So you may have heard the term “fairy egg” but what exactly is it and why do many chickens lay them?
Fairy eggs have a number of different names gathered over the years, also known as a “witch”, “cock” or “wind” egg. All they are is basically an inconsistency in the hen’s laying cycle.
This is pretty common among flocks of chickens in the back yard. Fairy eggs are usually smaller than the regular eggs hatched, and are also much rounder without containing any yolk. Typically, these eggs tend to occur at two points in a hen’s life.
Firstly, quite early in the hen’s life just before any hormones and/or her reproductive cycle have been fully formed and ready for production. Secondly, often very late in the hen’s life as the hormones start winding down, reducing chances of production.
It’s important to note though, that these eggs can also actually be a stress resultant or caused by a disruption in the hen’s routine.
Why do they happen?
They occur when the hen starts to produce an egg, but before the yolk is released from the oviduct of the hen. Therefore, only the white part of the egg (known as albumen) is shelled. Young laying hens are known for having a lot of them!
Even if you have had many hens, many pullets will start laying their regular sized eggs from the beginning, rather than starting out with tiny eggs, gradually working up to bigger ones from there.
But don’t be alarmed!
In any event, some fairy eggs here and there are nothing to be too concerned with. They are merely a blip in your hen’s production, early in their life. One way to look at them, is that they are some kind of “prototype”.
What is interesting is that, some hens just won’t lay miniature versions of eggs, while others will give you a taster by laying a few fairy eggs early on in their “career”, just to test the nest I guess!
Are they edible?
Although they have no yolk, fairy eggs are in fact perfectly fine for humans to eat! But since a lot of the nutrition is actually found in the egg yolk, couple with the fact that the eggs are so tiny anyway, instead of eating them, maybe you can just rinse off your fairy eggs to get rid of any bloom (which acts as an insulator from air).
You can then let them dry until the inside white has dried up and you can notice it rattling inside if you pick it up and give it a little shake. You can then make use of them as lovely decor for the kitchen!
According to farming folklore, it is believed that to protect them against a cock egg, you should throw the fairy egg over your house’s roof allowing it to hit the ground.
Up to you! But I would simply suggest that you display them as decor in a little basket on your counter top!