Sudden change in colour of eggs?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by olymps1, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. olymps1

    olymps1 Hatching

    Jan 11, 2015
    (note: I wasn't sure where this topic fitted so I decided to just put it here. Sorry if i got it wrong!)

    We have had 3 Isa Brown chooks for about 6 months now and they've been laying eggs for 4 months (i think?). We consistently get 2 or 3 eggs a day and they're always the regular brown ones you can find in the shops (a little bit bigger though). However, just today and yesterday one of our chooks layed a completely white egg that was much larger in length than what we normally get. Although it was bigger, it was much lighter and felt less dense than the other brown one.
    I have no idea which chook layed it but I was wondering, why the sudden change in colour? We're not too concerned but it's nice to know whats happening.
    Our chickens are free range and there hasn't been a change in diet.

    Thanks in advance if you know whats happening.
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    It's my understanding the brown color is usually applied last in the shell manufacture process. Sounds like one of your ladies just skipped that step. Glitches like this happen from time to time, and more often in the higher production layers like the sex links. She may run glitchy for a few days until her system gets back on track, or it may be a one-off and she'll never miss another beat.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    For two days in a row, one of your hens has laid an egg that is a lot lighter in color than usual, much larger than usual, and feels less dense than usual? Did I get that right?

    Donrae, it is possible that the entire thickness of the egg shell can have a brownish tint, not very dark brown at all, maybe a pink. You can see that if you crack the egg and remove the membrane from the inside of the egg. The majority of the time the inside is pure white and the brown is the last thing added in the shell gland on top of the regular shell and that is where the darker shades come from. That brown is added last. You can remove that brown with sandpaper. I’m sure that brown on top is what Olymps normally gets.

    If, for some reason, the egg is laid a little early, what is a normal brown egg can come out practically white if the egg is laid early enough. Occasionally that can happen due to stress, something disturbed the hen and she popped the egg out early. It’s unusual for that to happen two days in a row but anything is possible. You are dealing with living animals.

    Have you cracked those eggs to see what is inside? It’s not that unusual for a hen to lay a double yolked egg. She accidentally releases two yolks at the same time and they travel down her internal egg making factory together. Those eggs can be pretty large but they should have a standard density. Other strange eggs are a lot rarer. It is extremely unusual but there have been cases where a hen lays an egg with two shells. For some unknown reason the egg was not laid when it should have been, so the shell gland puts an extra shell on it. These can be pretty large too. But that should not happen two days in a row. There are other really weird things that can happen to cause a larger than normal egg, but this shell on a shell is the one that comes to mind when you say it is not as dense as a regular egg.

    A hen makes a certain amount of material to produce an egg. She makes a certain amount of shell material, usually enough to cover an egg the size she lays. If she lays an unusually small egg, that amount of shell material can give you a really thick shell. If she lays a larger than normal egg, that shell can be pretty thin. So, how thick are the shells.

    Similarly, a hen makes a certain amount of color to put on an egg shell. If the egg is unusually large that pigment gets spread out more so the egg can look lighter.

    Since she has been regularly laying regular eggs for a few months, she should have the kinks worked out of her internal egg making factory. Still, it is possible something will go haywire and you will get an occasional strange egg. There is nothing to get concerned about over that. Stuff happens. The thing that concerns me the most is that this has happened two days in a row. That generally doesn’t happen. But you are dealing with living animals. Stuff happens.

    I hate to even mention this, but I should. There are some diseases that can cause a hen to lay a strange egg. Usually these strange eggs are smaller and just don’t look normal, not larger and otherwise normal looking, so it does not sound like that is your problem. Also, if they are sick they should not act normal. Still, if it persists, you have a problem that needs to be looked at.

    Even if it persists, that does not mean your chickens are sick. It is quite possible there is something related to diet, environment, or something else causing this. For example, if they don’t get enough darkness it is possible that can cause them to lay strange eggs. A high protein diet can lead to extra yolks being released.

    I suggest you open the eggs and see what they look like inside. That might tell you something. I suspect all you will see is a double yolked egg and you really don’t have a problem. It should go away on its own and this was just one of those things that happened. If it persists, observe them to see if they are acting unusual, especially hunched up and lethargic. And think if you have changed anything recently.

    Good luck!

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