Abnormal chicken eggs: If you own chickens, it’s just a matter of time before you get one that makes you scratch your head and wonder “What the heck?”

Don’t worry. Usually, abnormal eggs just happen, and although they can mean your chicken is sick or stressed, they aren’t necessarily something to be concerned about. 

(New to chicken keeping? Grab my bestselling book Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock for less than the price of takeout here!)

Your chicken is a live animal, and sometimes, just like humans, things go awry without explanation.

There’s a few abnormal eggs you’ll likely run into regularly, while others are uncommon (although clearly not unheard of). 

If you’d rather learn about abnormal chicken eggs by listening, you can download my podcast about it here:

It’s important not to get too concerned about abnormal chicken eggs – while they can indicate a problem, your best bet is to watch your flock for signs of stress or illness, and remember that sometimes abnormal chicken eggs just happen.

With a couple of exceptions, abnormal chicken eggs are still okay to eat (and I tell you which ones aren’t!).


Here’s common abnormal eggs your chicken might lay, and what they mean.

1. Soft Shell/No Shell Eggs

It can be unnerving (and kind of cool) the first time you see chicken eggs without their shell. The eggs can be missing the whole shell or just part of it, but the membrane is still intact.


Adding the shell is one of the last steps a chicken takes to produce eggs, and sometimes, for a variety of reasons, that step is skipped.

In pullets, soft shell eggs sometimes happen with her first egg – the pullet’s system just hasn’t kick started correctly, but it will soon catch up.

Sometimes the cause is insufficient calcium, which can happen with a chicken who’s been eating a grower ration that’s lower in calcium than a layer feed. 

In established layers, there’s a few reasons for abnormal soft shell eggs, including insufficient calcium or protein absorbed, inflammation of the oviduct, or heat stress. Hens also coming back into laying can lay abnormal soft shell eggs.

Another reason is if the previous egg stayed too long in your chicken’s shell gland, causing the soft shell egg to be laid too soon.  

Can you eat it?

If the soft shell chicken eggs remain unbroken until I find them, I usually feed them to the pigs or throw them on the compost pile.

Although they might be okay, I’m personally not comfortable eating them because I don’t know what kind of nasties have passed through the membrane.

2. Lash Eggs

Among the most disturbing of abnormal chicken eggs to see is a lash egg.

Lash eggs aren’t actually eggs, but rather the result of an infection called Salpingitis – an infection and inflammation of the oviduct. Lash eggs are generally shaped like eggs, since they still travel through the oviduct.

Lash eggs are the accumulation of pus, egg material, and possibly tissue laid by the hen. It can be soft or hard, and is comprised of layers of the shed material. 

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken
Photo courtesy of Timber Creek Farm

While some chicken keepers ring the death knell if they have a chicken that lays abnormal eggs like lash eggs, the bottom line is it’s an infection – consult your vet to see if it can be treated. 

Can you eat it?

You’d be crazy to eat a lash egg.


3. Incomplete pigmentation

“I forgot to change the toner cartridge” is a common joke when a chicken owner comes across an egg that’s not uniformly colored.


Eggs not uniformly colored are normal eggs that just have a funny pigmentation that day – it’s a minor flaw.

Abnormal chicken eggs like this is are usually caused by some sort of stress, such as heat stress. The hen is working overtime to keep her body cool – which means she has less energy to put into making eggs.

Poor nutrition or a viral infection are other potential causes.

Can you eat it?

I’ve never had an issue eating chicken eggs with incomplete pigmentation.

4. Bumps on eggs

Bumps on your chicken eggs are calcium deposits – they can range from minor to large deposits, and they’re generally white.

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken

The most common cause is excess calcium in your hen’s diet – check to see if she’s somehow getting too much calcium.

Other causes are defective shell glands or stress during the calcification process.

Can you eat it?

I’ve eaten these eggs without any issues.


5. Very Small Eggs

Lovingly referred to as fart eggs, rooster eggs or fairy eggs, very small eggs typically are missing the yolk. They’re cute to find, but don’t yield very much in the way of food.

