Puzzling chicken eggs

Things have been topsy turvy here in chicken land these past few weeks. First the chickens had an outbreak of mites, and I got that situation under control. The mites aren’t completely gone but it is rare that I see one on an egg in the nest box. I switched feed brands a few times in the past few weeks and although I feel good about the current brand because of its reputation (Nutrena), I’m not seeing positive results at home. Some of the eggs are misshapen and lumpy. The one pictured above was laid today with a crack in the shell. It must have cracked before it was laid because a thin layer of shell covered the crack, as if to seal it shut again.

One of our chickens, Blue, consistently lays eggs that we have to throw away. Her eggs are soft-shelled and covered with sandy calcium deposits. Inside, the egg white contains patches of calcium deposits. My thinking with Blue is that she was born a bad egg-layer.

The other eggs are more puzzling, because all of the chickens had consistently laid good eggs until recently. This is what I come up with for explanations when I do an internet search: Infectious Bronchitis (none of my chickens have been sick, so this explanation doesn’t fit); too much salt (this might be it, as we have a water softener that uses salt and I have been giving the chickens water from the house all winter. The water from the outside faucet does not run through the water softener); and an upcoming molting season could explain the egg issues. I’m inclined to believe it has something to do with their food or water because it’s happening to a number of them at once.

Not only have the eggs been misshapen lately, they’ve also tended to run large – really, really large. So large that I can’t fit them in the egg carton or shut the lid all the way. I’m really hoping the warm weather, clean water, and greater opportunties to graze on fresh green grass every day will make a difference in my hens.

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