Twiggy’s Egg

Supermarket eggs come from hens that are the same age (young!) and the same breed. Still, there are variations, but you never see them because they’re sorted out before packaging. Any egg with spots, inside or out, are diverted to processed products. Because of this, consumers believe that eggs must be uniform, or they’re not good.

Those of use with backyard hens know that eggshells can have bumps and odd colors, and that eggs can be strange shapes, elongated or pointed, and still be healthy to eat and delicious. However, it is true that the older the hen, the poorer the quality of the egg. I’ve found that eggs from hens older than three years of age tend to have a grainy texture and that the whites are thinner. They’re fine for use in baked goods, but they’re not good hard-cooked or poached.

Twiggy’s eggs are another story. She’s three years old. The other hens that age lay beautiful eggs – upright yolks, sturdy whites and thick-enough shells. But, for more than two years, Twiggy hasn’t had a break in her overly-ambitious laying schedule. Her egg shells are dull, not glossy, and they’re thin, too. Inside, I’m seeing some odd things.

weird egg


A fresh egg should have a stringy white bit called the chalazae. This is what centers the yolk in place. (As an egg ages, it disintegrates which is why you seldom see the chalazae in older eggs from the supermarket.) But this? This chalazae is all wrong. It’s a mass.

Cracked into the pan, you can clearly see the difference between Twiggy’s egg and that from Beatrix, who is exactly her age.

Twiggy egg


They have access to the same food, and yet Beatrix’s yolk is a deeper orange. Look at how thin and clear Twiggy’s white is. You usually see that in an egg that has been stored for weeks, not in an egg laid the day before.

Are these eggs edible? Yes. But I feed them to the dogs.

I don’t know how long Twiggy can keep this up. I found one long white feather in the run. A sign that Twiggy is going into the molt and will be taking a break? I hope so!


  1. A lumpy chalazae shows up regularly in my supermarket eggs. Woohoo! The fun part is that, one time, I had someone insisting quite loudly that that was rooster sperm and needed to be removed from the egg before cooking ’cause you couldn’t eat rooster sperm! :D

  2. My little red sex link hen has taken only 2 days off since she started laying 18 months ago. All of her eggs have been perfect. She has never molted. Wish my other 3 (of various breeds) were that dedicated!

  3. My mother always told me the white clump was rooster sperm and to remove it. All these years I did so, it’s not true?

  4. I know it’s not sperm, but my 8th grade home-ec (kids now don’t know what that is) teacher taught us to remove it, so I usually do. As a nurse, it reminds me too much of things that I’ve suctioned out of tracheas… Love eggs, but the chalazae’s gotta go :-)

    • If you’re making a classic French omelet, you remove the chalazae, too, as they ruin the texture. I worked at a restaurant where I had to strain the eggs for the brunch service.

  5. Feel so sorry for Twiggy, I have same problem with my 2 Magpies which I think are hybrids even though I was told they were a rare breed to match my other 4 rare breeds. I picked rare breeds for the exact reason that they do not lay themselves to death and will take a good rest. If you remember we discussed Maggie because she was having trouble with her eggs and Blackie the other one was laying thin shelled eggs, they have been laying 5-6 eggs each every day for over 2 years. In desperation I went back to something I used many years ago, Battles Poultry Spice which is a mineral supplement its 24% Calcium + lots of other good stuff, its a powder which is very easy to mix in the pellets and the girls love it. The results have been brilliant their shells are now nice and solid and the 2 hens don’t look so run down, also the minerals seem to be helping the one’s that are molting, their new feathers are coming through really shiny and beautiful. Would a supplement help Twiggy as she must be running on empty when it comes to the calcium levels left in her body ??
    Hoping our 3 girls go into a proper molt and rest till next spring…:)

    • Poultry Spice gets a ‘yay’ from my girls too! Been using it for years and all have lovely red combs.
      Older hens occasionally lay thinner-shelled eggs, but that’s part and parcel of having an ‘all-age’ flock!

  6. A lot of gals swear a day at the spa is as good as a mini-vacation. Maybe that along with a plate of Italian food( that is her heritage after-all), and Twiggy will feel like a new girl, not just a `super model` of a layer chicken.

  7. Really, really, REALLY hope Twiggy takes a break! Her egg looks like my 4 year-old BSL’s eggs before she finally took a break last year, due to a hard molt. In January. Temps at night were -27C. Not fun for her – or me – being in the laundry room inside for a week.

  8. We have a great brand of supermarket eggs here in Australia now – the chooks are free range and they even have a webcam where you can go and watch them. They allow eggs with spots and the eggs are a gorgeous brown colour – plus, the yolks are a lovely sunny orange. If my girls are not laying, these are a decent substitute. :)

    • The best one’s I have had to match my girls eggs used to come from South Africa to England by plane and were sold by Sainsbury’s, but that was 40 years ago. They must have been a few days old but sat upright in the pan, were deep orange and flavoursome. :)

  9. HI Terry. off blog just seen your weather, hoping you and family do not get hit by hurricane Joaquin over the weekend, looks a nasty one. Please be safe..:)

  10. Interesting Terry. Hope Twiggy gets a rest soon.
    It is also interesting to note what other people around the world think about the makeup of eggs. My parents are in their mid 80’s and both had chickens growing up. My mother scratches out the white dot in her commercially bought eggs because that is “where the rooster has been.” LOL. They insist that those eggs are fertile.
    Side off blog, hope your weather doesn’t turn nasty as well. We have about an hour or two window of sunshine today (happy chickens & dog) then more rain. We’ve had rain for the last five days and looks like we are going to get hammered by this storm moving in. My bottom land looks like a small lake already-oh well :)

  11. It looks like Twiggy’s egg has a “mini-me” yolk at the bottom right side of the opening. She needs a rest from the egg laying so that she can grow back her glossy plumage. Fingers crossed it happens soon and she is not running around nude in the winter.

  12. Poor Twiggy. Seems like a nice restful molt is what she needs before winter. Lets hope.