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken

Young pullets might produce fairy eggs when they first start laying – their reproductive system is just trying to catch up.

I’ve also had hens lay fairy eggs when under stress, notably with one hen that had been savaged by a rooster.

Her reproductive cycle might have been disturbed by the stress, or her body might not have been able to produce a real egg because it was putting its energy into healing her body.

Fairy eggs can also be laid when a foreign mass (such as a piece of tissue) triggers the hen’s system to produce an egg.

Can you eat it?

I’ve never had a problem eating fairy eggs.

6. Double Yolkers

Double yolkers are always exciting abnormal chicken eggs to find – they will have two yolks in one egg.

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken

Double yolks happen when the hen releases two eggs into the oviduct, and both of those eggs are included in shell. 

Double yolk eggs generally are larger which can be a cause for concern if it’s too large for your hen to pass – causing her to become egg bound or suffer a vent prolapse. 

Although they put stress on a hen’s body, double yolks are becoming so desirable that industrial farmers have bred hens that will only produce double yolked eggs in Europe.

Generally speaking, there’s nothing wrong with a chicken that lays double yolked eggs – it’s just abnormal.

You can incubate it, and there are stories of twin chicks successfully hatching, although it’s rare.

Can you eat it?

People eat double yolked eggs daily.


7. White banded eggs

White banded eggs occur when two eggs enter the oviduct, thereby making contact with each other in the shell gland pouch.

When the hen is forming the shell of the first egg, the normal calcification process is interrupted, so it gets an extra layer of calcium – which is the white band marking. 

Causes for abnormal chicken eggs such as white banded eggs can be something simple, such as flock stress or something more serious such as an infection. 

Like always, your best bet is to watch your flock for abnormal behavior.

Can you eat it?

I’ve never had a problem eating white banded eggs.

8. Egg inside an egg

The fancy name for an egg inside an egg is counter-peristalsis contraction, but in every day terms, they’re eggs that somehow found themselves inside another egg.

It’s not common, but it does happen. 

It occurs when a hen releases a second egg into the oviduct before the first egg has completed the laying process. This causes the first egg to reverse in the oviduct, which is then added to the second egg.

The two then have a second albumen and shell form encasing both eggs.

You can see an egg inside an egg here:

Can you eat it?

Although I’ve not personally dealt with eggs inside eggs, I’ve read reports that they’re perfectly fine to eat. 

9. Speckled Eggs

Speckled eggs are pretty normal, as far as abnormal chicken eggs go. They look pretty, and it’s wonderful how unique eggs can be.

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken

The speckles are actually extra calcium deposits, and are formed when the calcification process is disturbed or there’s a defective shell gland.

They can also be caused by an excess of calcium.

Although technically abnormal eggs, National Geographic studied eggs, and found that speckled eggs might be a way to make shells stronger – so your chicken might be on to something.

Can you eat it?

I’ve never had a problem eating a speckled egg – they just look abnormal.


10. Odd shaped eggs

Odd shaped eggs are pretty self explanatory – they’re abnormal chicken eggs that aren’t uniformly shaped all the way around.

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken
Photo courtesy of Timber Creek Farm

They might have an abnormal look, like a bulge on one side, or a very pointy end, or just look lumpy.

Odd shaped eggs can occur if there’s some sort of abnormal disturbance in the egg forming process, or if your chicken experiences some sort of stress such as over crowding. Age also makes a difference – it can occur in very old or very young hens.

In rare cases, respiratory diseases can cause abnormal eggsI had a reader tell me her hen always lays odd shaped eggs  – in this case, I would venture to say that since the hen lays consistently, it’s likely a structural issue internally.

Can you eat it?

I’ve not personally had any issues eating abnormal shaped chicken eggs.

While this list of isn’t comprehensive, I’ve touched on the 10 most common occurrences of abnormal chicken eggs. Hopefully you find it useful! 

Got funky eggs? Abnormal chicken eggs happen to all of us - it's just a matter of time. Here's 10 weird eggs and everything you need to know. From FrugalChicken
Got weird looking, wrinkled, or abnormal backyard chicken eggs? Here's what your hens are trying to tell you!

