Anyone out there who really knows about hens?

Abbi Vincent-Lloyd said she lost 30 hens on days when balloons were flying low over her Herefordshire farm.

She claimed the stress of seeing the enormous balloons overhead caused them to run for cover.

It is as they desperately try to find shelter that they bump into each other or their surroundings, exploding the eggs inside them, she said.


I thought that the shells of eggs only formed as it was laid? That they were soft and then hardened on exposure to the air?

Anyone know whether this story is even feasible?

6 thoughts on “Really?”

  1. “That they were soft and then hardened on exposure to the air?”

    They must not be that soft, or the process of laying would squeeze the contents too much and eggs would be sausage-shaped. Think about it…. 😉

  2. Some 40ish years ago, as a Scout, I was required to kill, pluck, gut, cook (in a self-made biscuit-tin oven) and eat a chicken.

    In one of those chosen for our group was (unexpectedly I think) a fairly mature pullet. Inside her we found many tens of eggs, even a hundred (with recognisable yolk and white) of a variety of sizes, so at various stages of development. There was one completely formed egg with shell (I recollect quite hard), which would presumably have been layed within a day or so. Another large egg had a partly formed shell. [So we had scrambled egg too, and did not have to shell them all.]

    I can well believe that severe shaking or bumping of hens would rupture some of the larger egg yolks, and even a partly formed shell, and that might be rather bad for the hen, as well as for the egg. Whether this would be a significant problem in the described circumstances is another matter.

    Best regards

  3. No, the eggs are laid with a hard shell. But if they were soft 30 minutes before lay I can’t say. I could stick a figure up a chook’s bum to check, but frankly my scientific interest in the question isn’t that intense.

    As to chooks dying because they bump into things…well I’ve got to say “not bloody likely”. Chickens take fright and the slightest thing, squabble and fight often (the pecking order needs to be defended). But its rare that any of this causes the slightest injury.

    But then maybe Aussie chooks are tougher than their namby-pamby British cousins.

  4. I think it’s a combination of these three things:-
    (1) The “compensation culture”
    (2) A bit of a wind-up
    (3) A stupid and news-greedy jounalist (probably a woman as I think it’s been first in the Faily Dail) who knows no science – or even any “biology” (a sort of stamp-collecting activity, unlike molecular biophysics.)

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