Video of shell-less egg one of my chickens laid

Wee-EggIn September 2008, I got six baby Plymouth Barred Rock hens in the mail. They began laying eggs on March 6, 2009. The eggs are about 1/2 to 2/3 the size of "large" eggs I buy in the store (see the photo of the little egg on the left; click to make bigger).

The eggs my hens have been laying have nice thick shells because I give my hens plenty of crushed osyter shells. But one egg, which I pulled from the nesting box on Saturday, had no shell. It was like a rubber trick egg. Enjoy this video of me prodding and squeezing it repeatedly.


  1. Funky

    What’s the plan, are you going to eat it? Are you going to just marvel at it before throwing it away? Are you going to hatch it?

  2. Back in my high times, I lived with a buddy next to a chicken ranch. Some nights we’d go gather some eggs (I broke Cool Hand Luke’s record by eating 51 one day). Anyway, the chickens would raise a squak at our presence. That would alarm the dogs.
    We learned to hunch over and make little birdie whistles (wheet wheet wheet). The chickens would just cock their heads curiously, and quietly mutter “Buuuuuurk! Buuuurk!” as we’d gather their babies. Sometimes we’d grab an egg with no shell, and goosh! Ick! They don’t always have shells.

  3. I did something like this as a science project back in my youth. Immerse an egg in vinegar. Wait a few days. The vinegar will eat away the shell, leaving a flexible membrane.

  4. is it a viable egg? Or would the chick have rubbery bones? I betcha there is a trick to get calcium or whatever into the egg. Like removing calcium with vinegar.

  5. Shell-less eggs are still edible, albeit creepy. It isn’t unusual for young chickens to lay really strange eggs for a while when they’re just getting started — you may also get double-yolked eggs or eggs in funny mutant shapes. The chicken’s reproductive system is still figuring out how to work.

    If you continue to get shell-less eggs, or eggs with thin shells, you need to start feeding your chickens more calcium. You can feed old egg shells back to the chickens (crush them up first) or buy crushed oyster shell from the feed store.

    Yay, chickens!

  6. Or would the chick have rubbery bones?

    As far as I’m aware, the shell doesn’t contribute to nutrients at all. It’s just for protection against the elements or Frauenfingers.

    1. Looks like a large reptilian egg.

      For God’s sake, don’t hatch it under a toad.

  7. I think Joey Ramone said it best when he said,

    DDT did a job on me
    Now I am a real sickie.

  8. Our mille fleur d’uccles (rare french bantam breed) occasionally lay an egg about the size of a dime! Edible but very strange!

  9. …’I got six baby Plymouth Barred Rock hens in the mail’

    the post office delivers livestock??

  10. You can mail-order live chicks? How on earth does that work? What do they ship them in? The post office is OK with this?

    My guess is that this is probably a totally standard thing that I haven’t heard of just because I’m an ignorant city dweller, but still: lolwhut?

  11. I got one like that once. I called it the soft shell egg. I thought that when people said they got eggs with no shell, they meant really NO shell. As in a blob of egg white and yolk sitting in the hay.

    Elisd, yes it’s pretty standard. Chicks don’t need to eat or drink for, I believe it’s 72 hours after hatching. They’re mailed as soon as they hatch, and have a pretty good survival rate if you’re set up to deal with them as soon as they arrive. The post office will sometimes call you as soon as they get them so that you can go pick them up if you like. You have to take them out of the box one at a time and dip their beaks in water, so that every single one of them gets the concept. Otherwise, they won’t ever drink from the waterer and will die.

  12. You city people. Of course you can mail-order chickens, and bees, and all kinds of useful stuff. Live trees, live animals. Sea monkeys!

    Although come to think of it, we always just ordered fertile eggs and put them in an incubator. I don’t recall ordering live chicks. My dad would know — he still orders the occasional novelty breed, but I don’t know if he buys eggs or chicks.

  13. TOTALLY COOL!!!! I am a wannabe urban farmer. Are the eggs small because your chickens are young (Pullet eggs)? But thanks, did totally enjoy that. I love to give my kids hard boiled pullet eggs…they are so kawaii!

  14. As #7 said above, the first few eggs our ducks laid were a little goofy and not really any indication of lack of calcium or not. Subsequent eggs had really thick shells.

    As for the suggestion of feeding eggshells to the chickens – we toast our eggshells (with the morning toast) so that any pathogens are killed (eg. salmonella on commercial eggs).

  15. Some of us… are still waiting for you to finish posting about the chicken coop refurb over on D&R… hint hint

  16. is it a viable egg? Or would the chick have rubbery bones?

    Sweetie, unless Mark has a rooster around, there ain’t gonna be no chicks!

    Mark, you can keep all the eggs from the first few weeks and line them up – watch how they grow larger and larger.

    And ditto to the wanting to see more about your coop refurb!

  17. @10, 16, 19,

    Yes, you can order chicks of all kinds thru the USPO. I’ve been raising chickens in the ‘burbs for 7 years, and 3 other families and I just went in on an order and got our new babies last week. There are several mail-order hatcheries. The usual minimum is 25 chicks, so that they keep each other warm en route.
    The cool part is that the reason that they can be shipped is that they suck up the yolk sac into their abdomen the day before they hatch, and therefore that can survive transit until they get to food and water.
    You’d almost think God designed baby chicks for mail order. Maybe He did, he that intelligent.

  18. In Danish they’re called “vindæg”, literally wind-eggs. To #28 and #7, he did state in the OP that he feeds them plenty of oystershells. Which is the same I did back when I had chickies as a kid. The eggs were hard enough we could throw them down a 20-meter tall hill – not just roll, throw – and as long as they landed on grass, they were fine.

  19. We have a whole science project on this at
    24 Hour Science Projects. It’s the kind of experiment you do even when you don’t have to! The experiment removes the shell with vinegar, however. I’d never seen an egg come straight out of a chicken like this.

    Way cool.

  20. I must admit I absolutely LOVE these chicken-related posts. I love to read them, and all the comments, especially from chicken owners (current or previous) … because I can then dare to daydream about having chickens of my own *sigh*

    Thanks again for another another showing of the chicken channel!! Looking forward to the next ^_^

  21. I have 11 going on 21 chickens from the mail and so far they laid 3 of the exact type! Mine r 1 3/4 times bigger than the “large” store bought eggs though.

  22. Wow I have been raising chickens and building chicken coops for years and have never seen that. That would be my guess is the oyster shell or they need a heavier layer diet.

  23. My chickens are a year old, today I got a shell-less egg.(its not dented but full). Had never heard of such! I feed them crushed eggshells, calcium, (cottage chesse and milk from time to tme-only have 7 so they are spoiled!) It was a weird experience tho, saw the egg, reached to get it and it was soft-yuck, thought I got my hand on something else, checked again, same thing, finally scooped it up with a cup I had with me. It can be picked up by hand(now that I know it IS an egg!)

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