Eggless Chicken Born?!?!

Saw this story forwarded from the Daily Mirror in Sri Lanka…it is amazing!!

The Miracle Chick

In a zoological anomaly, a hen in Sri Lanka has given birth to a chick without an egg.

Instead of passing out of the hen’s body and being incubated outside, the egg was incubated in the hen for 21 days and then hatched inside the hen. The chick is fully formed and healthy, although the mother has died.

PR Yapa, the chief veterinary officer of Welimada, where it took place, said he had never seen anything like it before. When examining the hen’s carcass he found that the fertilised egg had developed within the hen’s reproductive system, but stayed inside the hen’s body until it hatched.

A post-mortem of the hen concluded that it died of internal wounds.

I have seen a lot of funky looking eggs, but have never even heard of a chick being born outside of an egg.  Eggs come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colours naturally. 

Quite a range of normal colours and sizes.

Once you work in the abnormal eggs, the range is extensive.   I was in a barn today where many of the brown eggs had “targets” on them….perfectly round white rings around a dark circle on the side of the egg.  I didn’t have a camera with me though….figures.

I’ve seen double-yolked eggs, triple-yolked eggs, shell-less eggs, round eggs, double-shelled eggs, and yolk-less eggs. 

Hen Reproductive tract

The double- and triple-yolked eggs are simply the avian version of twins and triplets, and are not that remarkable.  Double shelled eggs are odd (and rare), since the egg has to form in the shell gland, then be moved back up the reproductive tract to the magnum, where new membranes are added, then new shell is deposited as the egg re-descends through the shell gland.

These abnormal eggs are interesting, but should cause no concern to a flock owner.  There are eggs that are

Soft shelled, wrinkled and shiny eggs

symptoms of problems, and recognizing them will help you diagnose problems with your flock early enough to treat them effectively.  Soft shelled eggs and slab-sided eggs are symptoms of calcium deficiency in a hen.  Pimpled eggs can also be a sign of low calcium, if the shell is thin (pimpled eggs can be of 2

Slab Sided egg

types…1) the shell is normal thickness, with extra calcium causing raised nodules on the surface, or 2) thin shells with small areas of normal-thickness shells, that then seem to be raised areas).

 Slab sided eggs occur when an egg is held inside the bird for a day, and the next day’s egg comes down the tract, and lies against the formed egg that is in the way.  The new egg is a soft-shelled egg and deformable….it sits against the old egg as the shell is deposited on it….thus the flat side on the egg, and the round area of wrinkles around the flat side.  If you see these types of eggs in your nests, you should immediately assess the amount of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D that is available to the hens, since hypocalcemia can result in weakness, sickness and death in a hen.

Another egg that should alert you to possible problems is a wrinkled egg.  It is usually a sign of an infection of some type.  Viral infections such as infectious bronchitis, egg drop syndrome and avian influenza can cause these types of eggs, but so can other illnesses that cause the hen to be fevered and dehydrated.  Imagine a yolk that gets covered by membranes in the magnum, but does not get its share of protein and water added to it while travelling through the

I've seen this only twice, but it does happen.

infundibulum….a partly full bag of water will result.  Once the calcium is added, the egg will stay wrinkled until it is laid.  A wrinkled egg is almost always a sign of illness.  Check that your hen is not wounded (wound infections can cause wrinkled eggs too), or showing any signs of illness.  Look carefully, because hens are often very stoic. 

It is, of course, important to know what is normal for your breed and type of hen.  Some hens lay dark eggs consistently, and light eggs may be a sign of problems….however some hens lay light brown eggs all the time.  A change is usually worth looking into….often subtle changes in egg color or texture can be the earliest sign you will get that your hens are missing something in their diet, or are facing a health problem.

If you find this egg in your coop....look for an escaped emu in the area!

 Mike the Chicken Vet

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15 responses to “Eggless Chicken Born?!?!

  1. Great post as usual, Dr. Mike! Too bad about the mama hen in Sri Lanka. 😦

  2. This is very interesting! you learn something new each day!

    Keep well Mike,

    AP

  3. Another great, informative post, Dr. Mike.
    Speaking of strange eggs, we have a buff Brahma who almost always lays small eggs (today, it was the size of peanut). They are often yolk-less, and sometimes nearly round like quail eggs. She doesn’t lay everyday, but a few times a week and almost never a “normal” egg. Not sure what her issue is…?

  4. Nice Post. Very interesting that the chick has no abnormalities. Thanks.

  5. Matthew Patel

    Hi Mike,

    Hope you are well,

    We bought a new chicken at a Buy/Sell/Trade auction and she died today. Andrew was home alone with her (he got the day off school), and when he checked the chickens he saw that “Honey” was down and could not get up. We think it was Marek’s disease because she had stiff legs and wings and had little control of her neck. She would arch her head and wings back, and looked in pain. He head/neck was not in the right spot compared to her body, and was “off”. Both the parents were out and we offered her some water and she would drink but could not keep it down. We think that she did not get the vaccine.

