You will eventually come across a bloody egg when you raise your chickens. This can be alarming, especially if you don’t know what causes or how to treat it.
What Causes Blood Spots In Eggs? Blood spots in chicken eggs are usually caused when the egg is forming and a blood vessel bursts. This happens when the hen is stressed, gets startled, has a dietary deficiency and is low on Vitamins A and K. Another cause of blood spots happens when a chicken experiences unnatural lighting such as lighting 24 hours a day.
Hens need enough dark hours to produce an egg properly. If they have too many light hours- it stresses their body by causing them to lay eggs at a higher rate unnaturally. This causes increased blood spots in the eggs.
The FDA estimates that 2-4% of chicken eggs have blood spots in them. They are considered safe to eat, although many people find them disconcerting.
There are various signs for each cause of a bloody egg. Let’s dive into these causes and what steps you should take as a chicken owner to help ensure the safety and health of your hens.
Are Blood Spots On Eggs Safe?
Blood spots on eggs are safe to eat. The USDA states that egg spots are usually discovered through electronic scanning but that when they aren’t – they are still safe to consume. As a chicken owner- I’ve seen a few egg spots and am a little borderline on how comfortable I am with it. Although I know it’s safe to eat, I don’t like the looks so I won’t use them for breakfasts where the spots are more visible, but I’m ok using eggs with blood spots for cooking or baking.
Blood spots are safe to eat and if you think about it- a blood spot in an egg is much less blood than you eat when you consume chicken meat. It’s just that we aren’t used to our eggs having blood spots. It’s pretty rare too- less than 4% of eggs have blood spots in the yolk.
Reasons Hens Lay Bloody Chicken Eggs
It can be rather startling the first time you notice blood on a chicken egg while gathering eggs. We don’t expect our eggs to have blood on them. Considering the caution and care we take around blood in our society, you might also wonder if bloody chicken eggs are safe.
If you only see blood on the eggshell, you should wash it off the shell and the egg is safe to eat. In very rare cases, the egg yolk and whites will be red, brown, black, or obscure. Those eggs are not safe to eat.
Why Did My Hen Lay A Chicken Egg With Blood On Shell? The most common cause of bloody chicken eggshells happens when a young hen starts laying eggs, and a blood vessel in the vent area bursts during the laying. This smears blood on the eggshell. Older hens can also experience a strain on their bodies, causing bloody eggshells. Wear and tear, prolapse, or mites are other reasons. Bullying is a rare but possible cause.
First, identify how frequently it occurs. Most hens occasionally have bloody eggs without any concerning reasons. Approximately one in every 3-4 dozen eggs can be bloody without issues.
You will probably see an occasional bloody egg if you have many laying hens. It’s essential to track your bloody eggs and try to figure out which hen is laying them. If one hen consistently lays bloody eggs, it usually spells health issues with your hen. It also helps you identify the probable causes and take measures to support your hen.
Let’s dive into the most common reasons why hens lay bloody eggs.
1. Young Hens Will Often Bleed When They Start Laying Eggs.
The most common reason for a bloody chicken egg is when a young hen first starts laying eggs. Usually, her reproductive tract isn’t used to passing eggs, and she may break a blood vessel laying eggs.
This may happen on the first few eggs or occur early in her egg-laying after she has already laid non-bloody eggs. A new hen’s eggs will vary by size, and larger eggs can cause her to bleed.
As her vent stretches out, it will become very elastic, and she will stop bleeding. Most chickens won’t continue to bleed when they lay eggs because their bodies get used to passing the eggs without any broken blood vessels.
Solutions for young hens laying bloody eggs:
- Allow the hen to continue to lay; if the bloody eggs go away after 3 or 4, everything is good!
- Apply vaseline to the vent area to make it easier for her to lay eggs
- Warm-up her vent area, so her skin is more elastic
2. Bloody Egg Can Occur From An Irregular Egg
Larger than ordinary eggs, rough-shelled eggs, and thin eggs can also cause bleeding in hens. Irregular calcium in a hen’s diet can cause rough eggs that tear at the insides of the reproductive tract, oviduct, and cloaca.
Check the bloody egg and feel if it feels rough. If it does, this is likely the egg’s bloody cause. It also means that your hen needs greater access to calcium. Supplement their diet with oyster shells to provide the needed calcium.
Another cause is if the eggs are thin. Occasionally, a thin egg may break inside the hen. The rough breakage of the shell can rip or cut the insides of your hen’s reproductive ducts. A lack of calcium causes thin-shelled eggs.
- Rough eggshells can rip at the inside of a hen’s reproductive organs
- Thin eggshells can break inside the hen and cut her
The best solution to irregular shells is to supply your flock with a constant supply of calcium so that hens can eat as much as they need. They won’t overeat oyster shells but will instinctively know how much their body needs.
3. Older Hens Can Bleed On Eggs
An experienced, older hen can bleed on her eggs. Usually, this happens when she lays a larger than average egg and stretches her out, causing bleeding.
If the bleeding is occasional or shows streaks of blood, then there isn’t anything to worry about. She should continue to lay clean eggs without further blood issues on the eggs. But, if the eggs are severely covered in blood, it usually indicates a more significant health issue with the hen.
If an older hen lays an occasional large, bloody egg, there isn’t anything to worry about. But you could do the following things to ease her discomfort:
- Wash her vent area with warm water
- Apply hemorrhoid cream to her vent area
- Watch to make sure other hens are pecking at the red area
We’ll cover how to treat more serious issues later in this article.
4. Mites Can Cause Bloody Eggs
A less common issue that hens may face is with mites. Mites can infest a flock and bite and get under their skin and feathers. The rump is a popular area for mites to bite.
