Multiple friends have shared with me this series of photos—which I’m dubbing Egg-ception—showing an Australian farmer who discovers a somewhat freakish egg-within-an-egg. They’re sharing these photos with me because they know I am a crazy chicken lady, and they know I will be able to explain this bizarre sight without resorting to Google.
See, as I’m typing this, I’m listening to the squawking of my five backyard chickens, who are right now eating a breakfast of layer feed and dried mealworms. Soon they’ll crank out their eggs, and I’ll round up three or four to add to my refrigerator.
Having backyard chickens mean occasionally finding odd eggs: small, perfectly round eggs; oblong eggs; eggs with white spots; eggs with two yolks. But admittedly, my hens have never laid an egg within an egg. Thank goodness, then, that I happen to have the September/October 2017 issue of Hobby Farms’ Chickens magazine handy, including its article on “Odd-Shaped Eggs & What They Mean.”
The article, written by Kathy Shea Mormino, states that an egg within an egg “occurs when an egg almost ready to be laid reverses engines and backs up into the reproductive tract, where it meets the next egg in progress. The first egg receives more albumen [the clear liquid that suspends the yolk], membranes and shell before being laid. The cause isn’t known.”
She goes on to say that this phenomenon perhaps is more common than we’d think. Likely there’s nothing at all wrong with the hen (or “chook” in British/Australian parlance) who laid it; she was just experiencing a blip in her lady parts. Got any other pressing chicken questions, readers? Now you know who to ask.