Wordless Wednesday – Weird and Wonderful egg

by Deb on November 2, 2011

Slab-sided Egg

I hope I’m not going too far overboard with all the chicken stuff, but I am finding them rather fascinating. Most people connect to nature through their gardens but I’m an abject failure at anything to do with plants. So the chickens are my chance to breed and grow and show where food comes from. And to see the wide range of weird and wonderful nature that is rejected by automatic packing machines, transport and storage needs, and consumers who might get upset.

slab-sided egg

This is called a slab-sided egg. Even though it’s all wrinkled, it still has a hard shell around it. It’s caused when the chicken’s egg production line gets a bit backed up. Obviously the last thing to go on an egg is the hard outside shell, this is done with the shell gland in the uterus.

slab-sided egg

The last egg hadn’t been laid yet so it was taking up room when this egg got in there. The flat side is where they were touching, the soft membrane was squashed and wrinkled so that is how the shell was laid down.

slab-sided egg

The reason she was backed up is also interesting. Chickens form very strong (and inconvenient) attachments to their nesting area. This particular chook has a sore leg and was hopping and limping badly. We put her in our large ‘maternity’ enclosure so we could keep an eye on her and stop her trying to wander around. Because she couldn’t get back to her normal nest, she basically refused to lay all day until she absolutely had to that night, and the next day this is what we got.

It’s quite normal inside and fine to eat, but can you imagine finding it in your egg carton?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

tiff November 2, 2011 at 9:21 am

Wow. That really is so interesting. My kids want to have chooks and Maddy is doing ag at school, so she is very interested in chickens and their habits.
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Laney @ Crash Test Mummy November 2, 2011 at 11:37 am

You learn something every day! We are quite keen to keep chickens, but there are already too many rats around for my liking. The egg looks soft, hard to believe it is actually hard!
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Deb November 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm

We actually find we’ve had less mice since getting chickens – they eat them! Haven’t seen any rats around though so I don’t know how they’d cope with them.


Sarah @fignutmum November 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thank you so much for the explaniation.
So does that mean she will lay the eggs close together (in timeframe)
We have one chook who’s eggs have groves running down the egg, any idea what causes this?

Also would love a pic of your maternity area


Deb November 2, 2011 at 8:33 pm

She laid the first one sometime after they settled for the night, then the slab sided one the next evening. She doesn’t lay every day, but interestingly she was let out today and didn’t go back to her nest but laid one this evening while we were putting them to bed. It was really strange, she didn’t sit or anything we just looked away and the next minute she was standing with an egg between her legs.

I got some photos of the enclosure and put them up on Facebook.


Tamara November 2, 2011 at 6:14 pm

so interesting.
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nellbe November 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm

fascinating! even though we get free range eggs I have never seen this before.
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Deb November 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm

I get the impression they aren’t all that common, something has to disrupt the laying cycle. But there are also rules on eggs for sale – it would probably pass them because it’s whole, clean and it is a normal egg inside, but because it looks weird it wouldn’t be one I’d sell.


Tracy November 3, 2011 at 9:29 am

I love keeping chooks too- and kids love collecting the eggs. The double yolkers you get with a young hen are interesting too. We’ve only had one odd shell in 4 years tho. I wanted to try and raise chicks this year as we got some roosters last year but none of my hens have gone broody yet!


Deb November 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

We had one double yolker that was very obvious – the egg was double the length that hen usually produces.
We started with commercial hens and they rarely go broody so we got an incubator to play with – it’s too hard to transport animals out here so our only option is to hatch our own if we want anything different. Plus the highschool has an ag program and they are hatching eggs so we knew someone to help. And of course as soon as we did that two of our new non-commercial chickens went broody! We now have a third broody and we didn’t have anything to put under her, so she’s sitting on some bantam eggs and some duck eggs that my husband got from the school ag teacher. Will be interesting to see what she hatches.


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