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Fact About Chicken Egg

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Have you ever wondered how a chicken can lay an egg every day? Why some eggs are brown and some eggs are white? How many days does an egg take to hatch? Here are the answers to those questions and many more.

Hens and Eggs

  • Female chickens are called pullets for their first year or until they begin to lay eggs. For most breeds, around 20 weeks is a typical age for the first egg. ​
  • Some breeds lay eggs daily, some every other day, some once or twice a week. ​
  • Some individual hens never lay eggs, due to narrow pelvises or other anomalies.​
  • Normal laying routines can be interrupted by molting, winter daylight shortage, temperature extremes, illness, poor nutrition, stress, or lack of fresh water. Hens usually return to normal laying habits when the disruption-causing factor ends or is corrected.​
  • Most hens are productive layers for two years before declining in production, but some continue to lay eggs for several years.​
  • Hens will lay eggs whether or not they’ve ever seen a rooster. Roosters are necessary only for the fertilization of eggs.​

Egg development and laying process

  • A female chick is born with thousands of tiny ova, which are undeveloped yolks. Once she reaches maturity, an ovum will be released into a canal called the oviduct and begin its journey of development. ​
  • At any given time a productive hen will have eggs of several stages within her reproductive system. The eggs most recently discharged from the ovary are just tiny yolks, and the eggs farther down the oviduct are progressively larger and more developed.​
  • From the time an ovum leaves the ovary, it takes approximately 25 hours for the egg to reach the vent for laying. During that time period, the yolk will grow larger while being surrounded by albumen (egg white), wrapped in a membrane, and encased in a shell. The pigment is deposited on the shell as the last step of the egg production process. ​
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  • Young pullets often lay malformed eggs before getting established in a normal laying routine. Older hens may occasionally lay abnormal eggs due to age, stress, or illness.​
  • The first eggs produced by each pullet are smaller than the eggs that the same hen will produce as an older hen.​
  • “Fart egg” and “oops egg” are terms for tiny eggs that quickly pass through the oviduct without reaching full size. ​
  • Shell-less eggs are released before they have time to develop a shell. They may have membranes holding them together or just loose yolk and white.​
  • Double eggs or “egg in an egg” are created when an egg with a shell is encased by the next egg in the oviduct and a shell is produced over the outer egg as well.​
  • Double yolkers may have a normal amount of egg white with two or more yolks. In the shell, the egg may be unusually large.​
  • Yolkless eggs, also called no-yolkers, dwarf eggs, or wind eggs, consist of egg white alone.​
  • Occasionally an egg will come out with a wrinkly, misshapen, rough, bumpy, or unusually colored shell. ​
  • Egg size is dependent on breed, age, and weight of the hen. Larger chicken breeds tend to lay larger eggs; banty breeds lay small eggs. Older hens tend to lay larger eggs than younger hens.​
  • The shell color is a breed characteristic. Most chicken breeds lay light-to-medium brown eggs. A few breeds lay white, dark brown, green, blue, or cream-colored eggs. ​
  • Shell color is only “skin deep”– the eggs inside are the same as eggs of other colors.​
  • The shell color intensity of eggs laid by one hen can vary from time to time, with an occasional darker or lighter eggshell.​
  • While most eggs have a slight sheen to the shell, some breeds or individual hens tend to lay eggs with a chalkier texture.​

Chicken And Egg Behavior

  • Most hens will lay eggs in the same nest box as flockmates, so it’s not necessary to have a nest box for each hen.​
  • Some hens like to lay their eggs in private, and others join their sisters in the nest box. Often two or three hens will crowd into one box while another nest box remains empty.​
  • Sometimes a hen will sit on previously laid eggs and add her egg to the clutch. Another might prefer to sit in another area and deposit one egg by itself.​
  • Often a hen will sing “the egg song” before or after she lays an egg. Some will sing during the process of laying. It is a cheerful song that seems to be a proud announcement.​
  • Chickens learn by example, so a fake or real egg left in a designated nest box may encourage hens to lay there instead of on the floor or outdoors.​
  • Unconfined hens may lay eggs anywhere outdoors if they don’t want to return to the nest box. Sometimes a free-ranging hen will go missing and reappear weeks later with a parade of chicks.​
  • Chickens like to eat eggs, even their own. An egg that gets accidentally broken will likely be eaten by one of the chickens. If you occasionally find pieces of shell or egg yolk in the nest box, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about.​
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