If you have chickens you've seen it. That misshapen, blobby, too big, too small, or just plain weird egg to come shooting out of one of your hens. If you DON'T have chickens, you're not going to believe what kind of eggs are edited out of your grocery store carton, lol! This is their story.
As someone who buys their eggs at the store, you've been protected your whole life from the oddities of eggs. The weird, horrifying, amusing, and curious mistakes. But let me tell you - you're being protected from some pretty gross stuff.
As a backyard chicken owner, you may go out to your coop every morning and come back with a collection of perfectly normal eggs.
Then, one day, in front of you is an egg that looks like a Ripley's Believe it or Not penis.
It happens. Welcome to the world of chicken keeping.
Lash eggs, Fart Eggs & Other Weird Eggs.
This in particular egg is our first weird egg.
The Lash Egg
Lash eggs are misshapen rubbery blobs. The most horrifying part is they are indeed eggs. Probably not ones you'd want to eat unless doing so would result in winning millions of dollars and being named sole Survivor.
Lash eggs often happen when a chicken is sick but can also be a sign that if they *are* sick, they're getting better. || Read my in depth post on lash eggs and see what's INSIDE them. ||
- There is zero chance you'll ever find one of these in your grocery store carton of eggs.
- NOT safe to eat.
The Fart Egg
Tiny Fart egg at top of stack.
Also known by the more Disney term, the Fairy Egg, these eggs happen when a hen first learns to lay. Although the Fairy egg at the top of this pile was my first ever Fairy Egg and it came from a seasoned hen. It was from Baby. The mean hen.
Fairy eggs typically only consist of the white part of the egg (the albumen) but mine had a yolk in it, which you'll see in the next featured egg.
- Fart eggs are never sold by commercial producers, you won't accidentally end up with one in a carton. But if you WANT teeny tiny eggs, buy quail's eggs. Fart eggs are about the same size.
- Safe but ultimately not very filling to eat.
The Blood Spotted Egg
Chickens (particularly brown egg laying chickens) can work so hard to get that egg out of them that they burst a blood vessel. When this happens, the egg it's forming at the time will pick up that burst blood vessel and there you have it - an egg with a blood spots.
Eggs can also have something called meat spots which show up on the white of the egg as opposed to the yolk. Meat spots happen when the egg picks up tissue along the chicken's oviduct. You can recognize them because they look more like a lump than the smooth look of a blood spot.
- Chances are you won't get these from store bought eggs, but the odd one does sneak into cartons. You're more likely to have this problem in brown eggs because the dark shell of brown eggs are harder to detect abnormalities through. Commercial producers "candle" their eggs to ensure customers don't get visually assaulted with blood spotted eggs. Candling eggs is just shining bright light through the eggshell so shadows can be seen inside of it. But the dark coloured shell of brown eggs makes seeing through the shell through candling more difficult than with a white egg. Brown egg layers are also more prone to laying eggs with blood spots than white egg layers.
- Safe to eat. If it grosses you out (it grosses me out) just use a bit of shell to cut the offending portion of the egg out.
If you want to decrease your chances of getting an egg with blood or meal spots at the grocery store, buy white eggs.
Brown and white eggs are the same thing. There's NO nutritional difference at all. The colour of the egg is just based on the colour of the chicken - brown chicken = brown egg. White chicken = white egg. (actually it depends on their earlobe colour but generally that matches the colour of the hen)
Blotches, Speckles and Mends on Eggs.
A Quick Lesson in Egg Colour
Eggs are white. All eggs start out their life inside the chicken as white. It's when the egg is rolling through the chickens oviduct that colour is painted onto it.
You can test whether this is true by paying attention to the inside of brown chicken egg when you crack it open. The outside of it is brown but the inside is white.
The only exception to this is the egg of the Ameraucana which lays blue eggs. Their shell still starts out as white but they deposit their colour onto the egg early on. This gives the colour a chance to seep through the entire shell making the inside of it blue as well.
Egg Colour Abnormalities
BLOTCHES - Egg #1
Some breeds paint the pigment onto their eggs just before they lay it. When they lay it a "wet paint" sign beside it would be appropriate. If you touch the egg immediately to collect it, a lot of the paint will come right off on your finger leaving a spot with no colour on the egg. (The egg underneath won't be white usually because some of the colour dye immediately soaks into the shell.)
MENDS - Egg #2
Egg shells can break or be formed poorly during the calcification process (the process where the shell is being made). The hen mends the crack or hole in the shell before laying.
SPECKLES - Eggs #1 & #3
Speckles on eggs are perfectly normal. It's just extra deposits of calcium. It can also be caused by a defective shell gland. If you're LUCKY your grocery store eggs will have these beautiful speckles.
- You're unlikely to encounter any of these things other than speckles from commercially produced eggs.
- All safe to eat.
A large grocery store egg normally weighs 56 grams. A double yolker can weigh 100 grams! But just because the egg is huge doesn't mean it's a double yolker. The odd time a hen will just lay an insanely huge egg that has the largest yolk you've ever seen. In 2016 my Black Copper Marans laid a whopping 96 gram single yolked egg. || See the biggest yolk you've ever seen here in my post on it! ||
- These kind of HUGE eggs don't make it into grocery store cartons. Partly because they literally will not fit in a carton. The lid won't shut! But you will the odd time get a double yolker!
- Safe to eat.
Egg With No Shell.
An egg with no shell is exactly what it sounds like. You might think that would mean a chicken would just lay a yolk and egg, but the yolk and egg are contained within a thin membrane. The shell is formed over that. If for some reason the chicken doesn't form a shell the egg will come out with just the membrane.
