Chickens are delightful creatures that can provide us with fresh eggs daily. There’s nothing quite like waking up in the morning, collecting eggs from the chicken coop, and making a delicious breakfast. But what do you do when your chickens start laying small eggs?
What is Considered a Tiny Egg?
For many people, finding a tiny egg in the nest can be confusing. After all, aren’t eggs supposed to be a uniform size? While it’s true that most chicken eggs are about the same size, there are times when you might find a small egg in the nest.
The average chicken egg size is about 50 grams or 2 ounces. A small egg would be anything less than this.
It is not uncommon for chickens to lay an occasional small egg, but if you notice that your chicken is consistently laying small eggs, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Chickens that do not have enough calcium in their diet will often lay small, brittle eggs. If you think your chicken might be lacking in calcium, talk to your veterinarian about supplementing their diet.
Why is My Chicken Laying Small Eggs? 7 Common Reasons
Here are a few reasons why your chicken might be laying eggs that are smaller than you expect.
1. Your Chicken is Too Young or Too Old
One reason why your chicken might be laying small eggs is that it is too young.
Chickens typically start laying eggs when they are around six months old. If your chicken is younger than six months, it is likely that the eggs it is laying are small because its body is not yet fully developed.
Time will remedy this problem; simply wait until your chicken matures a bit more and then it should start laying large eggs.
Another reason why your chicken might be laying small eggs is that it is too old.
Just like with people, as chickens age, their bodies begin to break down and don’t work as well as they used to.
This can lead to all sorts of problems, including smaller eggs. If your chicken is more than 5 years old, it might be time to start considering retirement!
Don’t worry, though; there are plenty of other things you can do with an older chicken besides eating its eggs. You could use it for meat, donate it to a local farm, or simply keep it as a pet.
2. Your Chicken isn’t Getting Enough Nutrition
Just like humans, chickens need a well-rounded, healthy diet in order to function at their best. This means getting enough of the right vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
If your chicken isn’t getting enough of the right nutrition, it might lay smaller eggs. Here’s what you need to know about chicken nutrition and egg production.
In order to lay big, healthy eggs, your chicken needs to eat a good diet that is high in protein and calcium and low in fat.
A good way to make sure your chicken is getting all of the nutrients it needs is to feed it a commercially-prepared chicken feed that is formulated for egg production.
You can also supplement chicken’s diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh foods that are high in protein include:
- Cooked beans
Other high-protein foods for chickens include cooked eggs, meat scraps, and mealworms.
Some good sources of calcium for chickens include:
- Crushed oyster shells
- Collard greens
You should also make sure that your chicken has access to fresh water at all times.
If your chicken isn’t getting enough of the right nutrition, it might lay smaller eggs. In some cases, your chicken might stop laying eggs altogether.
In extreme cases, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can lead to health problems such as bone weakness or organ damage.
Luckily, these problems can be easily avoided by making sure that your chicken is getting a nutritionally complete diet.
If you’re unsure whether or not your chicken is getting all the nutrients it needs, talk to your veterinarian about giving your chicken a nutritional supplement.
3. Your Chicken is a Small Egg Laying Breed
One common reason for small egg production is the breed of chicken. Some chicken breeds are simply known for producing smaller eggs.
For instance, bantam chickens are a breed of chicken that typically lays smaller eggs than other chickens. If you have a bantam chicken, there is no need to be alarmed at the small size of her eggs.
4. It’s Just the Wrong Time of Year
Chickens’ egg production naturally decreases during the short days of winter.
During the winter months, chickens’ bodies experience a decrease in available daylight hours. In response to this shorter day length, chickens’ pituitary glands release less of the hormone melatonin, which lowers their ovulatory rates and reduces the size of their eggs.
This phenomenon is called photorefractoriness, and it helps chicken breeders control when their birds will lay eggs.
However, it also means that backyard chicken keepers may notice a difference in egg production and quality during the winter months.
There are a few things you can do to encourage your chickens to lay larger eggs even during the shortest days of winter.
One is to supplement their diet with additional protein. A layer feed pellets or crumbles that are high in soybean meal or fish meal are good choices, as they will help your birds maintain their muscle mass and produce big, strong eggs.
You can also offer your chickens treats like mealworms or cooked pasta, which are packed with nutrients that will help them lay healthy eggs.
Another way to encourage your hens to lay larger eggs is to give them access to additional light. This can be as simple as placing a lamp in their coop so they have 14-16 hours of light per day.
You can also purchase special bulbs that emit full-spectrum light, which has been shown to stimulate egg production in hens.
However, be sure to give your birds a dark period each day so they can rest; too much light can cause stress and health problems down the line.
5. Your Chicken is Sick
If your chicken is sick, that could also be the reason why her eggs are smaller. Chickens can get sick just like any other animal, and when they do, their appetites often diminish and they stop laying eggs altogether.
If your chicken seems off in any way—she’s lethargic, not eating as much as usual, or acting out of character—it’s best to take her to the vet to get checked out.
6. Your Chicken is Dehydrated
As the weather gets hotter, it’s important to make sure your backyard chickens are staying hydrated.
