Have you ever bought a tray of eggs or cracked a few eggs and noticed something strange either outside or inside the egg? Commercial egg production, whether on a large scale or small scale, will often result in some odd looking eggs.

This article highlights ten of the most common abnormalities and the possible causes of them. The egg laying process, from the release of the yolk from the ovary to the actual laying of the egg, takes approximately 24 to 26 hours to be complete. At the end of the process, a perfectly oval-shaped egg is expected but this is not always what the hen lays.

What are some of the peculiarities we have seen:

Pale egg yolks

Pale egg yolks are nothing to be concerned about, they are just not aesthetically appealing and gives one the impression that there is something wrong with the egg. The colour of the yolk is directly related to the pigment the hen consumes. Diets richer in carotenoids (such as yellow maize) will have darker egg yolks, whereas diets with white maize will have a paler egg yolk.

Vivid orange egg yolks

Occasionally, you will find yolks with a dark orange colour. This means that the diet which the hen consumed had too much artificial pigmentation (such as carophyll).

Double yolk eggs

This is common with large and jumbosized eggs and is not a problem for table egg production. It is caused when two yolks are released from the oviduct at the same time and encased in one shell.

Bloodstained eggs

Bloodstained eggs are usually common in younger flocks in early lay and is a result of straining on the part of the hen where large eggs are involved. This can be avoided by ensuring that the birds are fully grown and sexually mature before providing the required artificial light (16 hrs/day) for commencement of lay.

Eggs with blood spots inside

This is a result of blood escaping the ovarian follicle and getting imbedded in the albumen. The cause is possibly due to the birds being shocked or stressed and will usually correct itself. It is good to note that there are some breeds which are flightier than others and therefore blood spots may be more prominent in these eggs.

Dirty eggs

This is a cause of lack of removal of faeces from the nest boxes, or when a flock has wet litter and pasty droppings. This can be prevented by regular cleaning of the nest boxes and providing flocks with adequately balanced diets to prevent wet droppings.

Soft shelled eggs

These are eggs with a thin layer of calcium deposit on the egg membrane and are soft to the touch. It can usually occur in the first pullet egg and in older birds. Other possible causes are diets which are too high in phosphorus, mouldy feed, salty feed and feed contaminated with mycotoxins. Provide flocks with a balanced diet from a reputable animal feed company, such as Tiger Animal Feeds.

Eggs with watery albumen

This is more frequent in older hens and in hotter weather. Most of the time eggs develop watery albumen because they are stale and have been kept in a warm area for more than two weeks. Eggs should be stored in cool controlled temperatures to preserve the freshness.

Wrinkled eggs

These eggs appear to have wrinkled or rigid surfaces which is caused by overcrowding and stressed hens. This may also be seen in flocks suffering from infectious bronchitis.

Calcium deposits on eggs

This can be caused by defective shell glands or disturbances during the calcification process of egg formation. Excessive calcium or Vitamin D in the diet may also be a possible cause of these deposits. Make sure a balanced feed is given to the birds.

Many other abnormalities may have been noticed, but these are very few and not common in flocks. If chickens are kept in clean non-stressful conditions and given a balanced diet with fresh clean water, then these problems will be avoided.

For more information contact Rowena Blanco, Animal Nutritionist of Tiger Animal Feeds, on (+260)977-991-847 or visit their website on www.tigerfeeds.com