Why do Chickens Lay Very Small Eggs?
One of the reasons we keep chickens is to get a steady flow of tasty eggs. It is frustrating to see some of your chickens laying tiny eggs, especially if you have a chicken breed that should be laying extra-large or jumbo eggs.
Chickens lay small eggs for many reasons, most of which are within and beyond your control.
7 Reasons Chickens Lay Small Eggs
Chickens lay small eggs because of different reasons. Check these seven reasons why your chickens could be laying small eggs.
– Very Young Hen
Age is one of the factors that make chickens lay small eggs. When a young hen starts laying, she will produce smaller eggs, usually called pullet eggs. It shouldn’t bother you to see some of your pullets laying very tiny eggs.
Most chicken breeds start laying when they are about six months old. Some terrific laying breeds such as Golden Comets, Sex Links, Australorp, and Golden Comets start laying between 16 and 18 weeks old.
However, young hens from these breeds will lay tiny eggs when they first start laying. Young hens will, however, lay standard eggs a month after laying their first eggs. Their reproductive tracts will be fully mature, and they won’t have challenges passing out eggs. In the future, they won’t be laying tiny eggs.
– Nutritional Deficiency
Nutrition plays a vital role in chicken eggs’ quality, taste, and size. Good nutrition translates into healthier and happier chickens. Nutritional deficiency, however, can significantly affect the egg size as it affects egg quality.
For instance, chickens with a protein deficiency are likely to experience poor egg production. Furthermore, such chickens are likely to lay tiny eggs since protein affects the eggshell size and quality.
Chickens with calcium deficiency also lay soft eggs or eggs with very soft shells. These chickens also lay tiny eggs due to the absence of calcium in their diet. Besides protein and calcium deficiency, chickens that lack minerals tend to lay small eggs.
Hens need various fruits and vegetables to get essential minerals, nutrients, and vitamins to complete their diet.
A lack of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals in the hens’ diet can affect both egg production and egg quality, increasing the odds of your hens laying tiny eggs. Certain laying issues result from dietary-specific problems. For instance, diet can lead to issues such as soft eggs.
Therefore, provide your hens with a wide range of nutrition to ensure they lay large eggs. The better the diet, the larger the eggs you will get from your hens.
If you think your hens are laying tiny eggs due to protein deficiency, consider adding various protein-rich foods to their diet. For instance, fishmeal, mealworms, and sunflower seeds are good protein sources to help your hens lay bigger and better-tasting eggs.
To give your hens a calcium boost to help them lay bigger and high-quality eggs, add some oyster shells and crushed eggshells to their diet. Moreover, add leafy greens to their diet to give your birds essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, which will boost their egg production and help them lay large eggs.
– High Stress
Chickens are vulnerable to stress and various environmental factors that affect their lives. High stress and environmental conditions have an impact on egg quality. Moreover, high stress can also affect the size of the eggs your hens lay.
Hens are happy when they are free-ranging and have space to forage and explore. Nonetheless, it isn’t always possible to keep free-range hens if you live in an urban setting since you won’t have ample space in your backyard.
In this case, your chickens may suffer from high stress, which affects their egg production. Even if you reside in a city and have a couple of egg-laying hens in your flock, keeping your birds in a coop with ample space is crucial.
Overcrowding will only stress your birds further, prompting the hens to produce tiny eggs or cease laying altogether.
Predators stress chickens, making these birds too afraid to lay. Even when they lay, hens will lay small eggs due to exposure to predators. Watch out for predators that could be disturbing your hens, making them stop laying or lay tiny eggs.
If you suspect some predators could be preying on your hens, keeping the birds in the coop where they are safe from potential predators is prudent.
Don’t let the hens roam freely where there are potential predators because these predators won’t only harm them but will also stress the hens, ultimately slowing down their egg production and ruining the quality of their eggs over time.
Apart from threats from predators, bullying can also stress your hens. Hens will be stressful if they are subject to endless coop fights. Constant fighting and pecking will stress your birds, which will affect egg production in return.
