Posts Tagged ‘rubber egg’

My First Goose Egg!

Friday, October 25th, 2013

(Broadcast 10/25/2013)

Raising chickens has been full of milestones. There’s the excitement of the day I brought them home, the relief of finishing the coop (and the worry of their first night sleeping in it), and the thrill of the first egg. Not all milestones are happy ones, though. There was my first sick chicken, which now looks more like it should be counted as my first chicken to have a stroke. There was my first run in with the horrors of vent gleet, and as a result, my first time standing in the yard blow drying a chicken. I suppose if you think about it enough, anything can be a milestone. I happen to like thinking about it.


When the chickens first started laying eggs, it was December, and you’re probably aware of the fact that December has pretty short days. The amount of light chickens get has a direct influence on how many eggs they lay. Or that’s what I was led to believe. As soon as they all started laying, it was half a dozen eggs a day for a good long time, darkness be damned. We weren’t prepared for such an ovoid onslaught, but it was cool to be finally getting eggs, and nice to see the chickens all pitching in. The fact that they were really sticking it to the darkness tickled me as well. I like the underdog, or perhaps in this case, the underchicken.


Underchicken, of Saturday morning cartoon fame.

As time went on, the six-eggs-a-day rule seemed to be getting more relaxed. If a chicken isn’t feeling well, they won’t lay, and it’s even pretty normal to not lay an egg every day. Sometimes, the eggs would be there, but would be one of those creepy “rubber eggs” I’ve talked about. There are a lot of factors involved in egg production, and it’s unrealistic to think they’d operate at maximum capacity forever, or even for very long.

egg factory

Summer came around, and some days we’d get three eggs, some days more. Some days they’d lay them in the nesting buckets, sometimes next to them, and in the last few weeks they’d taken to laying them on the far side of the roost, which is very difficult for me to reach. I know when I’m being screwed with, but everyone likes sticking it to the Man, and I suppose I’m the Man in this scenario. I put a plastic easter egg in one of the nesting buckets, and they eventually got the hint. And the number of eggs we got continued to fluctuate. The vent gleet episode took one chicken out of production for a while, so I knew we wouldn’t be hitting six then. The only one I can reliably even keep a tally on is Boss Chicken, since she’s in her own coop (or rabbit hutch, really) due to her handicap. She seems to be easing into an every other day routine, but again, not always. There’s fluctuation, but always eggs somewhere.

egg journal

I keep a journal of how many eggs each day.

So the other day when I went to check the eggs and Boss Chicken didn’t have one, I figured it was one of her days off. Then I opened the coop, and there were none in the buckets. I felt around in the shavings, since they sometimes like to bury them, but still nothing. So then I climbed into the coop to check the far side of the roost. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zero. It appeared everyone had taken the day off. It was close to Columbus Day weekend, so maybe they felt it was a state chicken holiday or something. The only thing I do know is that the only egg I got that day was a big goose egg.

goose egg

Listen to the goose.

I was initially a little worried that maybe their egg laying days were behind them, but they’re only a little over a year old, not even a year and half. They’ve got more time. I think the erraticness of their laying schedules was bound to align eventually, and there we were. The next day, we got more eggs. Next summer I may need to start thinking about what’s going to happen to our egg supply, but we should be good through the winter. That’s not to say I’m not going to start obsessively hoarding the eggs, but you might as well hoard them while you know they’re still coming, right? Right?


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The Mystery of the Weird Rubber Eggs!

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

(Broadcast 8/23/2013)

One of the big perks of having chickens is obviously the eggs. You learn right away how different eggs from your own chickens are compared to eggs from the supermarket. They taste way better, the yolks are much brighter, the shells seem tougher, and you can even leave them out unrefrigerated if you want to. I want to, just to seem like a daredevil to the uninitiated. It’s not like they sit out for very long, anyway. If I don’t eat them, I find some way to use them as currency, so my supply stays fresh.


