Raising chickens can be a rewarding and sometimes magical adventure. There is nothing like getting your first egg! When a hen first starts laying her eggs tend to be on the smaller side as her hormones and body figure out the whole egg laying process. But once a hen gets in her groove, your nest box will be blessed with lovely eggs for some time.
But not all eggs are created equal, oh no. As time passes, you may see a variety of oddities in your nest box due to one reason or another. Egg shells can have color issues or just not come out perfectly smooth. These are normal and nothing to worry about. Rubber eggs, without shells, can be a shocker the first time you see one. And then there are those magical moments when you look into your nest box and see the tiniest egg ever!
These ity bity eggs are referred to as fairy eggs. There are also commonly called wind, dwarf, witch, cock, and my personal favorite, fart eggs. Wind eggs take on a brooder group of egg oddities, so I prefer to call these tiny eggs, fairy eggs. It’s a lot more magical then yelling “Hey kids, Ester just laid a fart egg.” And seeing how I have boys, the laughter would be loud and long and they would talk about nothing else but fart eggs for days! Cause they’re boys, and anything with fart in it is funny.
While collecting eggs the other day, Ester, our Ameraucana, did indeed leave me a fairy egg. Her tiny greenish blue egg is adorable compared with its brown standard counter parts. This tiny little egg had nothing to do with her nutritional intake. This fairy egg is more likely the result of hormonal issue. Ester is getting up there in chicken years, at over five, and her egg laying days are coming to an end.
In adult hens, fairy eggs are unlikely. In an elderly hen (or as Ester prefers to be referred to as “advanced egg laying years”) fairy eggs can appear from time to time. Sometimes a bit of reproductive tissue breaks away and the hen’s reproductive gland is stimulated just like when a yolk is released. The hen’s body treats the tissue like a yolk, wrapping it in an albumen, membrane, and shell as it travels down the reproductive tract.
As you can see in the fairy egg on the left, there is NO yolk in the shell. The egg on the right is a normal egg, with yolk, for comparison.
In the middle ages, these fairy eggs were referred to as cock eggs. Since the egg contains no yolk it would not hatch, so some folks thought it must be laid by a rooster. A rooster is also referred to as a cock. In folk tradition, these eggs were thought to have malevolent and magical powers. The superstition was that if allowed to hatch, it would produce a cockatrice (fearsome serpent) that would kill with its evil stare. To stop this from happening, you had to throw the egg over your house to destroy it, without hitting your roof.
Folk traditions are fun, but I am not flinging Ester’s egg over our two story house. My arm isn’t that good and I prefer to look at her egg like the folks in the Victorian era did, as a fairy egg, magical and delightful. I will wash the egg to remove the bloom, so that it can dry out naturally and be displayed for every one to marvel at.