An egg with no shell feels like a squishy stress ball. The reason it has no shell could be that the chicken was scared or stressed when they were about to form the shell, lack of calcium or just old age.
- Yeah. Zero chance of an egg farmer letting one of these into the carton mix.
- Safe to eat! But because it has no shell it will spoil faster and the inside will evaporate more quickly.
O.K. maybe zero chance of you getting one of these is an exaggeration. Mistakes ALWAYS happen.
So. Tell me, because I'm curious. Have you ever found any of these things in your grocery store bought carton of eggs? And more importantly ... did you eat it?
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Gack!!! I had no idea. I bought eggs from a roadside stand one time--I don't know what they were feeding those chickens, but it was bad. However, the crows did like those eggs (the cannibals!).
Fortunately, my girls have never laid a lash egg. Those are ugly and wicked looking and would freak me out. I have gotten a few fart eggs over the years, and last week a gigando nearly 4 oz. (100 gm.). Haven't opened it yet so don't know if it's a double yoker. One of the girls (maybe my Aracauna who had been sick earlier last month and hasn't laid since) laid a shell-less egg, but mine is smoother than the picture you have. I can remember, as a kid, someone selling cartons of these eggs from their roadside stand. I often get eggs with 'warts' of shell, usually on the end of the egg. Blood spots are no big deal. I don't know why some people are so freaked out by eggs and other food. But you never know what you're going to find in the nest.
Buy eggs when I can from someone who raises chickens for eggs. Some are brown, others blue, sometimes an olive one as well as white. Got my first bad egg ever. Cracked it into the hot pan. Smell! Oh my! Looks?? Even worse. Did not eat any eggs that day for breakfast. I swear the pan still smells a bit like that bad egg and it has been hard to eat an egg since that happened a week ago.
I only have access to store bought eggs and used to buy brown because they look special(I won't anymore). About 2 weeks ago I bought jumbos for the first time and had my first ever double yolk! I was so excited, I took pictures, sent them to everyone I know and named it. Imagine my joy when the carton had a total of 3 double yolks. I'm now committed to buying only jumbo white eggs. My current carton had 3 and I still have 5 left to open. It's like Christmas everyday!
The color abnormalities descriptions bring such whimsical images to my mind.
I do seem to get a lot of meat spots on the eggs I buy so I never thought of them as abnormalities (if they are indeed meat spots and not something else) and maybe once or twice a blood spot that I probably did throw out
I've only gotten 2 bloody eggs in my life. That was about 10 yrs ago and both were in the same carton of white eggs from Walmart.
A place called Rose Acre Farms in southern Indiana sold eggs at The Wholesale Club. That was 30 yrs ago and before they became Sam's Club, and then Costco. There were always several double yolkers in each carton. It became so common that Mom didn't call everyone into the kitchen to see them.
The best way to test an egg’s freshen without offending your nose is to fill a glass measuring cup with water. If the egg sinks, then it wouldn’t stink. If it floats, the smell will make you choke.
Never had a problem with grocery store eggs that I can remember, but I had a bad experience when I was young. We had chickens and I suppose one had hidden an egg in the nest box. It was uncovered and gathered up and I was the lucky one to crack a half developed chick into the fry pan. Thank goodness it was not alive anymore. Scarred for life but eventually started eating eggs again.
Great read after I had an egg with no shell this morning! On a totally different subject what are your Luffa plants looking like right now? Mine only have about 5/6 leaves because I sowed them late.. hoping you will tell me thats Ok and i have half a chance of decent size fruit this season?!!
Hi Paula. My luffas are probably around 2-2.5 feet high? Some taller, some shorter. If you get a hot summer where you are and keep them watered you'll have a shot at a few luffa, probably not a huge haul, but some. ~ karen!
I got a soft shell egg in an 18pk from Sams Club a couple years ago (Sun Ups branded package). At the time I chalked it up to rolling in the cleaner fluid vat too long, but I'm starting to have my doubts thinking back on it..... it was just the point half that was soft. the bottom was shelled like normal.... perhaps that's how it made it through inspection.
We have a few chickens and I have seen all but lash eggs. We also once had a huge egg, and we assumed it was a double yolk. Intead, it contained another egg inside of it. The smaller egg also had its own hard shell. Weird!
I've always wanted one of those double eggs with an other egg inside it! ~ karen
I had an egg with a huge white blob thing in it. I bought them at the Farmers Market. This White blob was way to big to be the chalaza. I guess it was a lash egg. I threw it away, and puked my guts up. I have just started eating eggs again. Hard boiled is a no. I have to open the egg, remove the chalaza, break the membrane, and inspect it before I can cook it... I like eggs but I am afraid to have that happen again.
Yesterday, I had a weird thing in the nest box. I opened a door to check for eggs and one of the chickens was pecking, what I thought was poop, so I shooshed her away. It was the beige color. No shell. It did not smell like poop. It was firm. The fart egg is the closest thing I have seen to what it resembled. It was also warm... so I guess it had just happened. Chickens...a world of wonder every day.
Hi Terry! They are curious creatures indeed, lol. ~ karen!
I hope you can update your article. Ameracaunas are not the only blue egg-laying breed. There are also Easter Eggers, Aracaunas, cream legbars, whiting true blues, dongxians, and lushis.
HI Vardo.I understand your confusion. That wasn't the point I was making about Ameraucanas. I was saying they are the only breed that has an actual blue egg shell where the colour goes all the way through the shell as opposed to painting the colour on at the last minute like Marans etc. do. ~ karen!