Your hens won’t be happy if other chickens are bullying them. Roosters are particularly notorious for disturbing hens.
Therefore, separate roosters from the hens since they will only stress the hens further, making them unable to lay efficiently. Also, isolate the bullying chickens from the egg-laying hens to solve coop fights.
The genetics of a hen determines the size of the eggs the hen can produce. For instance, some chicken breeds lay extra-large or jumbo eggs. Some chicken breeds that lay large eggs include Leghorns, Golden Comets, and Lohmann Browns.
Some breeds, however, lay small-sized eggs. Bantam chickens, for instance, lay very tiny eggs compared to other chickens.
You can’t expect your Bantam hens to lay large eggs since they are way smaller than the average chickens. Smaller chickens will always produce small eggs, not because they have stress, poor nutrition, or high stress, but because their reproductive tracts are too small to pass out large or medium-sized eggs.
Check the genetics before concluding that your hen is laying tiny eggs for other reasons. It could be that it belongs to a breed that lays small eggs.
Small-sized chickens will also produce very tiny eggs, almost the size of birds’ eggs when they start laying. Notwithstanding the diet you give to such chickens, they won’t be able to lay large eggs.
Diseases also affect egg production in chickens. Sick chickens can’t lay efficiently, and they will lay tiny eggs or soft eggs. Poultry diseases such as Avian cholera affect a hen’s reproductive system and affect the bird’s overall health.
Bacterial infections such as colibacillosis also cause a significant reduction in egg production. Such a disease causes inflammation of a hen’s reproductive tract, ultimately stopping the hen from laying accordingly.
Due to this inflammation, a hen will only be able to pass out tiny eggs. Furthermore, the hen will experience plenty of pain and discomfort while laying.
Salmonella infection also affects egg production, egg size, and egg quality. This disease leads to ovarian follicles, which causes a chronic infection to occur in a hen’s reproductive tract. In this case, a hen’s reproductive system ceases to function normally, and therefore the hen is unable to lay.
Even for the hens that can lay following a salmonella infection, the size of their eggs is remarkably smaller than the average chicken eggs.
– Lack of Light
Light is essential for egg-laying hens. It stimulates the hen’s reproductive system to release a yolk from its ovary. Lack of light will therefore hinder your chickens from laying normally.
Furthermore, the absence of light also makes chickens lay small eggs since they lack enough light for their bodies to trigger their reproductive systems to lay large eggs. If you are keeping egg-laying hens, it is always prudent to ensure they have exposure to enough light.
Keeping your hens in a dark coop will prevent them from laying eggs. Furthermore, your chickens will only be able to produce tiny eggs. Light is thus particularly beneficial for hens since it is a factor that directly affects egg production.
Consider lighting up the coop, especially during the dark winter days. As you might have noticed, your hens will lay less frequently during such days due to a lack of enough light. Have a couple of light bulbs to keep the coop well lit.
Alternatively, you can open the coop’s windows to let in light and enable your hens to get enough light to sustain their egg production.
Like light affects egg size and egg production, temperature affects egg production in egg-laying hens. Furthermore, incorrect temperatures can make your hens lay very tiny eggs or stop laying. Extremes of cold or hot temperatures can make your hens cease laying.
High temperatures affect egg production more than cold temperatures. High temperatures also cause heat stress in chickens, which is another factor that makes chickens lay small eggs. The best temperature for egg-laying hens should be around 11 to 25 degrees Celsius.
Egg production and egg size, and egg quality will diminish significantly if temperatures go below 26 degrees Celsius.
Several possible reasons explain why your hens might be laying small eggs. Some of these reasons aren’t something to worry about. Furthermore, some of the reasons your hens are laying small eggs are beyond your control.
For instance, your Bantam chickens will keep on laying tiny eggs. Fortunately, some reasons are perfectly within your control. Look at some possible reasons why your hen could be laying small eggs, and then strive to find a solution.