The final step of an egg’s formation inside a hen is the application of an invisible coating. We chicken keepers call it bloom, but technically it’s the cuticle. Bloom consists primarily of 80 to 95% proteins. It also contains polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates that dissolve into simple sugars) and lipids (insoluble oily or greasy compounds). Lubrication […]Continue Reading
How Long Does It Take for an Egg to Hatch?
Precisely how long an egg takes to hatch depends on a lot of factors including species, breed, strain, conditions under which the egg was stored prior to incubation, and conditions during incubation. But whether you plan to hatch eggs in an incubator or under a hen you need a more definitive answer the question: How […]Continue Reading
Why Chicks Peep Before Hatching
Chicks, ducklings, and babies of other barnyard birds are precocial, meaning they are able to feed themselves almost from the moment of hatch. Precociality is the reason why chicks peep before hatching. The word precocial comes from the Latin word praecox, meaning early to mature. A fancier word for precocial is nidifugous — from the […]Continue Reading
What Causes Double Yolk Eggs?
In the normal course of events, two yolks appear in approximately 0.1% of eggs laid, or about one in every 1,000. So why are we lately hearing so much about those rare double yolk eggs? And what causes double yolk eggs in the first place? Causes of Double Yolkers A double yolk egg occurs while […]Continue Reading
Using Two Incubators to Optimize Egg Hatching
Whether or not using more than one incubator makes sense depends on how much hatching you plan to do and how many different chicken breeds or poultry species you wish to hatch. Most incubators for home use are designed for batch hatching. Sometimes, though, you might not want to wait until the eggs hatch before […]Continue Reading
Can Eggs Hatch Without a Rooster?
Most chicken keepers know that a hen will lay eggs whether or not a rooster is present. But a rooster is needed in order to get fertile eggs that will hatch. Less well known is that eggs can hatch without a rooster. Virgin Birth Virgin birth, or parthenogenesis, is the process whereby an unfertilized egg […]Continue Reading
15 Functional Properties of Eggs in Recipes
Perhaps the greatest tribute to eggs is the vast number of ways they are incorporated into recipes around the world. Many recipes call for eggs as a functional ingredient, used to perform such services as binding other ingredients together, clarifying liquids, or causing baked goods to rise. Here are 15 functional properties of eggs in […]Continue Reading
Ducks for Eggs: How to Keep Your Ducks Laying Well
How many eggs your ducks lay, and for how many years, depends on several factors. Most of these factors are easily within your control as the ducks’ keeper. Here are six considerations that influence how to keep your ducks laying well. Breed and Strain Some duck breeds, or strains within a breed, lay better than […]Continue Reading
Why Are Some Egg Yolks More Yellow Than Others?
Egg yolks get their golden yellow color from the same plant pigments that result in the skin color of yellow-skin breeds. These pigments are also responsible for beak and bill color in chickens and ducks, and for their brightly colored feathers. The pigments are of two main types— carotene and xanthophyll. Carotene is orange to […]Continue Reading
No Guarantees When Ordering Hatching Eggs by Mail
Eggs that are sold specifically for hatching are called, fittingly enough, hatching eggs. They cost more than eating eggs but come with no guarantee they will hatch. Too many variables are not under the seller’s control. Even eggs laid by your own hens, or otherwise sourced locally, are not guaranteed to hatch. But when hatching […]Continue Reading