Green eggs, no ham

So what do you do then when you start to get eggs that are a little, well, weird? I’ve had ones before that have been kind of pale and flimsy. What are egg shells made out of? Calcium. So how do you think you might strengthen a weak eggshell? Add more calcium to the chickens’ diet. I now leave out calcium chips for my chickens every day. We do still get the occasional oddball brittle egg, but the supplements seem to have drastically lowered the occurrence.

vitamin supplements

Try not to take the wrong one.

There is, however, another sort of weird egg that is possibly the proverbial “bad egg.” You know those water balloon wiggly things you can buy in stores that the whole purpose of them is that they’re difficult to hold? These eggs feel like that. They have the coloration of an egg, but no shell. The egg lining seems to be what holds them together. I probably don’t need to tell you that this is super freaky. The first time it happened to one of my chickens, I was very confused, and that confusion continues to this day. The rubber eggs seem to come at odd times, because often when I find them, they’re in the bedding under the roost. So it’s like a chicken is asleep, and the egg sneaks out before it’s ready for prime time. Wake up chicken! An egg is escaping! They also will sometimes appear in the nesting boxes, but are usually broken at that point, since this is not the sort of egg that can hold up to being sat on.

unfinished egg

An unfinished egg makes its escape.

When you report a rubber egg to the internet, the first question you get in response is whether or not the chicken is young and new to laying. When this first happened, yes, my chickens were pretty young and probably still working the kinks out of the production system. But they’re over a year old now, so I think they should have figured it out. The next suggestion is that it’s a calcium issue. But I give them oyster shells every day, so you’d think they’d be good there too, but these eggs do still happen. The third issue could be that something is internally wrong with the chicken, which could be very bad. The problem for me here is that I have no way to know which chicken is laying these, and if it’s the same one, or if they do this on a rotating basis. I almost never catch them in the act of laying eggs, normal or otherwise. The only thing I’m somewhat sure of is that it’s one of the Mandrell Sisters, due to the color of the egg, which is slightly different than a Barred Rock egg. Even then, this egg is an anomaly, so I don’t know that I can judge an egg by its color here. It seems like a situation where I can really only sit and wait for some other symptom to reveal itself to know if it’s something else. The odd rubber egg is not necessarily anything to worry about. Full time rubber egg production is more of a problem.

rubber egg

Not that kind of rubber egg.

Researching this issue led me to the discovery of an article about something called a “cock’s egg.” Every so often a hen will lay an egg that is much smaller than usual. It got the name “cock’s egg” because people back in the day thought a rooster must have laid it because it was so small and strange. So then you ask yourself, why would a rooster lay an egg? And if you were an old timey farmer person, the answer would obviously be because The Devil made him do it, because that was their answer for everything. Now, I’m not a man of the cloth, so I’m not entirely sure of what The Devil does or does not get up to, but really, The Devil? This is your vehicle of self-expression? “Spreading plague is a real drag sometimes, so maybe I’ll just go make that rooster lay a kind of small egg.” The classic cock’s egg is more or less normal, aside from the size, but any abnormal egg can be considered a cock’s egg, so The Devil’s been in my coop too, apparently. Now I know he’s really got time on his hands. Look, Devil, I appreciate a good practical joke now and then, but you really need to step up your game. I don’t want to go overboard on calcium-filled treats just to find out I’m being punked by the Old Deluder. Either fully delude me, or lay off the chickens. Don’t make me call a chicken exorcist, when I know deep down everyone lays a weird egg once in a while.

el diablo pollo

El Diablo Pollo


An earlier post with some video of one of my rubber eggs. 

 The article about “cock eggs,” sometimes known as “fart eggs.”

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The Incredible Rubber Chicken Egg!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

a rubbery egg


Here’s a video of an egg from one of my chickens a while back. I’ve gotten a few of these. My guess is that it has something to do with not getting enough calcium, though I do give them oyster shell chips as a supplement.


Rubbery egg! from Erik P. Kraft on Vimeo.


I came across this article the other day, that reminded me I had taken this video. Turns out it could be the work of The Devil! I suppose I should have called this post The Incredible Cock Egg! to be more in line with the folklore behind this.

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