Crazy Backyard Chicken Eggs

One of the fun things about keeping backyard chickens is the crazy egg sizes that they lay each and every day.

Before I had my own chooks, I had long forgotten that eggs are not the same size, shape, and colour as they are presented to you in the store bought egg carton.  It is amazing how easily one can be fooled into thinking this way brought on by familiarity and the stringent grading of eggs by commercial egg producers.  It they are too large, they get turned into other egg products like powdered eggs.

Such a waste.

After we established our flock, each day was a mystery as to what size and shape egg we would get from the chooks.  To this day we still get some weird ones.

The classic backyard chicken trick is the double yolker.  These eggs first appear as if they were laid by Emus, do to their massive size.  They are usually laid by young hens that are a few months after point of lay, but I have seen well fed older hens lay the same in the first year of laying.

Large 93 gm double yolk egg

93 gm Double Yolker

When I found this egg in the nesting box, from one of my new girls, I wondered if it was going to be a Double-yolker, the holy grail of backyard eggs!

Double-yolker cracked

93 gm Double-yolk egg cracked open

So we made sure that we could capture it for prosperity, and cracked it open on a plate.  Try getting one of these beauties in a store bought egg carton.  Not on your nelly!

Then there is the size between breeds, and what the changes in laying behaviour when chooks get old.

Backyard Chicken Eggs

L to R. ISA Brown, Pekin Bantam, Very old ISA Brown (Bunty)

Take these three for eggsample.  Our matriarch hen, Bunty, laid an egg the other day.  She is still top of the pecking order, and keeps all the other girls in line and she rarely lays these days.  Bunty is about 6 years old, which is well past the laying age for a commercial bread.  

I could tell it was her because she made such a fuss and noise after the monuments event that I thought that feral cats had gotten into Cluckingham Palace.  Thankfully not, it was just the old chook having a good day.  

So what weird and wacky variations have you experience with your backyard chicken eggs?

Comments

  1. Jessie says

    As a child when we first started keeping chooks we were stunned at the first eggs laid by our Isa’s (or similar breed). The eggs were golf ball sized and all of them were double yolkers! Yep, titchy egg, near on round and crammed with 2 yolks. Not so good for making a pav. ;) We also saw one egg aid that was all membrane and no shell whatsoever. That was the second egg laid by a school hatching experiement hen a friend gave to us. These days we get the duck eggs (although our girls are sitting again at the moment) which are large, slightly waxy and have a very tough membrane, the silky eggs which are tiny and brown or the Dorking eggs which are medium and white. We get a torpedo egg occasionally, all long and skinny but they’re fairly uniform. We shoudl start seeing our light Sussex laying soon too I hope.
    The best bit about home laid eggs is the colour though, Nothing like the golden yolk of an egg laid by a happy hen.

    • Gavin Webber says

      Great info Jessie. I remember when I cracked open our first home laid egg, and we couldn’t believe the colour of the yolk, and the firmness of the white. It was as if, for the first time in our lives, that we had discovered the essence of chicken!

  2. says

    We have had giant eggs and small fairy eggs, wrinkly eggs, soft shelled eggs and eggs with lumps on the shell. I love the eggs that our bantams lay they are always perfectly shaped, even in colour and lovely and smooth. Nothing beats home laid eggs.

    • Gavin Webber says

      Right on Fiona. Funny you should say that. Our bantams lay almost perfect eggs as well, albeit much smaller than all the other hens. I suppose it is all about proportion.

      As for the ISA Browns, they are all over the place with shape and size. It makes me wonder how much egg waste there really is in a commercial egg operation.

  3. says

    Gavin, long time lurker first comment. The best double yolker we had actually had the second yolk in a shell so one outer shell with a yolk and a whole egg inside. very weird…

  4. David Blake says

    Hello Gav,

    Early last year I bought 2 Point of Lay ISA browns from a local hatchery, and when I got them home was dismayed to see that they had been de-beaked, and as such are fairly useless as a backyard hen. I also obtained 2 Australorps, raised naturally on a local farm. Two years on and the Browns, unable to preen themselves properly due to the beak treatment, look like well used dish mops. The normal beaked Australorps are full feathered and shiny.

    It is sad to see a de-beaked hen trying to pick up grains of wheat, and their ability to forage green grass is severely limited due to this treatment. I believe some European countries have banned the practice.

    So, folks, always ask your hatchery or supplier if the hens have been de-beaked, and do not buy them if they have.

    regards
    Dave

    • Gavin Webber says

      The practice of debeaking certainly is a cruel one. Mind you, so is the practice of battery hens (caged) which apparently makes the debeaking necessary.

      Sage advice Dave

      • David Blake says

        Thanks Gav,
        I have just watched the video “Food, Inc”, and the treatment dished out to battery hens, broilers, and cattle in feedlots is appalling. Free range may be a bit more expensive, but the taste is there, not like the bland, chemical filled, factory farmed livestock.

  5. Kel says

    Hi! My lovely hen layed a 106gm one! and I was told that she was bred to be a ‘meat chicken’. Has been laying almost daily for a couple years, now!

  6. e says

    I have two Isa Browns, my very first hens ever. I love my two girls. It was a few weeks before they started laying, but then for quite some time they laid an egg each – so then we wondered how to get through all the eggs. But all good things come to an end, unfortunately, and they are only laying about 4 eggs a week between them. Not to worry. We built our hen run large enough to accommodate 18, although our council will only allow us to keep a maximum of ten. So next spring we will get another couple of hens.
    I love their eggs. We have almost always had very large eggs, around ninety grams each. One lays long, thin eggs, the other more rounded eggs. They have only ever produced one double yolker, even though their eggs have seemed large enough to contain at least three yolks.

    Not only do the eggs look better, taste better than store bought eggs, but they have helped us to think more about how we use the produce from our garden. Nothing beats a simple curry or stir fry of veggies served with eggs. Cheap as chips, and so healthy. Given we used to eat lots of meat, we are now saving money as well.

Comments build lively communities. Let me know your thoughts, but keep it clean and green! Spam is removed instantly.