A woman in Queensland, Australia, was taken aback to see tiny, round, and clustered bumps over her eggs, similar to grains of sand, small seeds, or lice eggs.
The round “egg-like” things weren’t hard, nor were they soft or squishy.
They were a similar light-brown to cream color, the same as the egg they sat on.
And they effortlessly wiped off when she ran her thumb over the egg’s shell.
Other than these alien bumps, the egg was perfect.
Tiny Clustered Bumps on Eggshells: What Is It?
She quickly turned to her Entomology group on Facebook for answers.
She asked, “Found these on a chook egg. Are they lice eggs?” (For those wondering, Aussies called chickens “chooks.”)
As it turns out, these strange egg-like objects were actually extra calcium deposits.
If you feed your chickens too much calcium or an imbalanced diet, they will occasionally shed the extra calcium through these strange little eggshell bumps.
They could also be caused by the hen being overly stressed or having a defective shell gland.
Too Much Calcium for Hens
We know that calcium is a vital component in egg production for hens, so we do our best to provide plenty of it.
But sometimes, this causes more harm than good.
Too much calcium in a hen’s diet can lead to a condition known as “hypercalcemia,” which poses several dangers to the bird’s health.
Calcium is crucial in developing strong eggshells, bone formation, and nerve function in hens.
However, an excess of calcium can disrupt the delicate balance of minerals in the bird’s body, resulting in many health issues, like the following:
Excessive calcium can strain a hen’s kidneys, which are responsible for filtering and excreting the surplus calcium.
Over time, this strain can lead to kidney damage or even kidney failure.
Surplus calcium can interfere with the eggshell formation process, leading to thin, weak, or soft-shelled eggs.
Hens may have difficulty laying these eggs, and the shells are more prone to breakage, increasing the risk of egg-related health issues.
I know this sign seems a bit counterintuitive since calcium is supposed to strengthen eggshells, but that’s because the eggshell creation process is damaged, at least temporarily.
Hypercalcemia can disrupt a hen’s reproductive system, causing problems like egg-binding, where an egg becomes stuck in the hen’s reproductive tract.
This condition is painful and potentially life-threatening.
Reduced Feed Intake
Hens may reduce their feed intake when they consume too much calcium.
This can lead to nutritional imbalances and negatively affect their overall health and egg production.
Hens with too much calcium will produce rough eggshells, eggshells with added calcium deposits, or eggshells with lots of spots or speckles.
New spots or speckles on the eggshells usually precede the “lice-egg-like” bumps.
How to Minimize Excessive Calcium Intake
To prevent the dangers of too much calcium in a hen’s diet, poultry farmers and backyard keepers should take the following measures:
Offer a Balanced Diet
Ensure that the hens are receiving a well-balanced diet with appropriate levels of calcium for their age and production stage.
Different life stages require different amounts of calcium.
If you’re not interested in balancing your own feed, use commercially available poultry feed that is specifically designed for the hens’ stage of life (starter, grower, layer, etc.) to ensure they receive the right nutrient ratios.
Move or Limit Calcium-rich Supplements
Limit the amount of calcium-rich supplements like oyster shells or limestone grit, particularly for hens already receiving a calcium-fortified diet.
If you were mixing calcium supplements into your chickens’ everyday feed, stop that immediately.
Supplements should always be offered in a separate container; this gives your chickens the autonomy to self-medicate as needed.
If you remove their freedom to choose how much they ingest, problems will arise.
Monitor the Eggshells
Regularly check the quality of eggshells to identify any potential issues.
If you notice consistently thin or soft-shelled eggs, it may indicate an imbalance in the hen’s diet.
Spots on the eggs, strange bumpy deposits, or rough eggshells are other strong indicators to be aware of.
Offer a Constant, Clean Water Source
Ensure that the hens have access to clean and fresh water at all times.
Proper hydration is essential for overall health and calcium regulation.
If your hen doesn’t have enough water, her organs, especially her reproductive organs, will function poorly.
Not having enough water will lead to long-term, irreversible damage to your flock, especially during the summer.
Some chickens are pickier than others too, so do whatever you can to offer the best quality water for your hens.
This means clean water, as close to 55 degrees Fahrenheit as possible, no added medications or added minerals (naturally occurring minerals should be fine) in the water, as little chlorine as possible, and an easy-to-access waterer.
Too Much Stress For The Hen
If your hen is stressed out, her hormones and egg production will be out of whack.
Her overall health will seriously suffer.
Here are some of the best ways you can do to mitigate and reduce stress for your hens.
