Easter is fast approaching, and eggs have been a traditional symbol of the holiday for thousands of years. But what about unusual eggs and egg oddities?
Take a look at this truly bizarre egg:
As you can see in the video, the
whole, un-cracked egg is much larger and heavier than a regular-sized
egg, and when opened - as well as its own yolk and white - it also
reveals a ‘hidden’ egg inside, which is also then cracked to reveal a
yolk and a white.
According to Richard Kempsey, Farms Director at Clarence Court, this is a rare occurrence, but can be down to an upset in the hen’s ovulation sequence or as a result of a shock.
He explains: “The hen’s egg takes around 20 hours to complete its journey down the oviduct. The eggshell is formed round the egg in the last quarter of the oviduct. Very rarely the complete egg becomes stationary in the oviduct where a young hen gets its sequence wrong or suffers a shock. A complete new shell is then formed around the already complete egg resulting in an ‘egg within an egg’”.
He adds that although unusual, the egg is safe to eat, “But you would have to crack two shells”.
Here is a look at some other weird egg phenomena.
The bowling-pin shaped egg
There have been reports of weird-shaped eggs, one of the strangest being an egg shaped like a bowling-pin. Bowling-pin shaped eggs have been found in the UK (2009) and in China (2010). Experts say that oddly-shaped eggs can be caused by hormonal imbalances, diet or even stress. Chris Reeks, from La Hogue Farm Foods near Newmarket, explains: “If a plane flies low over a chicken field this can stress the chickens and affect the normal egg development in the ovary duct resulting in a funny shaped egg. This doesn’t mean the egg is unhealthy to eat.”
The egg without a shell
Sometimes, an egg can be laid without a shell, resulting in a very fragile, wobbly egg contained by a thin membrane. It can be fairly common and is thought to be down to calcium levels in the diet of the hen, which is needed to produce the egg shell.
Supersize eggs in supermarkets
As well as their usual range of eggs, this year Waitrose will be stocking some more unusual seasonal eggs from Clarence Court, including turkey eggs, goose eggs and massive ostrich eggs. Turkey eggs are said to be good for baking, while the ostrich egg, priced at £19.99, takes an hour and a half to hard-boil and feeds fifteen adults.
The largest and the smallest bird eggs in the world
The ostrich produces the largest bird’s egg in the world, which weighs in at around 1.3kg per egg. The smallest egg in the world is the size of a small pea and is laid by the bee hummingbird, a tiny bird native to Cuba which measures only 5cm long from tip of bill to tail.
Huge 120g egg laid by Matilda the hen
Mark Cornish – or rather his hen Matilda – hit headlines in February 2010, when he discovered a whopping 120g egg that had been laid in his garden. According to an article in The Ipswich Evening Star, the egg measured 90mm in length, had a circumference of 210mm and weighed six times more than a regular egg. “My first thought was whether Matilda was OK after laying such a huge egg”, Mark told the paper, “but she seemed completely non-plussed by it all”. However it seems that this might not be the largest egg laid by a hen - there have been reports in China of a hen’s egg weighing an astonishing 170g.