16 November 2021

Eggs from old hens and young hens

They are different.  Image cropped for size from the one at the via shows eggs from old hens on the left, young hens on the right.  Comments from the discussion thread:
Older hens tend to lay bigger eggs its one of the reasons that egg producers get rid. This is because larger eggs cause blockages. Also if you zoom in on the older eggs you'll see more discolouration and wrinkles in the eggs also happens more when the hyper modern breeds get older as they struggle to get enough calcium to keep up with their production.

Here is an example of an egg she laid that suffered from the lack of calcium you speak of. It's not that she's not fed calcium, it's that she's too old and absorbed less

TIL in OP’s linked post that some chickens will discover they love the taste of their own eggs if you feed them to them without disguising what it is first.  Then you end up with an ‘egg eater’ who goes around and pilfers all the good eggs in your coop before you can get to them.

Chicken raiser here. You don't have to disguise eggs to feed them back. Some hens will develop egg eating habits, but most will not. I feed eggs back all the time and mine will only eat eggs with a broken shell. I've raised hundreds and hundreds of birds with only a couple egg eaters in the mix.

We have chickens and we were horrified by this fact when we first learned it. What made it ok is the reminder that these goofy creatures are descended from dinosaurs and they are omnivores. They'll go bananas for scrambled eggs - a helpful thing to know when teaching them to come when called - but we had to be ok with that whole idea before we could begin training. Also, I made a roast chicken one night (not one of mine) and I gave them the carcass. The last I saw of it, they were happily rolling it down the hill picking what they could off of it. I suspect they ate bones and all; I never saw any of it after they were done with it. Chickens are metal.

Chickens are basically pigs with wings. Between the two animals we basically have no organic waste on our farm. They eat it all.
And more at the link.  You learn something every day.


  1. Wait I thought faulty egg shells were caused by environmental DDT?

    1. The fact that DDT can cause thin shells does not mean that thin shells are always caused by DDT. Sunbeds can cause skin cancer but having skin cancer doesn’t mean you were overexposed to sunbeds.

  2. << some chickens will discover they love the taste of their own eggs >>
    I never observed that, but I'm not surprised. My family had chickens on the farm (California Whites during most of my childhood), and the chickens would race in the coop to eat any accidentally-dropped eggs of other chickens, no training needed.

    I wonder what the OP considers an old chicken. We got a batch of pullets each spring, and rather than maintain chickens through the winter, we butchered all of ours each autumn.

    Faulty egg shells certainly resulted if we ran out of (crushed) oyster shells (made available to the chickens as a "buffet item", along with grit to ease digestion), but they could also occur occasionally apparently at random.

  3. It was always rather weird to me to see our Amazon parrots happily munch on chicken, interesting that chickens will eat their own


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