Provide a Suitable Environment
Ensure that the chicken coop or housing area is spacious, well-ventilated, and potentially hazard-free.
Adequate space allows chickens to move freely, perch, and exhibit natural behaviors.
Clean the Coop
Regularly clean and sanitize the coop and run to reduce the risk of disease and pests.
A clean environment promotes better health and reduces stress.
Chickens are sensitive to extreme temperatures.
Provide proper ventilation and temperature control, especially during hot or cold weather, to keep them comfortable.
Some extreme areas may even call for supplemental heat or even air conditioning.
Consistent Light Schedule
Maintain a consistent light schedule to mimic natural daylight patterns.
Sudden changes in lighting can stress chickens, affecting their behavior and egg-laying patterns.
Keep the Surroundings Calm
Loud noises, sudden movements, or frequent disturbances can stress chickens.
Keep the surroundings calm and avoid unnecessary disruptions whenever you can.
Provide a Safe and Secure Retreat
Offer places where chickens can retreat to feel safe and secure.
This can be accomplished by providing nesting boxes, perches, greenery, or thickets to hide in within the run or other cozy spots in the coop.
Socialize, but Don’t Overcrowd
Chickens are social animals, and interaction with their flock mates is essential for their well-being.
Avoid overcrowding and introduce new birds gradually to prevent aggression and stress.
If you have an overbearing rooster, consider culling him.
Some breeds are more docile and amicable than others too.
Do your best to match up temperaments so no one hen (or breed of hens) gets bullied.
Give Them a Nutritious Diet
Provide a well-balanced and nutritious diet suitable for the chicken’s age and purpose (e.g., layers, broilers).
Proper nutrition supports overall health and helps manage stress.
Chickens who desire free-range will appreciate larger spaces and the option to source their own foods.
If you can’t let your chickens loose for a free-range time, toss or scatter some chicken scratch or chicken feed in their run for them to find on their own.
Provide Clean and Fresh Water
Always keep clean and fresh water available to the chickens.
Dehydration can exacerbate stress and health problems.
Secure the Coop from Predators
Secure the coop against potential predators to reduce the chickens’ stress levels and anxiety about external threats.
Even domestic cats and dogs can stress your chickens out.
Keep them away if they are a nuisance, and make sure your coop and run are safe from other neighborhood pets.
Your chickens should not have to look at looming or threatening strays.
Even if they are safe within their run, they will feel hunted and in danger if they are constantly chased or watched outside.
Routine Health Checks
Conduct routine health checks yourself or with the help of a seasoned chicken keeper.
Know the signs and symptoms to watch for; early detection with swift treatment can prevent stress-related health issues.
Handle Them With Care
When handling your chickens, do so gently and calmly to avoid causing unnecessary stress.
Minimize catching or restraining unless it’s essential for health checks or treatments.
If you must catch a chicken, wait until nighttime when they are on the roost or visit in the early morning before they wake.
Provide Enrichment Activities
Offer plenty of environmental enrichment, such as pecking toys, perches, or dust-bathing areas.
These enrichments stimulate natural behaviors and reduce boredom.
Free-ranging your hens is also a wonderful option, as long as your area is safe and suitable.
Defective Eggshell Gland
If you notice that only one hen is laying some funky eggs, it’s probably an individual issue, not a flock problem.
Some hens are just destined to have deformities or harmless oddities about them.
It is safe to eat eggs with these bumpy deposits, so there’s no harm in keeping a hen who lays strange eggs.
Unless she’s fighting other health problems, it’s okay to keep your hen for as long as you like.
You do not have to cull her from the flock.
I would suggest considering not incubating her eggs, though, just to prevent the possibility of bringing more potentially unhealthy or unbalanced chickens into your flock.
Hens with defective eggshell glands are likely to have other underlying problems, too, so do what you can to mitigate the chances of creating more hens like her.
Egg with “Lice-eggs” Found in Australia
So going back to the chook’s egg with a lice-eggs-like deposit, it’s a completely natural phenomenon that some eggs get.
Sometimes, an excess of calcium can also manifest as speckles in eggs.
And if you’re wondering if they’re safe to eat—yes, they are!
These deposits, also known as “eggshell spurs” or “calcium nodules,” result from a natural process that occurs during egg formation and poses no health risks to humans.
They are simply a cosmetic issue and can be easily removed with a brush or sponge.
However, if the eggshell is cracked or damaged in any way, it’s best to discard the egg as it may be contaminated with bacteria.
Have you experienced seeing a “weird egg” like this in your coop? Share with us your thoughts!
READ NEXT: Manitoba Hen Lays Giant 202-Gram Egg