I’d like to hear from you!

Have you ever gotten an abnormal chicken egg? What did it look like? Email me at editor@thefrugalchicken.com or comment below!

Other posts you might like:

10 Chicken Questions Answered!

Organic Homemade Chicken Feed Recipe

What To Feed Your Chicken For Great Tasting Eggs!


Maat van Uitert is a backyard chicken and sustainable living expert. She is also the author of Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock, which was a best seller in it’s Amazon category.  Maat has been featured on NBC, CBS, AOL Finance, Community Chickens, the Huffington Post, Chickens magazine, Backyard Poultry, and Countryside Magazine. She lives on her farm in Southeast Missouri with her husband, two children, and about a million chickens and ducks. You can follow Maat on Facebook here and Instagram here.

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  1. I love the article! The first egg ever produced by one of our chickens was a double-yolker. I found a tiny egg about 1″ circumference a couple weeks ago. Nothing too abnormal yet but I always think it’s interesting when there’s something different in the nests.

    1. It’s funny how things go with them sometimes. Sounds like you got a fairy egg. Was there a yolk?

    1. I have some like that. Usually I want to keep weird looking ones, I have one that’s perfectly round.

  2. I had an egg inside an egg this summer! Being raised on a farm and still living on a farm i had never encountered this!

  3. We’ve had fairy eggs (usually when it gets super hot). She laid them like it was normal. Funny pill shaped ones.
    I’ve also had an egg that never closed up. The membrane was sticking out of one end like it was a balloon that had been papier-mâchéd. It’s been years, but I’m pretty sure that we cracked it and it was normal but we didn’t eat it. Too weird.

  4. I had a chicken lay a lash egg. I looked through all my books and on the Internet to find out what it was. To no avail.. Your picture was awesome. I finally know what it is. A year later. The chicken has since passed. She never laid an egg after the lash egg. And appear d healthy until one day she just looked like the couldn’t swallow and died in two days. Made no noises. Did not walk. It was horrible. We have pet hens, so I still find myself looking for Star. Thank you for your post, I’m a novice, and it is very helpful.

    1. You’re welcome, I’m glad you found it helpful. I’m sorry to hear about your hen, it’s tough when they die.

  5. I have a hen that laid a double yolk egg, didn’t lay the next day, then laid a double yolker, this has gone on 10 days. Every other day she lays a double yolk egg. She is a new layer. Should I be concerned?

    1. I wouldn’t personally be concerned about that, but if you are, or if it appears to hurt her in any way or if she seems sick, then I would definitely take her to the vet.

  6. One kind not mentioned I get on occasion is a wrinkled shell egg…which I don’t worry about. It’s one specific hen and it doesn’t happen very often.

    1. That’s a good one! I’m working on a follow up with more odd eggs, I’ll be sure to include it.

      1. Maat, did you ever write your second article? I got one last week that had a rather large smiley face on the rounded end. You can see it on my blog this week. I still haven’t been able to figure out the exact cause of such an anomaly. If you know I would sure like to hear from you! Thanks!

  7. I have a hen that always lays a spotted egg. It is a pretty brown with dark brown spots..

  8. The ones I have gotten without a hard shell bounce. Yup, we got them to bounce on the counter, and we laughed and laughed…..

  9. I have 4 hens that are fairly new to me (about 2 months). They aren’t consistent layers, I usually get 2-3 eggs a day. I am afraid that there might be an issue but they seem healthy and happy. They don’t exactly like it when I try to pick them up so I don’t usually. The other day I went out and it looked like one of the girls laid an egg but it was just the inside. I didnt see a membrane or anything and I can’t be sure that it was just the inside of the egg because our bedding is sand and it absorbed some of the egg. Do chickens lay eggs without a membrane or a shell? How have you found the best way to determine which chickens are laying which eggs? I only have 4 like I said but I only definitely know one chickens egg.