If your chickens are dehydrated, it can lead to all sorts of problems, including smaller eggs. Here are five signs to look for that indicate your chicken might be dehydrated:
- Reduced appetite.
- Lethargic and not as active as usual.
- Your chicken’s poop is dry and colorful.
- The comb and wattles are dry and pale.
- Your chicken is panting and breathing heavily.
7. Your Chicken is Stressed Out
If you’ve been getting smaller-than-usual eggs from your backyard chickens lately, there’s a good chance that your birds are feeling stressed out.
Chickens are very sensitive creatures, and even minor changes in their environment can lead to a decrease in egg production. Here are some of the most common causes of stress in chickens, and what you can do to mitigate them.
Chickens are photo-sensitive, meaning that they rely on sunlight to regulate their bodies’ natural cycles.
If your chickens don’t have access to natural daylight—either because they’re kept indoors or because they live in a part of the country with long, dark winters—they may lay fewer eggs than usual.
To solve this problem, you can invest in a chicken coop light, which will mimic the effects of sunlight and help keep your birds’ circadian rhythms on track.
Chickens are also very sensitive to noise, so anything from construction work next door to a noisy air conditioner can throw off their egg production.
If you think the noise might be stressing out your chickens, try moving their coop to a quieter part of the yard or investing in some soundproofing material for their enclosure.
Good predator protection is also essential since pressure from predators (either real or perceived) can affect egg size and production.
And finally, just like humans, chickens are comfortable within a certain temperature range (between about 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature gets too hot or too cold, it can lead to decreased egg production—or, in extreme cases, death.
To keep your chickens comfortable year-round, make sure their coop is well-insulated and ventilated, and consider investing in a chicken heater or cooler for the winter and summer months respectively.
How Do I Get My Chickens to Lay Bigger Eggs?
What if your chickens are only laying small eggs? Here are a few things you can do to encourage your chickens to lay bigger eggs.
First, take a look at your chickens’ diet. Are they getting enough protein? A lack of protein can result in smaller eggs.
So, if you haven’t already, start feeding your chickens a high-protein feed. You can also supplement their diet with things like mealworms or other insects.
Second, make sure your chickens have enough space to move around. Chickens that are crowded into too small of an area are more likely to lay smaller eggs.
If possible, give them more space by letting them free range or adding more chicken coops.
Finally, pay attention to the temperature. If it’s too hot or too cold, it can impact egg production and result in smaller eggs. Make sure your chicken coop is well-ventilated but also protected from extreme weather conditions.
Are Tiny Eggs Problematic?
Chickens can lay small eggs for a variety of reasons. Addressing those reasons – rather than the symptoms (ie, the small eggs) will help you figure out whether the tiny eggs are a sign of a potential problem.
One possibility is that the chicken is young and has not reached full maturity yet. Another possibility is that the chicken is sick or otherwise not in optimal health.
If you notice that all of the eggs from a particular chicken are small, it’s worth investigating to see if there might be an underlying health issue.
However, it’s also worth noting that not all small eggs are necessarily cause for concern.
In some cases, a chicken may simply produce smaller eggs on a regular basis. This is generally nothing to worry about as long as the chicken is otherwise healthy.
So, should you be concerned if your chickens are laying small eggs? It depends.
If all of the eggs from a particular chicken are small, it may indicate an underlying health problem and it’s worth investigating further.
However, if only some of the eggs are small, it may simply be due to the individual chicken’s size or genetics and there’s no cause for concern.
As long as your chickens seem healthy otherwise, there’s no need to worry about occasional small eggs.
Can You Eat Tiny Eggs?
If you find yourself with a bunch of tiny chicken eggs, don’t worry! They are safe to eat and have the same nutritional value as regular chicken eggs.
You can use them in any recipe that calls for chicken eggs or eat them raw if you so choose. Get creative and have fun with them!
After all, chicken eggs are typically on the larger side, but there are some breeds of chickens that lay tiny eggs. These eggs are often used in specialty dishes or as decoration.
However, they are perfectly safe to eat and taste just like regular chicken eggs.
Tiny chicken eggs have the same nutritional value as regular chicken eggs. They are an excellent source of protein and contain vitamins A, D, and E.
Tiny chicken eggs can be used in any recipe that calls for chicken eggs. They can be fried, scrambled, boiled, or used in baking. They can also be eaten raw if you so choose. Because of their size, they are often used as garnishes or decorations on dishes.
If your chicken has started laying smaller eggs, there’s no need to worry—in most cases, it’s perfectly normal and not a sign of an underlying health issue.
More often than not, small eggs are simply due to your chicken’s age or diet. However, if you suspect that stress may be the cause of small eggs in your chicken coop, there are a few things you can do to reduce stress levels.
Providing your chickens with plenty of space to roam, hiding places in their coop for them to feel safe, and plenty of toys and enrichment activities will help keep them happy and relaxed so that they can lay healthy eggs.
I’ve taken over this blog from Kendra Lynne around 2018, and turned it into one of the best an most comprehensive homesteading website out there. I was raised partly in the countryside living a very frugal life ever since I can remember.