If the white of an egg (or Albumen as it is correctly known) is watery, it is harder for a shell to be built correctly around it and can cause an egg shell to be wrinkled or have ripples on it.
As hens get older, the whites in their eggs will get thinner. This is especially true for high egg producing hens such as hybrid layers that can be producing upwards of 300 eggs per year in their first couple of years of life. For example, this is a typical problem with ex-battery hens who can suffer with watery egg whites as they become older.
Some diseases such as the viral disease Infectious Bronchitis (IB) can also affect the ability of the bird to produce thick albumen (egg white).
This can cause wrinkled egg shells, even years after infection because hens will carriers of the disease for life.
If a hen has a good diet of a good quality layers feed, doesn’t have any obvious health problems and has access to grit, there isn’t anything that can be done about wrinkled shells.
Are wrinkled egg shelled eggs safe to eat?
Eggs can still be eaten as normal, providing the egg shell doesn’t have any cracks in it. Broken eggs should be discarded as bacteria will have entered the egg.
I don’t waste cracked eggs. They are fed back to my hens. I will crack the egg open on the floor as a treat for them. If you do this, be careful to do it outside, away from nest boxes because you could be teaching them bad habits! Egg eating is a difficult vice to cure once it starts.
What about soft or shell-less eggs?
Here’s a short clip to show you what these look like.