Trivial Pursuit: Egg Edition

Test Your Knowledge Of All Things Egg

A Pullet Is Born With All The Eggs She’ll Ever Lay

A pullet is born with two ovaries, but as she matures the right ovary remains undeveloped and only the left one becomes fully functional. That ovary contains all the undeveloped yolks the pullet was born with, which represent the maximum number of eggs she could lay within her lifetime.

An ovum is released within an hour of an egg being laid, then starts its journey through the reproductive tract. At any given time a hen will have a number of eggs at varying stages of development between her ovary and vent.

So what is this plate of weird eggs?

That my friends are the findings after a necropsy of a hen that died of reproductive tract issues. These were all the eggs that hen was working on at the time of her death.

Necropsy Photo (eggs at various stages of development)
Eggs At Various Stages Of Development (Credit: Barbara Hewett Worley)

Fresh Eggs

When you find an egg right after it was laid, it feels warm. That’s because a hen’s body temperature is about 41c/106f. When the warm egg enters the world and cools to ambient temperature, an air space begins to develop between the two shell membranes.

If you put a fresh egg into a bowl of water, it will sink. The older the egg is, the larger its air space becomes, until eventually the egg will float — an easy trick for determining whether or not an egg is fresh. Because older eggs have larger air cells, they’re much easier to peel than fresh eggs.

Cloudy egg whites mean that the eggs are extremely fresh, while clear egg whites are an indicator of older eggs.  Cloudiness of raw albumen (white) is due to the natural presence of carbon dioxide that hasn’t had time to dissipate through the shell. As the egg ages, carbon dioxide escapes and the white becomes more transparent.

Store your eggs pointed side down. The air pocket at the top helps to keep the yolk centred within the egg and prevents the air pocket from rupturing, reducing the risk of the egg spoiling.

Float Test For Freshness
Float Test For Freshness

Fertilized Eggs

Hens will lay eggs whether or not they’ve ever seen a rooster, who are only required for fertilization of eggs. Roosters are a great addition to a flock: they mediate conflict, warn of predators, search for food & make for fabulous eye candy. A rooster doesn’t impact egg laying (i.e. when a hen starts to lay, how many eggs she lays).

Some folks get weirded out about eating fertilized eggs. Don’t worry, unless your egg has already started to be incubated you’re not in danger of eating a developing embryo. If you’re curious about whether your eggs are fertilized or not, crack them open and look for the bull’s eye.

Meat or Blood Spots

Every once in awhile you might find an egg with a meat (or blood) spot which are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel on the yolk surface when it’s being formed or by a similar accident in the wall of the oviduct. They may not look appetizing, but they are fine to eat.

Blood Spot
Blood Spot

Egg Oddities

If you buy your eggs in the store they have been inspected and the imperfect ones don’t make it to market. There are all kinds of anomalies in egg shells caused by a wide array of reasons. For a more complete look, click on my weird eggs post.

Egg Sizes

Eggs come in a variety of sizes. If you buy your eggs from a store they have been graded and are sorted by weight and colour. My egg customers get a variety: I do sort them by colour, but am not concerned about weight. One day you might get a smaller pullet egg and the next you might luck out and get a double yolker.


Egg laying drains calcium from the hen’s body. Their comb, wattles, legs, and ear lobes will fade as the calcium leaches out so it must be replaced through various sources containing calcium. Supplements such as oyster shell, crushed egg shells, calcium rich foods or high amounts of calcium in the soil of birds with outdoor access all work.

My customers save their washed eggshells for me to crush and feed back to the hens for added calcium. I also make sure to give them high protein layer pellets, yoghurt and protein rich foods.

Customers' Returned Egg Shells
Customers’ Returned Egg Shells

Health Benefits From Eating Eggs

Info About Laying

Most hens are productive layers for two years before slowing down, but some continue to lay eggs for several years. One of my hens is 5 and still laying.

Hens need roughly 1/3 lb. of chicken feed, 10 ounces of water, 14 – 16 hours of light, and 25 hours to produce just one egg.

The production of a dozen eggs represents the collective hard work of a small flock of hens.


Related posts:  How To Store Eggs, What Makes Coloured Eggs Shells?, How An Egg Is Made and Impacts On Egg Production.

3 comments on “Trivial Pursuit: Egg Edition

  1. pam dineen

    An interesting read for a rainy morning Thanks Claire Hugs Pam

    On Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 2:37 AM Bitchin’ Chickens wrote:

    > Bitchin’ Chickens posted: “A Pullet Is Born With All The Eggs She’ll Ever > Lay A pullet is born with two ovaries, but as she matures the right ovary > remains undeveloped and only the left one becomes fully functional. That > ovary contains all the undeveloped yolks the pullet was born” >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. How long before an egg is laid can it become fertile?

    Liked by 1 person

    • All eggs are fertile. Do you mean how long after mating with a rooster do those eggs get fertilized? Count on a couple of days. A hen can store sperm for at least 2-3 weeks after mating.


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