Why your hen laid a tiny egg, otherwise known as a fairy egg
It's not uncommon for a pullet or hen in your flock to lay a tiny egg that's around a quarter of the size of a regular egg.
These tiny eggs are often called fairy eggs, but other names include:
- Dwarf eggs
- Wind eggs
- Fart eggs
- Cock eggs (in the old days some people believed these tiny yolk-less eggs were laid by roosters!)
What do fairy eggs look like?
A fairy egg may have almost nothing in it, or it may have a meat spot as the core, or if it's on the larger side it may have a teeny tiny ~2cm diameter yolk inside.
Fairy eggs can weigh 10 to 20g, some are larger, around 30g. They are usually rounder in shape, like a mini golf ball.
If they are laid with a dark brown shell, often the pigment is concentrated and looks spotty.
Why do fairy eggs occur?
Fairy eggs can occur when a pullet is starting to lay for the first time. She's gearing up for her first egg-laying season and a false start with a fairy egg or two is not a big concern.
Fairy eggs are rarer in older, mature hens. But if it is, it's often at the end of their laying season, just before moulting.
A fairy egg forms when a piece of reproductive body tissue or a blood clot separates from the oviduct wall. The hen's egg-producing glands don't know that this tissue is not a yolk, and proceeds to create albumen (egg white), membranes and a shell around it, as it travels through the oviduct.
What do you need to do?
Ensure you are feeding your flock is being fed a good quality layer feed (I always advise 16%+ protein for layers), clean water, access to greens daily and minimising stress in the hen house.
If you're getting multiple fairy eggs in a mature hen, it could be worth a vet visit to ensure there's nothing wrong with her reproductive tract.
Want your chickens to be the healthiest and happiest they can be? I offer backyard chicken workshops, online programs, phone coaching, and in-person support to families, schools, and free-range egg farmers. Visit my online shop for natural, tried-and-tested poultry supplies in Australia.
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Elise McNamara, Chicken Consultant & Educator.