Your poul­try: bad eggs

Some­times the hen house yields some real stinkers.

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Contents - WORDS SUE CLARKE

One of the main rea­sons for keep­ing a few hens in your back gar­den is for the eggs they will pro­duce.

Hu­mans have been fid­dling with the ge­net­ics of poul­try for thou­sands of years. We’ve cre­ated types that breed true in the last cou­ple of hun­dred years, and lab­o­ra­to­ries to re­fine egg and meat pro­duc­tion in the last 70 years or so.

The va­ri­ety of breeds of Gal­lus gal­lus has ex­panded to en­com­pass the var­i­ous needs of breed­ers and fanciers through­out the world, whether you like beau­ti­ful feather pat­terns, lots of eggs, or some­thing that makes a good roast.

One of the big fac­tors in all of that ge­netic med­dling is the kind of egg you buy in the su­per­mar­ket. Th­ese don’t vary in size much. For the most part they are uni­form in shape and shell, care­fully graded and se­lected, in­spected in­side and out, and you’ll only ever see per­fec­tion.

But when you keep your own flock, you know there are all kinds of anom­alies that can be pro­duced by your hens. Some are weird and won­der­ful pro­duc­tions, and some are pretty dis­gust­ing. It pays to know what caused them, and to know if it’s fix­able and whether you can you still eat it or not.

Eggs can be odd in a num­ber of ways: shell de­for­mi­ties, wrin­kles, de­posits, ‘ex­ten­sions’. Some­times the egg will have no shell at all or a very thin one. The shell may vary in colour from white to many shades of beige, brown through to rich ma­hogany, and then there are the shades of blue, green and olive. Shell colour is de­pen­dent on genes and breed, but when a hen lays an egg in a colour that is faded com­pared to her nor­mal of­fer­ings, it can be due to a prob­lem.

In­ter­nally there can be in­clu­sions like blood spots, meat spots, some­times even another fully-shelled egg. If you have roost­ers, hope­fully you won’t find a par­tially-de­vel­oped em­bryo when you crack it open, or just as bad, a wrig­gling worm.

If a hen is roughly han­dled, stressed, caught or chased when an egg is be­ing formed, it can cause wrin­kles, crum­ples and cracks which then so­lid­ify.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.