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What are fairy eggs?

Eggs come in all shapes and sizes from large double yolkers through to medium and small, right down to teeny tiny eggs. 

But what are fairy eggs and why do hens lay them? Good question! 

First off, it’s important to know there is no such thing as a standard egg. If you have never seen a fairy egg (sometimes called wind eggs) you may be wondering what on earth has gone wrong, but fear not. They are very common and can occur for a number of reasons, none of which should be cause for alarm. 

fairy egg or wind egg in the palm of someone's hand next to a normal-sized egg

What is a fairy egg?

Fairy eggs are essentially very small eggs which most often are laid without a yolk. While young hens, known as pullets, typically lay small eggs, fairy eggs are usually laid by an adult hen who otherwise produces very normal sized eggs. 

The hen will start to form an egg before the oviduct has released a yolk meaning that only egg white is encased in the shell. The resulting egg is perfectly safe to eat but it will not have a yolk and therefore lacks the nutritional goodness of a complete hen’s egg.  

Sometimes fairy eggs can be laid with a small yolk inside, it is rare, and the ‘yolk’ will look more like a kind of orange smear floating inside the white. 

As mentioned, fairy eggs are not a cause for concern and subsequent eggs should be a normal size for that specific hen. However, if fairy eggs are becoming the norm for one of your hens there could be something a little awry.  

What causes fairy eggs?

As mentioned, small eggs are typically laid by young hens coming into lay for the first time, but they can also be laid by hens that are coming back into lay after a moult. 

Fairy eggs can be also be produced by a hen at the end of her laying cycle, but there is the possibility of a calcium deficiency or stress to blame. 

Fairy eggs at the end of a laying cycle

The hens rehomed by the BHWT have reached 18 months old at which point their egg laying may slow down as they come into a moult, hence them being rehomed by the farmer. 

At this point hens need to preserve their energy and nutrients for growing new feathers instead of making eggs, hence the slow down in production. 

When they begin laying again their eggs can take a short while to go back to ‘normal’ and this is when fairy eggs can occur. After a few weeks they should be back in the swing of things. 

Fairy eggs due to calcium deficiency

Lack of calcium in a hen’s diet can result in funny eggs, such as those laid without a shell or with a very thin shell. 

As we’ve mentioned, fairy eggs are much smaller than usual and lack a yolk, which a calcium deficiency could contribute to. 

On the whole, if all your flock are generally well and laying good eggs, calcium deficiency is likely not an issue. However, if ‘funny eggs’ become more the norm it’s well worth looking at their diet to see if this could fix things.

Of course, the hens we rehome are intended to be pets rather than kept for egg production – they’ve already done enough of that in their first 18 months of life. 

Fairy eggs caused by stress

Stress can do all sorts of funny things to us as humans, and are hens aren’t immune either. Anything from an exceptionally loud plane overhead, fireworks and extreme weather can cause stress in a flock of hens. 

This can in turn lead to a hault in egg production and, when things start up again, fairy eggs may be seen in the nest box. Again, a one off isn’t an issue, but keep an eye on things if they become more regular. 

For concerns regarding fairy eggs or any other issue with your flock, please call our Hen Helpline on 01884 860084. 

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