So you are scrambling up some eggs for breakfast, but you notice something strange. You look a little closer, and you see that there is blood in one of the eggs you have cracked. Are chicken eggs with blood spots safe to eat? Let’s find out together.
What So Blood Spots Look Like?
Most chicken egg blood looks like small dark red to brown spots on the yolk. In some cases, the blood can look black if the eggs aren’t as fresh. But blood can also appear in the egg whites. Egg white blood can occur in small amounts or look as if the entire egg white is blood. Blood in the egg whites is usually brighter red and fluid.
Why Do Blood Spots Happen?
Blood in eggs is the result of blood vessels rupturing during the egg-laying process. Blood spots can happen in two different areas, and where they are, tells you where the blood vessels ruptured. They are the most common on the yolk. But they can also appear in the egg whites.
Blood spots in the yolk is a sign that the vessels ruptured in the ovary. That is why the blood looks darker because it’s older. And if you are wondering if they are safe, yes. Blood in egg yolk safe to eat. But if the idea of eating a bit of blood turns your stomach, you could always cut that part off.
In contrast, blood spots in the egg whites are signs that the vessels ruptured in the oviduct. These ruptures are newer and therefore retain the brighter red color. Again, the blood in egg white safe to eat. But if you don’t prefer to eat it, you could cut it out. This small amount of blood won’t change the flavor in either case, though.
How Common Are Blood Spots?
Blood spots can happen in every chicken breed. But brown eggs are the most prone to developing egg spots. Recent studies show that 18% of brown eggs developed blood spots. In contrast, only 0.5% of white eggs developed blood spots.
No one is certain why the egg color affects how common blood in egg is. There are several theories as to why this is. One idea is that chickens that lay brown eggs are usually production chickens. These chickens lay incredible amounts of eggs a year, which makes them more prone to reproductive health.
Another possible reason brown eggers are more prone to blood spots is their weight. Most brown eggers are heavier breeds and more prone to becoming overweight.
But if blood spots are this common, why have you never seen them before?
Why Don’t You See Blood In Commercial Eggs?
Blood in commercial eggs happens just as often as farm fresh. The only difference is that commercial companies process their eggs to prevent blood spots. How do they do this?
Essentially they use large machines that candle the eggs to spot deformities of any kind. This candling also detects blood spots, which are then thrown out. The USDA has ruled that all blood spots larger than one-eighth of an inch are not suitable for consumption.
You could use this same method at home before eating your eggs as well. But candling brown shells are a little more challenging than white eggs. So it’s more likely that a few blood spots slip through the inspection.
Do Blood Spots Mean A Fertilized Egg?
Some people mistake the blood spot for the fertilization site. But blood spots are not a sign that the egg is fertile. The telltale sign that an egg is fertile is the signature bullseye ring in the yolk. And in either case, these eggs are also safe to eat.
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Do Blood Spots Mean My Chicken Is Sick?
A blood spot in egg could be typical. But it could also be the result that something is wrong with your hen. The first thing to consider is your chicken’s age. Young chickens that have just started to lay eggs are prone to have blood spots. And older chickens produce more blood spots near the end of their laying years. Are chicken eggs with blood spots safe to eat at any age? Yes, they are.
If your chickens aren’t too young or old, you might want to examine their diet. In some cases, chicken egg blood is the result of vitamin deficiencies. Without calcium, your chicken could have trouble passing eggs. The more they strain during this process, the more prone to blood spots they are.
Vitamin A is also highly crucial for reproductive health. Your chicken feed should have at least 1,364 IU per lb of feed. Without enough vitamin A, your chickens will have a hard time developing yolks normally. This results in blood in egg yolks.
Your chickens could also be lacking vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for yolk development and forming a strong eggshell. Without vitamin D, your chicken could strain to create good yolks. And when you combine lack of vitamin D with cold temperatures, you increase the likelihood of blood spots.
And finally, a chicken egg with blood inside could be a sign of stress. Whether the cause of your chicken’s stress is environmental or the result of illness, it needs identifying.
How To Prevent Blood Spots In Eggs?
Preventing blood in egg is a challenging task to do. While blood isn’t common, it is a natural occurrence. Since it is natural, there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. The best you can do is give your chickens a quality diet and quiet nesting boxes.
The first part is examining your chicken feed. You should make sure that your feed is specifically for the age of the hen. If your hen has just started laying, she needs to be on layer feed with extra calcium. Crushed oyster shells are perfect for hens to graze for added calcium.
You should also look at the ingredients of your chicken feed. If your meal has a bunch of small grains, this could contribute to higher blood spot counts. Choose commercial feeds that have larger grains for easier digestion could reduce these incidences.
Feeding nutritious treats and allowing your chickens to graze is another excellent way to add vitamins. But if your chickens can’t free-range, you can do a few things to enrich their lives. Planting a garden inside the run attracts bugs and gives your hens fresh herbs to eat. And in winter, you can buy insects from your local pet store to enrich your chickens.
The other thing to prevent chicken egg blood is to give them a quiet laying space. Hens love to have a dark, secluded place to lay their eggs. So you will need to make sure your nesting boxes aren’t in direct light or noisy places. The reason this might help is that it relaxes your hen enough to lay her eggs without straining.
And the final preventative you can take is to make sure that your chicken’s reproductive health is strong. If your chicken is prone to be egg bound or often lays misshapen eggs, they are at higher risk of having blood spots.
What Should I Do With Chicken Egg Blood?
Are chicken eggs with blood spots safe to eat? Yes, but that doesn’t mean everyone is comfortable doing so. If the eggs are for your own consumption, you could cut it away with the tip of a spoon. There are a few cases where the blood has taken over the entire egg white. These cases are sporadic and obviously shouldn’t be eaten.
Most people have no problem eating the eggs after cutting away the blood. But for some, it still sounds unappetizing. In these cases, don’t waste an entire egg because of a little blood. You can scramble it up and feed it to your pets or chickens. Cats and dogs especially love scrambled eggs, and they don’t mind a little extra protein.
But if you sell or give your eggs away, you might not feel comfortable doing this. You could candle the eggs yourself and keep all the “imperfect” eggs for yourself. Or there is always the possibility of educating them on why it is natural and unpreventable.
How To Candle Eggs
Candling your eggs at home doesn’t have to be a sophisticated process. All you need is a strong flashlight and a dark room. Once you have collected your eggs, take them into a dark room, and shine a flashlight under them. If you have brown eggs, we recommend a bright LED flashlight.
What you will want to look for are dark spots in the egg whites and yolk. If the egg whites are discolored, this is a sign that the blood spots have dissolved into it and spread. You will also see a darkened area where the yolk is. If there are darker areas on the yolk, these areas are the dense blood spots. You can then easily separate these from the rest.
Are chicken eggs with blood spots safe to eat? Yes, they are. It might be a little surprising the first time you see it. But you shouldn’t feel bad about eating a small amount in the egg. You won’t even taste it.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!