Brown eggs, white eggs, big eggs, little eggs – which eggs are best? How do you get brown eggs? These are just some of the most common questions that I get asked. In my own barn, I raise brown leghorn layers that produce brown eggs, but for many years I also raised white leghorns that produced white eggs.
And before you ask, brown cows don’t make chocolate milk!
Interesting Fact #1 – Did you know that it takes between 23 and 26 hours to lay an egg? During that time the yolk is developed, as well as the albumen or egg white, the shell membrane and the egg shell.
Interesting Fact #2 – Do you ever wonder what that white stringy thing is when you’re separating the egg white and yolk? That is the chalazae, which connects the yolk to the shell membrane so that it stays centered in the egg.
Even though we mostly see brown or white eggs in the store, there are breeds of chickens that lay eggs with green or blue shells. For my hens, they produce a pigment called porphyrin, which is added during the shell-formation portion of the egg development, causing the shell color to be brown. Not all the eggs have the exact same color; their shells are just as unique as they are. The variation of the brown colors is something I love to see when I’m gathering eggs!
Those lovely, strong eggshells have about 8,000 pores each. Those pores are almost completely closed in a freshly laid egg but, as the egg ages, the number of open pores increases. As the egg is laid, a very thin film covers the egg and blocks off many of the pores to prevent bacteria from entering the egg. All eggs are washed at the grading station, removing this film. Refrigeration is important to keep the eggs fresh and safe.
Interesting Fact #3 – Have you ever wondered why it’s hard to peel a hard-boiled egg? That is because the egg is very fresh and the membrane between the egg white and shell is very close. As the egg gets older and begins to lose moisture, the membrane begins to separate. What are your tips for easy peeling?
Interesting Fact #4 – Which way should the eggs be stored – pointy end up or down? The eggs should be stored with the pointy end down. The air cell should be at the top of the egg, which helps keep the egg fresh for a longer period of time.
I love my brown eggs, but I know that the best part of the egg is on the inside!