Understanding Fairy Eggs: Common Reasons for Small Eggs in Your Backyard Flock

For backyard chicken keepers, the sight of a teeny tiny egg in the nesting box can be a bit perplexing. Known by various names such as fairy eggs, fart eggs, or even cock eggs, these miniature eggs are not the typical bounty we expect from our hens. In this blog post, we’ll explore exactly, why do chickens lay small eggs? We’ll talk about the phenomenon of small eggs and discuss the possible reasons behind them, as well as tips to ensure your hens lay normal-sized eggs in the future.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no cost to you. All opinions remain my own. Read my full disclosure policy here.

1. Fairy Eggs: The First Egg from Young Hens

You’ve raised your little baby chicks up and they have passed their awkward teenage phase. Finally the day comes when you walk out to the coop and check the box, and in it you find a perfect, tiny little egg. This is a pullet egg, or fairy egg. The very first egg your chicken will lay. They are significantly smaller in size, as your chicken is not fully mature, but just coming into her future of laying eggs. This is the most common reason for small eggs, but there are some other reasons that your eggs could be small. Read below to see more reasons…why do chickens lay small eggs?

One of the most common reasons for small eggs, often referred to as fairy eggs, is that they are usually the first eggs laid by young chickens, known as pullets. These pullet eggs are smaller than the regular eggs produced by older hens and can sometimes be yolkless. Once your hens start laying, you’re going to want to make sure that you are feeding high quality feed to ensure strong healthy eggs from here on out. This brings us into the next point…

2. Lack of Calcium and Thin Shells

Another common reason for small eggs is a lack of calcium in the hen’s diet. Adequate calcium is essential for strong eggshells. If your hens don’t get enough calcium, they may lay eggs with thinner shells, which are more likely to be small in size. The best way to supplement calcium in your flock, is to use a good oyster shell supplement. Scratch and Peck feeds is the way to go with high-quality chicken feed and supplements like oyster shells.

When feeding oyster shells to your flock, you want to offer them as “free choice”. This essentially means that you pour them into a separate feeder than your regular food, and allow the chickens to peck and eat them at their leisure. Chickens are smart, and they will opt for the extra nutrients provided when they need them.

3. Reproductive Cycle and Wind Eggs

The reproductive system of a laying hen is a complex mechanism. Sometimes, small eggs, also called wind eggs, can be a part of the natural cycle, and these eggs may not contain yolks or have very small yolks. Just make sure that your hens have access to all the essential nutrients they need, fresh clean water, and you won’t see this happen too often. There is however the notorious anomalous egg, but don’t worry. They are usually a fun surprise.

4. Heat Stress and Unusual Weather

High temperatures during the hot summer months can cause hens to lay smaller eggs. Heat stress can disrupt the egg production cycle, resulting in a decrease in egg size. Ensure your chickens have access to shade, plenty of fresh water, and a well-ventilated chicken coop during hot weather.

Another one of my favorite ways to help chickens out when it is way too hot is to dump some ice cubes in the water feeder. If you really really love your hens, you could freeze some watermelon, or some scratch with other fresh fruits or veggies in large ice cubes or jello molds and let them enjoy that on a hot day. Let’s keep reading to find out : Why do chickens lay small eggs?

5. Proper Nutrition and Layer Feed

Providing your chickens with a balanced diet is crucial for egg production. Feeding your hens a high-quality layer feed that contains the necessary nutrients, including calcium, can help ensure that they lay regular-sized eggs. We feed out only the best organic, soy free layer pellets to our girls. We LOVE Scratch and Peck feeds for complete high quality nutrition. Make sure to allow “free choice” oyster shell supplements. Feel free to also throw your ladies some grubs every now and then if they are not able to free range. Again, Scratch and Peck Grubs are the way to go.

6. Adequate Light and Egg Size

The number of hours of daylight your hens receive can also affect their egg production. Hens require a certain amount of light to lay larger eggs consistently. If they don’t receive enough light, they may lay smaller eggs.

We allow our ladies to follow nature. In some laying operations they add artificial light to the coops to extend the laying season, or to prevent it to stop altogether. We feel like this is unnecessary and unnatural. We love giving our ladies a rest during the colder darker season. There is research to show that they will have improved health, and live longer happier lives if we allow them to follow the natural flow of the seasons. We never advise anyone to use artificial lights during the dark times.

7. Older Chickens and Reduced Egg Size

As hens age, they may lay smaller eggs. This is a natural part of their reproductive cycle. Young hens lay smaller eggs initially, while older hens do the same later on. Monitor aging hens; consider separating them for retirement. Aging hens may avoid higher roosts and become vulnerable to disease and pecking from younger hens.

When we notice our older hens aging out. We might even do them the favor of harvesting them for chicken soup or broth. We protect them from stress and health issues caused by younger hens and, in return, enjoy their nutrition.

8. Space and Stress Factors

Ensure that your chickens have plenty of space in their coop and run area to prevent stress, which can affect egg size. Stress factors such as overcrowding or the presence of aggressive roosters can lead to smaller eggs. Pay attention to the social dynamics in your coop and remove and cull the terrorizing hens or roosters. Rather than training and keeping them, it’s often better to remove problematic chickens to avoid flock stress.

We once had a hatching from a broody hen of ALL roosters. We allowed them to age, but when their disruptive behavior stressed the flock, we separated and harvested them for chicken soup. It really isn’t worth all the trouble to try to tame a bad behaving rooster or hen.

9. Addressing Health Problems

Sometimes, small eggs can be a sign of illness in your chickens. Keep an eye on your flock’s overall health and take action if you notice any unusual egg production patterns.

If your hens are in a confined space, make sure to offer them a dust bath. Dust baths are chickens way to clean themselves and prevent mites and lice. Opinions vary on what should go into a chicken’s dust bath when a natural dust hole isn’t available. We won’t tell you here what to put into the dust bath, that will be a post for another day… but do make sure that they have access to one!

Why Do Chickens Lay Small Eggs?

Though tiny eggs in the nesting box may surprise you, understanding contributing factors helps address the issue. Nourishing, housing, and caring for your chickens properly can promote regular egg size. Remember that small eggs, or fairy eggs, are often a temporary phase, and with the right care, your backyard flock will continue to provide you with fresh, healthy eggs for years to come.

Shop this Post “Why Do Chickens Lay Small Eggs?” in the Homestead Mercantile

Love it? Share it!
why do chickens lay small eggs Pinterest pin with three colored eggs in a hand

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *