What Eggs-actly Do You Know About Eggs?

| 11/20/2015 11:36:00 AM

Rachel FalcoWhat really do you know about eggs other than they make a delicious breakfast? Well, Falco's Heritage Farm and Capper's Farmer are here to answer all your egg-related questions!

Eggs in the Nest

Production of an egg typically takes about 11-1/2 days. Typically, enough hormone is released to develop only one ova and one yolk. Young, first laying hens or old hens can develop more than one ova and yolk, which results in a double yolk or other eggy anomaly. On average, your chicken, duck or turkey hen needs to receive about 14 hours of light in a day in order to trigger the right hormones to start egg production. Once your hen receives this light, the next step consumes the most time. Once the hormones are released the ova ripens and yolk development occurs which takes about 9 days. Once the ova and yolk are developed, producing an egg takes about 24-1/2 hours. The egg white forms around the egg yolk, membranes are added to protect the egg and then the porous shell is formed around the yolk and white and lastly the bloom and tint is applied. A hen can only produce one egg per day, no more than that.

Egg shells are really cool things. The egg shell has millions of pores to help a baby bird breathe while it is developing. The hen produces a bloom, or coating, protecting and covering the shell, essentially blocking the pores so that bacteria cannot get into the egg before enough eggs are laid and before the baby bird begins to breathe. This means that if you do not wash your eggs (and are raising your own hens) the bloom will keep your egg fresh for a long time. An interesting little side-note on a particular breed of chicken, the Maran breed of chicken has never produced an egg with salmonella. Why, you may ask? The pores of a Maran shell are so small and they have fewer pores, that presumably bacteria cannot penetrate. If you do need to clean your eggs, you can replace the bloom by rubbing the shell with mineral oil and storing the eggs in a cool area, such as a cellar. Home-raised eggs do not have to be refrigerated, but greater care should be given if you do not refrigerate.

You have to be careful of age, heat and air when keeping your eggs fresh for eating. As an egg ages, the natural bloom breaks down and air passes through the shell and begins to break down the egg white. This is good for meringues, but is bad for a sunny side up fried egg. Heat breaks down the bloom faster, allowing bacteria to penetrate the shell, creating a bacteria incubator. This is bad news. Sometimes our hens lay eggs where they are not supposed to and thus you may find one of these bacteria bombs somewhere hidden in the bedding. Be careful, because they will explode with a pop and a smell you never wish to smell. Air is the biggest factor which influences the quality of an egg. Air ages and can provide a vehicle for the penetration of nasties, so take care if you keep your eggs longer than 25 days.

An Egg's Structure

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