    When we got her, we had her by herself for 3 days, and then put her with the rest of the flock. She did not look sick, however she would stay by herself, and would stick her head in the ground. She always had access to food and water, and we would make sure that she would get inside safe at night.

    We are getting a new coop tomorrow night. We hear that Marek’s disease is highly contagious and are wondering what we should do for our other four chickens? What is going to happen to them? Are they going to get it too? I have read that farms have to kill the birds. I have sent an email to the farm, where we got them, to see if they have been vaccinated.

    Thanks. Once again you are a important source of information and continue to impress us with your knowledge and passion for your job.

    Please, please help us.

    Matthew

  6. Hi Mike,

    Hope you are well,

    We bought a new chicken at a Buy/Sell/Trade auction and she died today. I was home alone with her (I got the day off school), and when I checked the chickens he saw that “Honey” was down and could not get up. We think it was Marek’s disease because she had stiff legs and wings and had little control of her neck. She would arch her head and wings back, and looked in pain. He head/neck was not in the right spot compared to her body, and was “off”. We did not notice any discolouration in the eyes, or tumours on the wings. Both the parents were out and we offered her some water and she would drink but could not keep it down. We think that she did not get the vaccine.

    When we got her, we had her by herself for 3 days, and then put her with the rest of the flock. She did not look sick, however she would stay by herself, and would stick her head in the ground. She always had access to food and water, and we would make sure that she would get inside safe at night.

    We are getting a new coop tomorrow night. We hear that Marek’s disease is highly contagious and are wondering what we should do for our other four chickens? What is going to happen to them? Are they going to get it too? I have read that farms have to kill the birds. I have sent an email to the farm, where we got them, to see if they have been vaccinated.

    Thanks. Once again you are a important source of information and continue to impress us with your knowledge and passion for your job.

    We did everything we could for her, and talked to her until the last breath. We made her a nice bed, and tried to comfort her. She just closed her eyes and went to bed.

    Please, please help us. My email is: torontocitychickens@hotmail.com if you want to email me to talk further.

    Andrew

  7. Hi Dr. Mike,

    Thanks for calling today.

    The other hens we have a vaccinated against the disease.

    They are out of the coop, and we have made a little make shift home for them, until tomorrow when the new coop comes.

    How affective is the vaccine?
    Also, is there any chance that we will be affected for having such close contact with her?

    You are really a life-saver, and we owe you.

    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew…no problem. The vaccine is quite effective, and there should be minimal risk to the other hens. There is no human health risk from Mareks Disease. If you clean the coop well, you should have clear sailing from here.
      Mike

  8. Good about the vaccine. We are going to clean the coop, and we are not going to put them back in the coop.

    You are a great resource to have, and you do not know how much I appreciate all this advise.

    Keep well and have a good weekend,

    Andrew

  9. Hi Mike,
    Great post and I like your blog. I have a question sort of related to this post and it is how I stumbled on to your blog. What would cause a hen to release way too many ova in a day? My best friend said her Easter Egger pullet that just started laying is having way too many eggs being released a day, generally it has been 2 to 3 soft shelled eggs a day. In the two weeks she has been laying, she has only had one normal egg, two double yokers, and the rest have been soft shelled with just membranes at best. There are no symptoms of illness otherwise. Could this something contagious or just a genetic reproductive problem?

    Thanks,
    Leanne

    • Hi Leanne;

      Thanks for the question. It is not unusual for some hens to “screw up” when they are starting to lay. If the light stimulaiton is not especially strong, the hormones that control egg production will increase at a slow rate, and will cause irregular reactions in the ovary. The double yolkers and multiple eggs per day are indicators of this. I am a bit concerned about the number of soft shelled eggs. Make sure that there is plenty of free-choice oyster shell or shell rock (calcium carbonate) available. Often, young hens don’t eat enough calcium in their normal ration, and don’t get enough calcium to cover their eggs. This low calcium can result in soft-shelled eggs, and may cause problems with laying, since the uterus is a muscle, and needs calcium to contract. This might be why the hen is laying several eggs in a day….she is not able to lay them on the morning they develop, so they “build up” until she is strong enough to push them out.

      Hope this helps

      Mike

      • Thank you very much for the quick response. I took a small bag of oyster shell over to Kara’s house until she can get to the feed store and told her what you wrote. She said to say thanks.

  10. What causes eggs to have a white rough ring on the egg shell? It kind of looks like a bulls eye.

    • Hi Liz;

      Egg with a white ring around the end are usually the result of being held in the shell gland too long. Check to see if something is disturbing your flock in the morning, when it is close to time to lay. If the hens are agitated or stressed, they will retain the egg for some time in the shell gland, depositing extra calcium in a ring around the big end of the egg. Conversely, it is possible that the egg is getting laid late because the birds don’t have enough calcium, so make sure that is not the case as well.

      Hope that helps

      Mike

  11. Pingback: A Chicken’s Labor

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