If a hen lays an egg and a mite get squished during the process, the blood from the mite can smear onto the egg.
Inspect your hen’s rumps, legs, and feathers for signs of mites. Hang a white cloth in your coop and inspect it for mites. If you find any mites on your hens or in the coop, you will need to take action to get rid of them.
Check out this article on identifying and getting rid of mites. Usually, good husbandry habits will keep mites away. Ensure your hens have enough room and the coop is kept clean.
5. Prolapse Causes Very Bloody Eggs
If you see lots of blood in the chicken’s egg, check your hen for prolapse. Prolapse in hens is a hazardous condition that usually results in the eventual death of the hen. Many of today’s chicken breeds were bred to lay a high number of eggs in a short amount of time.
That’s contrary to the heritage breeds, which would lay 2-4 eggs a week for many years.
All that increased egg-laying wears out the hen’s reproductive tract. As a result, prolapse (read bloody eggs) can occur.
What’s chicken prolapse?
Prolapse is when a part of the hen’s internal organs come out while attempting to lay an egg, making her rump very bloody and red. The part that comes out is usually the oviduct or egg-laying tube.
Having part of her innards on the outside is extremely dangerous for her. Other hens will usually start pecking at the red prolapse which can quickly cause her to bleed to death or introduce infection into her body.
When you have very bloody eggs, take the time to inspect the bottoms of all of your hens. Look for a hen with a very pecked bottom, red tissue coming out, or anything sticking out of the vent area.
Separate that hen immediately from the rest of the flock. If you have access to a vet that will treat chickens, it’s a good idea to get the help of a vet in treating prolapse. Most vets don’t treat poultry animals so you can also read about how to treat chicken prolapse here.
6. Bullying To The Vent Area Can Cause Bloody Eggs
The bum or vent area is an easy target for bully chickens. It’s more devoid of feathers than other areas and is an easy place for pecking.
Pecking at the bum area can cause a sore and red bum that can bleed on the eggs when the hen lays an egg.
Check bums for signs of bullying and feather plucking. If you see signs of bullying, then there are several steps you can take to stop bullies. Most of the time, bullying results from boredom and being cramped.
- Separate the picked on hen from the rest of the flock
- Treat the wounded area to stop the bleeding. I use Kwik Stop.
- Apply a first aid spray to turn the area purple, so hens don’t continue to peck at the area. I use Gentian or Lincoln Purple Spray for this.
Bloody Egg Frequently Asked Questions
Can Bloody Eggs Be Eaten Safely? Eggs that are bloody on the outside are safe to be eaten. Wash the eggs off and eat them as normal. If the eggshell is cracked, whether it’s bloody or not, avoid eating it. Instead, cook it and feed it to your hens.
Are Eggs With Blood Spots Safe To Eat? Some eggs may have an egg spot inside the egg on the yolk. Eggs with blood spots are safe to eat, although the blood may make it unappetizing. You can remove the blood spot with a fork or knife.
If a blood vessel bursts when the egg leaves the follicle, the blood spot will be in the white egg. If a blood vessel bursts when the egg is in the ovaries, the blood spot will be in the yolk.
Brown egg layers have a higher occurrence of blood in the egg than white egg layers. No one knows why.
Why Is There Blood In My Chicken Egg? Blood spots in chicken eggs are caused when the tiny blood vessels inside eggs burst. Those blood vessels eventually grow into chicks if the egg is fertilized. Stress, too much artificial lighting, and rapid temperature changes can cause this. Blood spots are harmless and don’t hurt the hen, although the egg won’t develop or hatch.
What Causes the White Spot on Egg Yolks? If you have roosters, you may also see a white spot or a bullseye in the yolk of an egg. The white bullseye occurs when the egg is fertilized and is the rooster’s DNA. It is harmless to eat.
Blood on Chicken Egg, Why? Blood on chicken eggs can occur due to various reasons. When a chicken’s blood vessels are strained, they can burst, leading to blood on the eggshell or blood coming out of the vent along with the egg. Larger or rough-shelled eggs, as well as thin eggs, can cause bleeding in hens. It’s important to note that a red blood spot in a chicken egg is typically a ruptured blood vessel. If blood on the eggshell occurs frequently or with every egg, it may be worth investigating further or consulting a veterinarian.
Resources Mentioned In This Article
These resources are items I regularly use in caring for my hens.
The Manna Pro Oyster Shells on Amazon are a great product. Oyster shells last a while. I was surprised by how long they last. The girls only need a little a day to stay healthy and have strong eggshells.
Hemorrhoid Cream: Any hemorrhoid cream will help with prolapse, but I’ve often used Preparation H.
Miracle Care Kwik Stop Styptic Solution: Kwik Stop is a powder that helps stop bleeding quickly. It is formulated for pets, including birds. It’s helpful to stop bleeding of wounds and help your chickens heal quicker. You can find Miracle Care Kwik Stop here on Amazon.
Lincoln Purple Spray: Purple spray turns a red or bloody area purple so that bullies in a flock stop pecking at the wounded area. It will help your hens to heal faster because it can heal undisturbed. You can find Lincoln Purple Spray on Amazon.
Gentian Violet Spray: This Gentian Violet Spray is approved for people or animals. In addition to turning the area purple, it is also an antiseptic and will help the wound heal faster. I prefer this even over the Lincoln purple spray because of its dual purposes. I also like that it can be used for people’s wounds. You can find Gentian Violet Spray on Amazon.
These related articles may also help you deal with hen health issues and other chicken questions you may have.
10 Ways To Get Your Chickens Laying More Eggs In 5 Days
Why Chickens Lay Rotten Eggs (How to Identify, Fix, And Prevent It)
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