Monday, March 19, 2012

Once in the blue moon...

posted by Andres

So, here on Wagner Farm we have a flock of Columbian Wyandotte chickens (for more info refer to Todd’s blog about the “new chickens at Wagner”). Now that the days are getting longer, the chickens are starting to lay more eggs. With that comes variation in the eggs, we are talking color, size, shape, everything. The really different ones I usually show to the staff, which normally warrants an “it’s sooo cute” from Lindsay. Farmer Jeff however, usually comes up with “just wait until you get one with no shell”. Now, its not that I didn’t believe him, but the only shell less egg I’ve seen is one that Patrick the intern soaked in Coca Cola. Then today, it happened. I walk into the coop this morning to feed and right there, on the ground (not in a nesting box) was an egg that looked like a flat tire. The rare shell less egg. I picked it up and started playing with it, and it was completely different from the one that was soaked, that one felt more rubbery, this one was deflated. I thought it was pretty cool none the less.
But wait, there is more. I looked on the inter web asking why this happens and found that there are a few different reasons this could happen. In older birds it is common in hybrid species that are placed in high production situations when they are coming out of laying season. In younger birds, if an egg stays in the shell gland too long, that egg gets over calcified (harder shell) and the next one gets under calcified. Both of these eggs are usually layed within the same 24 hour period. The final reason I saw had to do with a combination of hot days and low food intake. Even though today was pretty warm on the farm, I’m going to venture guess that reason number 2 is why I got to see this not so rare, but not so common shell less egg.