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How an Egg is Formed - Egg Anomalies - Abnormal Eggs - Egg-cellent Information

Updated on January 17, 2015
Chicken egs come in various sizes and colors.
Chicken egs come in various sizes and colors. | Source

I grew up on a farm and all of our chickens laid the normal everyday white to brown eggs. Nothing fancy, just your normal ordinary eggs. Then I discover that chickens actually lay colored eggs, most lightly tinted greens and blues, but colored. That intrigued me.

Then the other day I ran across an egg anomaly that looked like it just couldn’t possibly be real. It had to be fake photography or something. It was called an egg inside an egg. As I researched further I discovered there are many egg anomalies that I had never heard of. But before we discuss these anomalies, it is good to understand the egg laying process.

Egg Laying Process

It takes approximately 10 days for a yolk to mature within a follicle in the hen’s ovaries before it is then released into the infundibulum where it is fertilized by stored sperm.

From there it is funneled into the magnum where more than 40% of the egg white is formed, and into the isthmus where more egg white is produced and the shell membrane is created, then into the shell gland pouch where approximately 40% more (the balance of) egg white is added along with the egg’s shell.

In the vagina, the outer part of the egg’s shell is formed. The egg is passed from the body through the vent.

An Egg Takes Its Time

Ovulation usually takes place in the morning. The total time it takes for an egg to form is anywhere between 24-26 hours. The white of an egg takes about 3-1/2 hours to form. The shell membrane takes approximately another 1-1/2 hours. The process is finished when the shell has been formed.

Double Yolks +

I have seen some double yolked eggs, or double yolkers. These are generally produced by a young hen (pullet) who has recently started laying eggs and whose reproductive system has not yet gotten the timing of their yolk production correct, releasing two at once. If multiple yolks are present two is the norm; however an egg has had up to nine! In the video below they are cracking open a double and a triple yolker! Notice how big the eggs are compared to how big the others in the carton are.

No Shell

I remember getting a few of these when gathering eggs. These eggs felt a whole lot like a water balloon, just a little firmer; and the membrane feels tougher and more textured than the surface of a balloon. The membrane can be quite translucent.

As an egg is formed, after the membrane is secreted, a shell is supposed to be formed around this. If things don’t flow just right, the egg can slip through without producing a shell.

Egg Within an Egg

Double shelled eggs are so rare that no one knows why they happen. It is thought that they might be formed when an egg becomes reversed or stopped in the reproductive system and joins with another egg that is also passing through. This video shows someone discovering an egg inside an egg. (They knew something was up because of the size of the egg.)

Odd-shaped Egg
Odd-shaped Egg | Source
A Very Long Egg
A Very Long Egg | Source

Odd-Shaped Eggs

Odd shaped eggs like those seen to the right are an accident.

The egg in the top picture did not rotate properly in the oviduct and much of the shell material was deposited in one location.

The egg pictured in the bottom picture is over 2-1/4” (5.7 cm) long and less than 1-1/4”(3.2 cm) diameter in the middle.

A spoon-shaped egg was found in China that was 3.3” (8.5 cm) long and varied in diameter from 1/2"-3/4" (1.3-1.9 cm)! Another egg found in China had what appeared to be a tail.

No Yolk

Eggs with no yolks (no-yolkers) are also called “dwarf eggs”, “cock eggs”, “wind eggs” or more commonly “fart eggs”. This type of egg is usually the result of a hen’s first attempt at laying eggs. Because these eggs lack the yolk, they are smaller than your typical egg.

The term "cock egg" is interesting because when the term was developed people really thought they were laid by roosters and that was why they had no yolk (Yolk indicates fertility).

This wraps up our egg hunt. Do you have an unusual egg you would like to feature in this article?

Comments: "How an Egg is Formed - Egg Anomalies - Abnormal Eggs - Egg-cellent Information"

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    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      6 years ago from Texas

      I grew up on a farm, and have seen most of the anomalies myself, but I also have never seen a double shelled egg. It would be interesting to run across and this anomaly could be undetectable and slip thru the inspectors. Thanks so much, astonerattnet!

    • astonerattnet profile image


      6 years ago from South Central PA

      I've had the 'no shell' and of course the 'double yolkers' but can't say I've ever seen the double shell.

      Imagine most of these anomolies are filtered out of the commercial food chain so people that get their eggs from the store wont ever see most of these. It's a shame how disconnected from their food people are today.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Marcy - I remember some of the eggs that had the membranous shell from my days on the farm. And then also, I remember those that are misshapen with ridges. I don't remember any with two yolks or no yolks, and the egg in an egg is even stranger. But it is these oddities that keep life interesting! Thanks so much!

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      7 years ago from Planet Earth

      When I was growing up, we used to see double-yolked eggs even in the ones delivered to the house. Not very often, but enough that I remember it. Once in a while, the chickens at my grandparents' place would produced two yolks in an egg, but rarely. I haven't seen one in years. I'd never heard of the eggs without yolks or the ones with no shell.

      As always with your hubs, this is excellently researched and written - great work! Voted up and shared on Pinterest!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Movie Master - you do seem to come by after here, but I'm just glad you stop by. I think she is here late at night after I have published and then you follow the next morning. Thanks for stopping by and for the votes!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      They rarely lay non-shelled eggs, but they are kind of creepy. Hope you are able to get your chickens. It's satisfying to produce your own food - more work but satisfying. Glad you found the article useful.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi homesteadbound, it seems I am always trailing behind cloverleaf!!

      Very interesting and I've learnt loads! eggs without a shell, eggs with 9 yolks!

      Many thanks for sharing and voting up.

    • LABrashear profile image


      8 years ago from My Perfect Place, USA

      Lots of great information! We're actually thinking of getting a few layer hens. I think I'll make my husband gather the eggs - in case of any creepy non-shelled eggs. :) Thanks for sharing. Going to bookmark and voting up!

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Cloverleaf- It's hard to imagine how a chicken could survive after laying one large enough to have that many yolks. Thanks for the votes.

    • Cloverleaf profile image


      8 years ago from Calgary, AB, Canada

      Hi homesteadbound. I had no idea that double yolks were even possible. I couldn't even imagine nine yolks! Great stuff, voting up and really interesting :-)

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      billabongbob - Thanks so much for stopping by and for the votes.

    • billabongbob profile image


      8 years ago from South Wales, UK

      Excellent hub homesteadbound, I've learned a lot about eggs. Voted up in every way ;).

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      truthfornow - so glad to share the unusual Mr. Egg with you.

    • truthfornow profile image

      Marie Hurt 

      8 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I learned stuff I didn't know about eggs. Very well-researched article. Thanks.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      AliciaC - I'm glad you enjoyed it. It sure would be interesting to see that spoon-shaped egg in real life, wouldn't it? Thanks for coming by!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      8 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your hub contains very interesting information and great videos, homesteadbound! I enjoyed learning about unusual eggs.

    • homesteadbound profile imageAUTHOR

      Cindy Murdoch 

      8 years ago from Texas

      thelyricwriter - they sure does have an amazing journey to make. It's pretty amazing to think it takes a whole day just to lay one egg. Thanks for stopping by!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Great hub. I never knew the egg had to take that path. It is truly amazing of all the different sizes of eggs. Bery informative. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Best wishes.


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