Thursday, September 21, 2006

Egg without a shell


It may appear normal, but this duck egg is missing its shell and is covered only by a thin membrane.

Chickens lay eggs at any old time of day, but ducks are more organized: they almost always lay in the early morning. Sometimes if we let them out of the pen before normal, they're forced to lay eggs in the grass or other odd places. Like the porch.

Every now and then a chicken will lay an egg without a shell. It's usually when they first start laying that this happens -- as if all their parts aren't yet working correctly. But sometimes it occurs long after you'd think all their reproductive processes would be sorted out already.

I tried googling to find the cause, but mainly came up with, "It just happens sometimes." I hadn't noticed the ducks doing it too, until this egg.

As this page on Odd Eggs notes, when you pick it up, it feels like a water balloon.

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Half the fun of googling is finding the stuff that you didn't know you didn't know. For example I'd heard of century eggs (aka thousand-year-old eggs), and although they don't sound appetizing to me, I'd probably try one. Same with tea eggs. But Balut? Umm, no thanks.

20 comments:

Ericka said...

ew ew EW! *shudder* ever look at something that people are claiming is edible and thought, "who in the h*ll was the first one to decide to eat that?!?"

James Cooper said...

I'm reminded of an elementary school experiment in which we soaked chicken eggs in vinegar for several days. It ate away the shell and left the insides just floating about in the membrane.

The longer we left it though the more bloated and yellow it became.

Ron Sullivan said...

I've had tea eggs -- lovely! subtle! yum! -- and century eggs -- also tasty, though they look odd. I can buy balut um somewhere or other around here, but so far all these years I've just been kinda looking at them sideways.

Of course, now I can't try them till the braces come off. Yeah, OK, I can wait.

gawilli said...

The tea eggs look good, but I don't even think I could go with the century eggs, let alone the balut. Isn't google wonderful?

Dave said...

My brother the geography prof is the only one I know who has actually eaten balut, in the Philippines. He said it wasn't so bad, really - not compared to another dish, which they called blood-blood.

Ontario Wanderer said...

Interesting egg story and comments. I think sometimes it's best to not think too much about what one is eating. eg "Veal" is much better than "dead calf that never had a chance to leave a small cage."

Floridacracker said...

Okay, I am in complete agreement with Ericka.
Balut .....shudddddderrrrr.

pablo said...

Well, I've learned a few things today.

Rurality said...

Food taboos are really funny, but I guess most of it boils down to what you were brought up with...

lisa said...

Mom and Dad had this problem with chicken eggs...and fed them oyster shells to add calcium to their diets. I've been told you can feed crushed eggshells too, but then sometimes they'll take to eating their own eggs...bummer!

Nicky Fry said...

Thanks for the information. I just had an older EE hen that had not layed for about 3 weeks lay an egg with only the membrane and no shell. I was looking for a reason and found your site.

Anonymous said...

My Cuckoo Maran laid a double yolk egg 2 days ago and then followed up with shell-less eggs yesterday and this morning. BUT she also managed to catch her foot quite badly on something a few days back and has been bleeding on and off. So shell-less eggs could be either a slight hiccup in the laying cycle or due to distress. One of my other hens also produced a few shell-less eggs but it was when she'd been broody and was getting back to laying.
I too have trawled Google and come up with very little but I'm betting if it was a sign of a real problem more would have been written about it.

Re food preferences, have you ever tried to get kids to eat vegitables, you'd think you were asking them to eat broken glass.
Me I'll eat ANYTHING except raw oysters, once was enough, oh and maybe I'll skip on the broken glass too. My worry is always 'what else had the person been eating/ smoking to make them think up the idea of tea eggs or balut eggs?'
Chris.

Miss Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Mark said...

Hey. I googled "eggs with out a shell" and found your blog. My dad just sent me an egg without a shell from our farm to show to my kids that I teach. I also found this site: http://www.internationaldovesociety.com/SoftShelledEggs.htm saying it is because of a lack of calcium that this happens. neat stuff!!

Hope said...

Hi, I just came across you wonderful blog tonight. I LOVE your pictures. I just started chicken raising this year, and I think I'm going to try the kitty litter box thing. I love wildlife of all kinds and especially enjoy your predator photos. How exciting!

I looked up the tea eggs, century eggs, and balut, and oddly enough I don't think I could eat the century eggs. I might eat the tea eggs, but the balut, maybe I'd try it. At first, I was disgusted. After thinking about it though, what is really the difference between eating balut and eating a chicken or duck? It's just a much younger chicken or duck. I don't think I could eat it for the same reason that I don't eat veal. However, before I knew what veal was, I adored veal parmesan! Maybe balut would be good too? My sister in law is Filipino, so I'm going to ask her about it.

Sarah said...

I couldn't work out why my chickens had yellow heads, until I found the remains of the shellless eggs. I've seen a UK Tv presenter try Balut. Turns my stomach inside out just remembering it. Icky.

Candice said...

I know I don't know you, but I googled "chickens eggs without shell" and found your blog. I just went to check my chickens' eggs today, and there were two in an unusual spot in the coop. One egg looked like it had be stepped on, and the other looked normal. I couldn't reach them, so I took a stick to get the unbroken egg out of the coop, when much to my surprise, the egg was squishy!! Apparently, one of my chickens, who has been laying perfectly good eggs for two months now, had a couple come out too early. They were plopped right under where she perches, instead of in the usual egg corner. Glad to know this sometimes happens, and it's not some crazy disease!

Lana said...

Thank you for your post, I've just come across it by googling 'eggs with no shell' as one of my girls dropped two eggs this morning in the middle of the coop, one with membrane and one without. She's been laying consistently 6 eggs a week for the last 14 weeks, she is still young :) I did disturb them at dusk in their coop with some scarab grubs, which they didn't eat, so I am thinking that I had stressed them for her to drop her eggs. Interesting the other girl didn't drop any (or should I say, didn't drop any yet). Chris' and Candice's posts are very reassuring to me, and I hope mine can also reassure someone :)

amanda said...

my ducks are laying eggs without a shell, glad to hear they are not the only ones!!!

Kurtis & mom said...

my duck just laid an egg without the shell, and it is the second one in three weeks, and she gets plenty of snails, so I just don't know what to make of it....