    1. Hi Sarah, for 4 hens, 2-3 eggs each day is a good average. It takes them 26 hours to lay an egg, so they’re going to not necessarily lay an egg every day. The particular egg you saw is a shell-less egg. It’s not uncommon, and if it happens a lot with your hens, it’s likely a calcium issue. Do you give them a calcium supplement like oyster shells? If it just happens one time, I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but if it’s a consistent issue, then your flock probably needs more calcium. Just offering them oyster shells or toasted egg shells free choice will solve the issue. We have a lot of layers and I can’t tell who lays what egg anymore, especially if the hen is a brown egg layer (I know which ones lay the green eggs and dark brown eggs, but even then, I couldn’t tell you which particular hen laid which dark brown egg, just that it’s only one of 3 possible hens). Among my production reds, I can’t tell at all because their eggs are all uniform. Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you very much for your help. I do have oyster shells and crushed egg shells for them. Hopefully it was just a fluke.

        1. I have four healthy girls who I have always considered good layers. They lay three eggs a day. About once or twice a week, I only get two eggs.

  10. Hello. My Easteregger lays eggs that have a pile of calcium drips on the narrow end that seem to create a weakness/hole into the egg shell. We throw out more of her eggs that we keep. The hens enjoy free access to oyster shell and feed. Any thoughts? I have no idea how old she is. We’ve had her for 2 seasons and she was laying when we got her.

  11. My ladies consistently lay speckled eggs. My buff orpington lays larger beige colored eggs with dark speckles and my dominicker (did I spell that right?) lays darker kind of pinkish colored eggs with light speckles and hers are always slightly pointed at the top like she tried to pinch them off at the end lol. They’re also new to me. They’re both about a year old and have been laying for their previous owner. It took my buff about 2 or 3 days to start laying after they got here and my other girl took nearly a week to start laying. The eggs seem quite normal so I just figured all was fine. I didn’t realize the speckles could be considered a bad thing. I thought it was normal in pretty much all farm eggs.

    1. Hi Amber – The speckles aren’t a bad thing, they’re just something that don’t happen on every egg. In fact, I get speckles on some of my eggs, and I think that it makes the egg more beautiful. This article is meant to point out the different eggs someone might see, and to know whether it’s something to be concerned about or not. For example, lash eggs are something to be concerned about. The occasional egg that was broken then recalcified isn’t something I personally would get too concerned about.

  12. I have double and triple yolks, egg inside an egg that might be a double or triple yolk, having 16,000 lay
    ers at a time , I think I have seen it all. lol

    1. Hi, that’s probably a calcium issue. Are you feeding them something like oyster shells or toasted egg shells?

  13. What about eggs where the yolk has burst inside the shell? Not from rough handling or anything. These eggs were from a coworker’s backyard flock and there were several in the dozen.

      1. I had three eggs this morning that the yolk was broken inside the shell, i get them from a local farmer. I had opened 15 eggs and 3 were like this. Any ideas other than old eggs?

  14. Thank you so much for your helpful posts. I opened an egg this morning and was horrified when this little jewel popped out of the egg. Based on your photos & comments, I ‘think’ what came out of the egg was a lash egg (????). In all my years, I’ve never seen anything like this before. Some of the albumen of the eggs was also stained red. Maybe it was blood? The abnormal looking foreign body appeared hard to the touch but most definitely appeared to be organic in nature. I took a photo of the object and threw out the remainder of the egg. I would have liked to post a photo for you to examine and tell me what this is but, could not find any place to send a photo link to. I tried to drag and click but, that didn’t work. I’ll send you the photo in an email using the address you supplied above. Thanks for all your help. I may never trust a factory egg ever again! ugh!

  15. Hi! So glad to have found your site! I have 7 hens (5 are a little over a year old and 2 were born in January of this year). All is going fairly well…a bit of ‘pecking order’ stuff but overall they are getting along. My question is re. my 1 year old Black Australorpe. She started laying on schedule with the others and laid fairly frequently last summer. She had a couple of ‘fairy eggs’ but laid nice large brown eggs regularly. She has not started laying again this year…had one soft shelled egg that I am pretty sure came from her. She appears to be healthy, eats well and goes in the nesting box but has not laid. The other girls started back laying in February. Is there anything I can do or is she just not going to lay? Thanks!

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