The season has arrived. The African and Chinese geese are all sharing a nest. I’m not sure if the two Chinese geese are a pair or both gals, so I don’t know if all of the eggs are fertile (or if there are only two geese a-laying). No one is yet setting on them while they accumulate. One of the eggs is especially monstrous– probably from the African. Her spouse stands guard at her side while she lays. After depositing her egg, each goose carefully covers the nest over with straw to disguise their trove.
Once someone begins to set, the eggs should hatch in 30 to 32 days, which means we’ll have even more critters to move to Oregon. Meanwhile I’m policing the hens to try to prevent any broodiness, although they tend to simply appear with a parade of peeping chicks unannounced from hidden nests. One such egg stash, we recently discovered, was under the tractor mower in the barn, fortunately with no hen atop. We pulled the tractor out over the weekend for the first time in a long while, and found this odorous surprise:
Among these four chicken eggs are three yolks. Can you guess how many each contains?
Double-yolk eggs are said to occur once in about 1,000 eggs laid. I’ve found many of these elongated monstrosities over many years of collecting eggs, and there remains a certain excitement to discovering one, from spotting the enormous shell to making bets on its contents to cracking it open and winning double gold.
Consumers of store-bought eggs miss out on this pleasure, because in the United States commercial eggs are sorted by weight and large anomalies discarded. Even normal-sized eggs with two yolks, which do occur, are culled after “candling,” a process of shining a light though the egg to examine its yolk and look for any undesirable matter. One producer in Pennsylvania is cashing in on two-yolk-inclined chickens, selling them by the dozen.
These were our first-ever wind eggs, though, laid two days in a row undoubtedly by the same pullet. Wind eggs are yolkless oddities resulting from a reproductive glitch, as are the double-yolkers. They’re also called cock eggs, dwarf eggs, and least charmingly, fart eggs.
Both extra-large and extra-small have histories of lore surrounding them, understandably. Unlike other errors of egg formation, wind eggs and double-yolks feel delightfully lucky.