Why Are My Chickens Laying Small Eggs? 5 Common Reasons

Why Are My Chickens Laying Small Eggs

There’s nothing better than waking up and having fresh eggs in the morning. As you’re going around collecting eggs from the chickens, you noticed they are laying small eggs.

So why are my chickens laying small eggs? At a young age, chickens will tend to lay small eggs, which is also known as fairy eggs. For that reason, it’s nothing to worry about. However, for older chickens that are laying small eggs, there are five reasons: age, genetics, nutrition, illness, and stress.

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If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading to find out more in-depth for each reason.

Age

At the start of laying eggs, the hen will usually lay smaller eggs. As they start to get older, they will larger eggs.

The age at which they start to lay eggs will usually by around 23 weeks. However, it could be much sooner or later depending on the breed, the health they’re in, and the time of the year.

Breeds like the Leghorns, Golden Comets, and Asutralorps could start laying as earlier as 16 weeks.

Chickens will usually lay around 250 eggs per year. Each clutch will have an average of 12 eggs. Sometimes, the hen may lay a clutch of eggs that’s small than usual. This is not something to worry about. However, if the hen lays a consistent clutch of smaller eggs than it’s usual, there may be an issue with the hen.

Bantam Chickens

Breeds and Genetics

Sometimes, chickens lay small eggs due to their breed and genetics. There’s really not much you can do about this. Therefore, if you want large to jumbo-sized eggs, make sure to choose the right breeds of chickens.

Some of the breeds of chickens that are known to lay large-sized eggs include:

  • Leghorns
  • Lohmann Browns
  • Minorcas
  • Barnevelders
  • Golden Comets

Then there are some breeds of chickens that are smaller and will lay small eggs. Below are some of the breeds you can expect to lay small eggs:

  • Silkie
  • Sebright
  • Belgian d’Anvers
  • Belgian Bearded d’Uccle

One breed of chickens known as Bantam chickens is the smallest breeds of chickens. In most cases, a bantam chicken will be about a half to a third of the size of its larger counterpart. For that reason, their eggs will be smaller than regular chickens.

A true bantam breed will not have any other large counterpart. These are considered “true” bantams. These breeds are breeds withing themselves, which means they are just a very small breed.

Some of the most common breeds of bantam chickens are:

  • Belgian Bantams
  • Booted Bantams
  • Brahma Bantam
  • Cochin Bantams
  • Pekin Bantams
  • Sultan Bantams
  • Japanese Bantams
  • Dutch Bantams
  • Buff Brahma Bantams
  • Rosecomb Bantams
  • Serama Bantams

Nutrition

Nutrition is crucial to the development of the eggs. Not only will it determines how small or large the eggs will be, but the quality and taste as well.

Chickens that fed good nutrition will be healthier and happier. This means, their food should consist of quality feeds, which should make up 90% of their diet. The other 10% should come from fruits, vegetables, and insects.

Their main food will be commercial feeds, but for egg-laying chickens, there will be a specific feed just for them. What I recommend Purina Layer Pellets, which you can buy from Amazon.

Purina Animal Nutrition Home Grown Layer Pellets 50 (Misc.)

Features: 

  • Purina
  • Provides complete nutrition for laying hens
  • 16 protein
  • Added vitamins and minerals
  • No added antibiotics or hormones

These commercial feeds have been formulated with the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for hens.

For hens, it’s very important that they receive all the proper nutrition. If not, the result will be smaller eggs than usual, along with not so good tasting eggs as well.

Illness and Diseases

Hens that should be laying large eggs, but are not, could have an illness. They could contract parasites such as worms, lice, or mites. These parasites will cause them to have stress which will result in laying small eggs.

For hens, especially those that are allowed to free roam should be vaccinated often. It’s recommended to give a vaccine to them every two months during the colder months and every month in the summer.

Stress

Chickens are prone to stress from everyday activities. Stress has a big impact on the quality of the eggs. Chickens that have a lot of stress will tend to produce smaller eggs than usual. Not only the size that’s affected, but the taste and consistency will also be affected.

Most people know that chickens that are free-range are happier than those confined to a small area. The larger the area they have to roam, the less stress that’s put on them.

Sometimes, letting the chicken roam freely is not possible due to the limited space you have. At a minimum, you should have an adequate sized coop and run.

The coop should have all the necessities such as roosting perches and nesting boxes with soft bedding.

The cleanliness of the coop is also important to prevent stress. Daily cleaning of their coop is great and will keep them healthy and happy. If you don’t have the time, twice per week is required at a minimum to clean their coop.

How Do I Get My Chickens to Lay Bigger Eggs?

Feed them quality layer feeds. If you want bigger eggs, always feed them quality layer feeds. These feeds are formulated with extra nutrition for hens. Quality feeds like Purina Layer Pellets can be purchased from Amazon. Quality feeds at a great price.

Increase calcium intake. Calcium supplements are important for stronger and bigger eggs. You can give the chickens crushed oyster shells and used eggshells. These two are an excellent source of calcium.

Provide fresh water daily. Hens need fresh water daily to help them lay bigger eggs. Water that is contaminated could contain parasites. These parasites could cause the chickens to become ill, which will result in smaller eggs.

Provide a large open area. Hens that are confined to smaller areas will usually lay smaller eggs due to being stressed. When chickens are free to roam in a large open area, they are more likely to lay bigger eggs.

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