The 'Weird Eggs' Reddit Is Here To Answer All Your Egg Defect Questions

If you've ever had the displeasure of cracking an egg and noticing something peculiar, rest assured you're not alone. A quick perusal of the Weird Eggs subreddit shows that people are endlessly fascinated by egg abnormalities, so much so that they've congregated on the internet to find answers. User posts showcase a cavalcade of abnormalities, some mild, some unappealing, and some downright disturbing. One recent post asks for assistance identifying a boiled egg filled with "liquid pus", complete with a picture featuring the offending egg. Spoiler alert, the poster discarded the egg without sampling it to preserve their health and sanity.

Australian Eggs describes the detailed process for the formation and laying of eggs, which takes place every 24 to 26 hours. It begins with the ova, also known as the yolk. At about 16 weeks of age, the hen will begin releasing yolks one at a time, which travel to the oviduct. As the ova travels through the oviduct, the egg white and shell begin building around it. At the end of the cycle, the eggshell develops color, as well as a cuticle to prevent bacterial infiltration. When chickens are healthy and provided with nutritious feed, their eggs will usually appear normal. If there are problems with illness or nutrition, you may get a defective egg.

Common causes of egg abnormalities

Choosing the right chicken feed for laying hens is a major factor in egg quality. According to Poultry Extension, a good layer feed will contain a calcium concentration of 2.5% to 3.5% to ensure the strength of eggshells. Protein is another essential ingredient, and it's recommended that feed for laying hens contains at least 14% protein for robust egg production. Hens may also require supplements to boost shell thickness to protect the yolk inside, which can be achieved by mixing oyster shells into their feed.

To mangle a phrase, man makes breakfast plans while egg-laying chickens laugh. While nutritional deficiencies are a common cause of odd eggs, abnormalities also occur spontaneously and without cause. Hobby Farms has compiled a list of unusual eggs, as well as possible reasons for their strange outcomes. Double yolks are a happy accident that usually affects hens at the beginning of their egg-laying journey. In this case, two yolks end up in the oviduct at the same time and are joined together in one shell. Conversely, a yolkless egg results from a piece of tissue being mistaken for an ova while inside the oviduct. You may even come across one egg inside another, which happens when an almost-formed egg goes backward into the oviduct to receive more egg white and shell before being laid. Of course, these abnormalities are nothing compared to lash eggs.

Searching for the weirdest egg of them all

According to the British Hen Welfare Trust, lash eggs are not actually eggs at all. Instead, they're globs of a yellowish substance that have a texture similar to sausage. Hens usually lay these 'eggs' when suffering from a viral or bacterial infection. When the oviduct becomes inflamed by the infection, the hen attempts to fight it by creating a substance that consists of all the parts of an egg, as well as additional tissues.

Known as salpingitis, infections of a hen's reproductive tract can have serious consequences for the animal (per Merck Veterinary Manual). This is especially true when the hen presents with symptoms like weight loss and swelling around the abdomen. Salpingitis is often caused by fluctuating hormones and may signal an end to a hen's egg-laying career. For example, it may be necessary to administer hormone therapy to the chicken to stop the yolk-producing cycle. Not only does this treatment save the life of the hen, but it also prevents others from stumbling upon the monstrosity that is a lash egg.