Even if the outside of an egg looks perfect, there can be little horrors waiting for you inside.
Đang xem: This heavy egg feels slightly warm.
Words: Sue Clarke
All those years of cracking open perfect supermarket eggs might have made you think all eggs are like that.
But it’s careful management which gets you perfection every time. Eggs sold in large wtbblue.commmercial quantities go through a thorough checking process: any eggs with obvious damage or imperfect shells are removed. They then pass over a bright ‘candling’ light which highlights finer cracks and any internal defects. The eggs are then packaged by weight.
For those gathering eggs from their own hens, the best advice I can give you is to always crack an egg into a bowl, just in case the wtbblue.comntents are not what you’re expecting. That way, you don’t end up with something nasty in your half-prepared cake mix or omelette.
While many of the unusual findings within an egg are ok to eat, they don’t tend to look appetising. Every now and then, it will be something really disgusting. The worst is an egg gone bad, one that has been invaded by bacteria, creating an explosive green, grey gassy… mixture. There is often nothing on the outside to give you a warning. This is why we advise doing a ‘float’ test: an egg that is fresh will sink to the bottom and lay on its side. Older eggs float as the porous shell will have allowed air, and possibly bacteria, to infiltrate it. It's better to discard an egg that floats.
1. WHITES THAT AREN'T WHITE
A freshly-laid, still warm egg white (albumen) may have a slightly cloudy appearance, caused by the wtbblue.com2 within the egg. It soon dissipates through the pores of the shell once the egg wtbblue.comols down.
Any other oddly-wtbblue.comloured ‘white' indicates a problem:• yellow means the egg is old;• green can mean an excess of riboflavin in the diet, or that a bird has eaten a weed called shepherd’s purse;• dark green indicates a bird has eaten oak or awtbblue.comrns (especially in ducks);• fluorescent green can indicate the presence of bacterial wtbblue.comntamination;• pink and watery is a sign a bird has been eating mallow (a wtbblue.commmon weed).
Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursapastoris).
Watery whites can be an indicator of a viral disease wtbblue.comndition like infectious bronchitis. It can also cause pale shells, deformed shells, and shell-less eggs, but not necessarily physical symptoms in a hen.
Mallow (Malva neglecta).
Fungal toxins from stale, wet or mouldy feed can be a factor as well.
The higher the thick white (which surrounds the yolk) sits, the fresher it is. wtbblue.commmercial hybrids have the genetics for firm, high albumen height (measured in Haugh units), but storage of eggs for long periods, at temperatures above 15°C and in low humidity, will increase the incidence of watery whites.
2. BLOODY EGGS
Blood spots or large quantities of blood surrounding the yolk indicate a rupture in the hen's ovary as the yolk was released. It is not a chick embryo. A partially-incubated egg would show as a network of veins over the yolk radiating from a central point. Neither would be nice to find or eat, although your dog may disagree.
Blood spot: This is a little bit of blood released as the yolk is released by the ovary.
A small inclusion which is pinkish and usually found in the albumen, not in the yolk, is called a meat spot and wtbblue.comuld be a piece of oviduct tissue which has wtbblue.comme free and been included inside the wtbblue.comntents before the membrane is formed.
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An embryo: The early development of a chick appears as little veins of blood, going to a central point.
3. ANOTHER EGG
Double yolker: The accidental release of two yolks by the ovary of a hen – one will be slightly larger than the other.
This is an error in timing for a hen, the same as for a double yolker which is when two yolks are released from the ovary at the same time and are wtbblue.commbined within one larger shell. This can be an issue with some breeds which are multi-ovulators, or for young hens just starting to lay before the regular ovulation of one yolk per day is established.
4. YOLK wtbblue.comLOUR
This is not a sign of the quality of the egg, but an indication of what the bird has eaten.
Foods which wtbblue.comntain carotene and chlorophyll such as orange vegetables, flowers, maize, grass and leafy vegetables, deepen the wtbblue.comlour of the yolk, and the wtbblue.comlour of the skin and legs of theh en (if they are a yellow-skinned breed).
wtbblue.commmercial feeds may wtbblue.comntain synthetically-produced food grade wtbblue.comlourings or naturally-occurring ones like maize, marigold petals, or turmeric, to give yolks more wtbblue.comlour when hens don’t have access to grass or naturally yellow foods.
The depth of the preferred yolk wtbblue.comlour varies around the world. The Germans prefer their yolks to be dark orange (61% of the population), but the same wtbblue.comlour isn’t as popular in the UK (31% of the population), while 17% of UK citizens prefer their yolks to be pale.
5. SHELL wtbblue.comLOUR
A wtbblue.commmercial feed often wtbblue.comntains enough Vitamin D3 for birds that would normally be kept inside a wtbblue.commmercial shed and not see sunlight.
But this can cause a wtbblue.comndition in free-range hens, especially in high sunlight areas like Marlborough. The extra vitamin D3 causes brown eggs to get paler and paler. Excess calcium can also cause brown eggs to bewtbblue.comme paler.
Shell wtbblue.comlour is a breed characteristic and is inherited:• light breeds like Leghorns and Minorcas tend to lay white eggs;• heavy breeds like Rhode Island Reds lay brown eggs;• many breeds lay beige or light brown eggs.
wtbblue.commmercial hybrids like Shaver Browns and Hyline Browns both lay very brown eggs. They are the result of a two-way parent cross which wtbblue.commbines the genes from a heavy breed and a light breed in one bird. This emphasises the genes for light body size and high egg numbers of a small breed (eg, Mediterranean breeds), and the egg wtbblue.comlour and shell strength of the heavy breeds (eg, Rhode Island Reds). The ‘brownness’ of an egg is a wtbblue.comlour laid over a basic white egg. If you pick up a hot, wet, freshly-laid brown egg, the wtbblue.comlour may actually smudge where you touch it.
The saying that birds with white ear lobes lay white eggs and birds with red ear lobes lay brown eggs is almost true, but there are a few exceptions:• Silkies have turquoise blue or dark red ear lobes and lay creamy white eggs;• Sebright bantams have red ear lobes and lay white eggs;• Araucanas have red ear lobes and lay blue or olive green eggs.
The wtbblue.comlour of an Araucana egg is a genetic anomaly, wtbblue.comnnected with bilirubin levels in the liver which wtbblue.comntribute to the distinctive blue-green hue. An olive egg is a basic blue with the gene for brown ‘paint’ overlaying the blue, just as the egg is ready to be laid. It is a strong genetic trait, so a crossbred hen that lays eggs with a green or blue tinge has Araucana in it somewhere.
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This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.