“We got six eggs from five chickens? How’d that happen?”
“Maybe it’s because my babies love me and want to stay in my good graces.”
“Yeah, right!” Carol laughed. “But who gave the extra egg?”
I studied the eggs. Each bird colors her eggs differently although some are very close. “Goldie gives dark brown eggs; Elona’s and Red Head’s are lighter brown; Whitey and Baby give light brown eggs with a pink hue. That’s why, although Goldie was the brooder who sat on the eggs, I think Whitey was the biological mama. But Goldie gave us two eggs today.”
“So Goldie is trying to stay in your good graces? She’s also the one who has been giving us double-yolkers.”
Carol was right. Within the past three weeks Goldie gave us five double-yolkers.
Carol had another question: “Don’t forget that Goldie also gave us several tiny eggs with no yolks; that was strange! How do they make eggs, anyway?”
It was time to study.
As with women, hens enter the world with all the eggs they will ever have. Our birds started laying eggs at six months of age, although some chickens lay at five months. Here, briefly stated, is the process.
Light entering the eyes starts the activity. Light and heat are the stimulants which help chickens produce an egg on the average of every 25 to 26 hours. However, rather than delaying the egg several hours each day, our birds usually lay them between 8:00 and 10:00 every morning and skip a day periodically. Hens normally don’t lay eggs in the dark, so if the egg is ready to be laid at night, she will “hold it” until morning.
The oocytes (eggs in the ovary which become yolks) begin growing. Normally, one a day is released into the oviduct where fertilization can take place, but several may be traveling down the oviduct simultaneously – growing as they move. If a rooster is on the job, the yolk is fertilized early in the journey. The chick will grow on the outside of the yolk, and the yolk and albumin (egg-white) are the food for the developing chick. The birds need plenty of clean water in order to manufacture eggs.
At about the half-way point, the albumin begins to accumulate. The mass is then wrapped in a membrane which holds things together for the calcite shell. Chickens need calcium to create the shells. About four days a week, I crush three or four of their own dried shells and mix it with their feed. (Our chickens don’t prefer oyster shells.)
The membrane, containing the yolk and albumin, sits in a calcium-rich fluid at the end of the oviduct where the calcite settles or is deposited all around the membrane. It takes over twenty hours for the shell to form. One end of the egg is more pointed, and the other is gently rounded; and normally, the rounded end comes out first.
If the egg is brown, the pigment is the last step of the process because the brown coloring is only on the surface; but green eggs are green throughout the shell.
I mentioned that Goldie gave us several yolk-less eggs. Those are called “no-yolkers” or “wind-eggs.” That happened after she gave us several double-yolkers where two yolks traveled close together and were caught in the same shell. The double-yolkers were the size of goose-eggs, but the wind-eggs were the size of half my thumb. (The wind-egg whites are as good to eat as are the whites in normal eggs.)
All five birds lay the eggs in the same nest – one at a time, of course. And it’s fun hearing each one “sing” as she ascends the ramp to deposit her gift.
Remember Carol’s question? She wanted to know how we got six eggs from five birds in one day. I had the answer: Goldie had an egg ready to lay sometime during the night but held it until daylight. By then, the next egg was almost ready. When she laid it a couple of hours later, we had six eggs for the day.
As I was preparing this article, I began laughing. “What’s up?” Carol asked.
“I’m laughing at the concept of Evolution. There is absolutely no way that birds – with their built-in egg-manufacturing process – could have evolved from a non-bird life-form. It is, also, impossible for any life-form to self-generate from dissolved rocks. Life, including vegetation, requires the engineering genius of our Creator: Almighty God.”
“Okay. And I suppose your research also answers another question.”
“Which came first: the chicken or the egg?”
“You are smart! And we understand from the scientific viewpoint that, indeed, the chicken came first.”