Lots of fairy eggs suddenly

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Petra Pancake, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Songster

    While some people on this site get blessed with gigantic "dinosaur" eggs, I've got the opposite problem:
    One of my Baladi mixed breed hens has taken to laying tiny fairy eggs. Lots of them, something like 10 or 12 over the last 3 weeks. Every now and then she seems to lay a normally sized egg as well, but mostly tiny ones, slightly bigger than my thumbnail. They have a proper shell and regular egg white inside but no yolk. She shares the coop and run with 3 other hens. They are laying normal size eggs.
    She looks healthy, well fed and behaves as always. She's my oldest hen, about 3 years old, and at the bottom of the pecking order, if that makes a difference. She does keep herself apart from the others and is afraid of them. In the past she used to lay normal sized eggs and has hatched chicks successfully.
    What could be wrong with her?
     
  2. sannabelle

    sannabelle Crowing

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    Often times when hens are at the beginning and end of their laying “careers” they lay fairy eggs. This could very well just be her laying kind of tampering off since she is getting older. She will probably continue to lay normal eggs occasionally but the fairy eggs may be common as well.
     
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  3. HannaKessler

    HannaKessler Chirping

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    I had a hen that I got as a rehomed old girl and she laid one fairy egg, never laid again, and started "crowing" standing on top of stuff and squawking her head off. Towards the end she got aggressive and acted like a young cockerel, having little dominance fights with me and other hens. She would kick as if she had spurs instead of pecking. Very weird...
     
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  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    She may just not be releasing viable ova, just non viable /immature ova.
    Is there a small speck of something(instead of a 'good' yolk) inside the egg?


    Are these a hybrid high production layer?
    If so, she may be at the end of or beyond her reproductive 'life'.
     
  5. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Songster

    I looked for specks of dirt in the fairy eggs, didn't see any, just plain egg white. Even cooked and ate one just for fun - looked and tasted normal.

    Baladi mixed breeds are barnyard mixes of Middle Eastern chickens and various European/American breeds. Hardy little birds but hardly high production. Mine lay maybe 120 eggs per year per head. They go broody and take winter and molting breaks.
     
  6. RWise

    RWise Songster

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    IMHO a 3 YO hen is not old, but young! And if not using lights to keep them laying in the winter a hen can live 25 years and make eggs. If using lights to keep them popping it shortens their life and production, they have a fixed amount they can produce, when its gone its over.
    My oldest hen is now 7 YO, I use lights, and she has slowed down, maybe 3 per week, maybe. Never seen one of these fairy eggs, but I would watch her for a few days and see what her habits are, laying hens need to eat a lot to make eggs,,,
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Huh. Not sure what the deal is then.
    Usually there is something inside a fairy egg that prompts the body to form the rest of the egg..... a tiny piece of tissue or an immature ova. That's the oddest part here. An immature ova can be almost clear. I guess it could be stress if she's being harassed.
     
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  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I think the oldest hen on record was 16 years old.


    They are born with way more ova then they will ever lay, even if they lived to 25. The overall health of the bird is what determines if they continue to lay or not, something else usually kills them before they ever run out of ova.
     
  9. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    I get them every once in a while.
    I keep them on a shelf for, well, I really don't know why, I just do.
    The largest in the bowl is a small pullet egg for comparison.

    Fairy Eggs.jpg
     
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  10. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Songster

    Maybe it is the stress - she isn't having much fun in life these days. Last summer in a different flock she was my top hen. Now she's been for 3 months in the current setting with one other hen from the old flock and 2 newer Leghorns. She's still afraid of the Leghorns, even after 3 months together in the same coop. She doesn't even eat with them, just runs away in fear as soon as one of them looks up. I always have to pour her some extra food into a corner. Still, she was laying normal sized eggs until about 3 weeks ago when the fairy eggs started.
    Well, it seems to be one of these chicken mysteries.

    Maybe I should let her hatch some fairies next time she goes broody... or doesn't it work like that?

    free-fairy-silhouette-clip-art-il.jpg
     

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