Posts Tagged ‘eggs’

A hen lays an egg every day.
True. Hens generally lay around the same time of day, usually in the morning. To get more technical, it takes about 25 hours for an egg to form and travel through the oviduct, causing the hen to lay her egg a little later each day. As the cycle progresses, she will skip a day (hens don’t lay eggs in the evening) and start a new cycle. A group of eggs laid during one cycle is called a “clutch.”

A hen will lay eggs all its life.
Maybe. A young hen, called a pullet, will start laying eggs at 6 months until its first moult. It will then resume laying eggs in the second year at 80% of its previous rate, then 60% of that year’s rate in the year after that. After 3 years, laying drops off. But a hen can keep laying eggs for several years after, just not every day. Older hens usually stop laying eggs, but some might keep laying an occasional egg.

A very big hen lays the big double yolk eggs.
False. A pullet, or young hen, that doesn’t have a regular laying cycle can occasionally lay double yolk eggs. That happens when ovulation happens inconsistently, and one yolk joins the next as the egg develops. (Some breeds will regularly lay double yolk eggs.) Of course, a double yolk egg is much larger than a normal sized egg. Sound painful? Not really. The egg comes out soft and its shell hardens in contact with air.

An old egg will float in water, but a fresh egg will sink.
True! A fresh egg will sink in a bowl of water, but as it gets older, it will start to stand up. A very old egg will float. Don’t eat that one! Inside the egg is a small air pocket at the blunt end. Eggshell is porous to air, and as the egg ages, more air will slowly seep in, and make the air pocket bigger.

The best place to store eggs in the refrigerator is on the door.
False! Keeping eggs in the refrigerator door is bad, because every time you open the door it changes temperature — hot, cold, hot, cold. Always store eggs in the carton with the pointy end down. To keep eggs fresh longer, find a spot for them on the shelf where the temperature is cool and consistent.

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White chickens lay white eggs, and brown chickens lay brown eggs.
Not true! The color of the egg is determined by the color of the hen’s ear lobe. White ear lobes indicate white eggs, and red or pink earlobes indicate brown, blue or green eggs, depending on the breed. Some brown breeds, like Rhode Island Red, will lay brown eggs, but other varieties of brown hens don’t. Cuckoo maran hens, which have black and white speckled feathers, lay dark brown eggs, with shells so dark in color they are called “chocolate” eggs.

So does that mean that green chickens lay green eggs?
Sort of. Araucana hens will lay green, blue, and pinkish beige eggs. They do not have green, blue or pink feathers. Look at their feet! Instead of white, yellow or gray, their feet are blue or green, ranging from pale to deep in color.

Speckled eggshells mean the hen was stressed.
Maybe. Certain breeds consistently lay speckled eggs. Or the dark brown speckles could be tiny flecks of blood that were deposited on the egg as it traveled through the oviduct. It just happens sometimes, no worries. The hen is ok and the egg is good to eat. If a hen is stressed, such as when she is moulting (seasonally shedding feathers) or getting henpecked (ever hear of pecking order? it’s real), she will stop laying eggs for a while.

Farm interns Donna and Jon pack eggs.

A blood speck next to the yolk of an egg means that the egg is fertilized.
Not true! It means that a little bit of blood got inside the shell as the yolk was developing. You can tell if an egg is fertilized only if you hold up the egg to light (candling) to see if an embryo is forming. The egg needs to be incubated in warmth (under the hen in a nest, or in an incubator) for the embryo to develop.

An orange yolk is more nutritious than a yellow yolk.
Mostly true. But, some breeds, like the araucana, lay eggs with a light colored yolk. A deep yellow or orange yolk egg generally comes from a pastured or free range hen, which has a chance to eat a variety of nutritious things, including plants and bugs. Marigolds have carotenoids which make egg yolk color darker. An orange yolked egg is not necessarily fresher than a lighter yolked egg.

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Fluffy chicken feet

Fluffy chicken feet

Fluffy chicken feet

These feet belong to a young hen which is most likely a cross between Auracana and Buff Cochin. The Auracana chickens have lovely tan feathers edged in black, and the Buff Cochin rooster gave her his feathery, fluffy feet. Most likely this young lady is laying blue and green eggs, another Auracana trait. If you’ve been getting eggs this summer, some might have come from her.

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