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Wrinkled eggs, also referred to as soft-shelled eggs, are unique misshapen eggs that occur naturally from chicken. It is incredibly rare to find these in supermarkets as they would not have passed the quality inspection, yet if you own chickens or buy eggs locally in bulk, you may find one of these soft-shelled eggs every now and then.

Wrinkled eggs

How To Know If Your Eggs Are Wrinkled

While it may be obvious to some people who grew up around chickens and eggs, wrinkled eggs are not the most easily spotted by people who are unfamiliar with their existence entirely.

A wrinkled egg is characterized and easily identified by the wrinkles and ripples that may be visibly noticeable. Some eggs can have ripples all over, covering them from the bottom to the top, whereas other eggs may only have a couple of ripples at the top of them.

Can You Eat Wrinkled Eggs?

Wrinkled eggs are entirely safe to eat and can be eaten just as normal eggs can be. While the eggs are mostly edible, it is best you make sure there are no cracks in the eggshells. If the egg shell is cracked, even if only slightly, it is best not to eat it as this could let bacteria inside the egg.

If you own chickens, you certainly should not be wasting wrinkled or even cracked eggs. This is because chickens actively enjoy them as a treat and will enjoy eating the ones you do not want to eat. There are some rules with this, as egg eating is a common thing that chickens can learn, and it can lead to them destroying other eggs in your hen house.

Crack the egg on the floor outside and let them eat it. Make sure you break the shell up as if they learn to break eggs themselves; they will do it with every egg they see.

Wrinkled eggs

What Causes Wrinkled Eggs?

While they may look weird and off-putting, there are plenty of logical explanations that can help you understand why your chickens are laying wrinkled eggs with soft shells. Some of these can be helped and changed, letting you produce eggs with the perfect shell once again. Other issues that cause the chicken to lay a wrinkled egg cannot be fixed and will be a permanent change in the chicken’s life.

Infectious Bronchitis

Some diseases can affect a chicken’s ability to lay strong eggs. One of these diseases is known as infectious bronchitis and is a viral disease that affects the chicken for life. This causes the bird to be less able to produce thick albumen (the proper term for egg white). With watery egg whites, the shell gland pouch will find it more difficult to properly form a shell over the yolk and egg whites, creating a wrinkled egg with a ripple shell.

Older Hens

As hens age, they naturally produce thinner egg whites. This is why commercial egg farms typically replace their hen with younger ones every 18 months. This is to make sure all the eggs are of the same quality and that the egg whites are not too watery when you crack open an egg, as this will give the impression that the egg is old when it is actually just created by a chicken with watery egg whites.

The watery egg whites are a lot more common in hens that produce a lot of eggs per year. If your hen only lays one egg every now and then, you are most likely not going to see a wrinkled egg. However, if you have a hen producing upwards of 300 eggs a year, you will notice this a lot, especially in hybrid layers. Pure breeds are a lot less likely to have this problem.

While there are some other factors such as a defective shell gland, stress, or overcrowding, the most common reason for wrinkled eggs is age. The older hen you have, the more likely you are to stop producing eggs with hard shells.

Watery Albumen

As mentioned with both infectious bronchitis and the older hens, watery albumen is a natural reason for eggs to appear wrinkled. Despite your chicken not being infected and not being old, some chickens are just born with watery albumen and will never be that good at laying eggs. You may get one or two eggs that are fine, but for the most part, they will be wrinkled.

Copper Deficiency

A copper deficiency is known to affect the egg-laying abilities of hens and can make their eggs misshapen, as well as being abnormal in size, shape, and texture.

A lot of eggs from copper-deficient hens can appear to be wrinkled or calcified (covered in calcium deposits caused by too much calcium).

Reproductive Issues

Some chickens, especially when stressed, will produce two yolks at the same time. These are commonly adored and can be bought from stores as two yolks are nice to cook with. However, while the shops sell eggs that have one shell covering both yolks, they are not always made like this.

Sometimes the first egg can be properly shelled, and the second egg will also start to form a shell at the same time. Due to a lack of room. this puts pressure on both eggs and can cause them to look slightly wrinkled or squished. They are still completely safe to eat.

Should You Throw Away Wrinkled Eggs?

Wrinkled eggs are at all bad to eat unless the shell is cracked. Wrinkled eggs are simply a visual deformity that does not affect the inside of the egg too much. If you are planning to make a sunny side up, then these eggs may not be best due to their watery egg whites. However, if you are making scrambled eggs or something similar, then these eggs will work just fine.

Remember not to eat any eggs with cracked shells, as these can be riddled with bacteria on the inside.

Wrinkled eggs

FAQs on Wrinkled Eggs

What causes wrinkled eggs?

Wrinkled eggs are caused by many different factors. The most common ones are either infectious bronchitis or old age. Other reasons can be stress, overcrowding, or a defective shell gland.

Are wrinkled eggs safe to eat?

Wrinkled eggs are safe to eat and can still be used as normal. Some of them may have watery egg whites that can be a pain to cook with but as long as the egg whites are not being used for consistency, they will still work fine.