Hazelville Hens

Fresh "Organic" Eggs

Rogue Quail?? hmmm…

Posted by Momma Hen on Feb-27-2010

Saturday February 27, 2010

This morning I opened the nesting box to find the tiniest egg ever! (Image shows tiny egg against normal sized egg.)  Could a quail have snuck into the coop?? Truely, this egg looks like a quail egg. Comparing this tiny one to the gigantic blue egg I found a couple months ago (thought it was from a baby ostrich), and it all made me wonder about the mechanics of egg laying. Of course, I referred back to my latest ‘Backyard Poultry’ magazine, which had an article called ‘The Laying of an Egg, An Amazing Process’.  Just in case you’re interested, here’s a somewhat quick synopsis of said article. When a pullet (hen) starts life, her ovary contains the beginnings of all the eggs she will lay during her lifetime. Estimates range from 2,000 -4,000, but most hens lay about 1,00 eggs in their lifetime. The undeveloped egg yolks are clustered  along her backbone, approximately halfway between her neck & tail. Depending on the hen’s age & how long she’s been laying, the yolks will range from head-of-a-pin size to nearly full size egg. At any given time her body contains eggs at different stages of development. Approximately every 25 hours, one yoke is mature enough to move into the oviduct- they call this ovulation & it happens within an hour of an egg being laid. When the yoke is in the oviduct- which is 2′ long- it can be fertilized only if sperm are present, encased in layers of egg white, wrapped in  protective membranes, sealed within a shell and finally enveloped in a fast-drying fluid coating called bloom. (stop reading if this is too gross) Anyway, at the end of this process the hen poops out the egg. And-just so you are clear on this, yes, chicken poop does come out of the same opening but never at the time of egg laying.  One interesting fact about double yoke eggs. This occurs when ovualtion happens too rapidly, or if one yoke moves down the oviduct too slowly and is joined by the next yoke. Double yokers are typically laid by young hens before their production cycle becomes well synchronized. Sometimes an egg can contain more than 2 yokes. I haven’t seen more than 2 yokes with my hens, but apparently 3 yokes is not uncommon. The greatest number of yolks recorded is 9 in one egg. Wow! I definitely will post that if it ever happens here at Hazelville. Maybe we could gain some fame? (spot on Letterman) Maybe even some fortune? I’m totally down with that.


Momma Hen

  1. Robin Moore Said,

    Wow, this was so fascinating I couldn’t stop reading even though I’m eating my lunch! I’d always wanted to know how hens laid their eggs, but never had the guts to ask, so thanks for explaining, so interesting! I bet the girls are enjoying this gorgeous pre-spring day! Hey, that’s how we’ll survive the winter duldrums, we’ll just consider it “Pre-Spring”!

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