there’s really nothing to worry about and your egg is safe for you to eat. So, either give your eggs some more vitamins or make yourself a yummy omelete!