My mama has a hen named Bobby Lou.
Bobby Lou is Type A.
A, as in humanly speaking she’s a bit worried over her performance and assertive.
Bobby Lou’s eggs are large and white.
We know this because Bobby Lou is the only hen my mama has.
It’s just better that way with Bobby Lou.
She’s an alpha.
Not only do eggs like this brown one from my neighbor’s hen not meet Bobby Lou’s standard for eggs…
…without a rooster around, she takes over the crowing, too.
So, my mama adopted Big Red – a behemoth of a rooster. Without any crowing to do, Bobby Lou sticks to laying eggs. This one is an EXTRA EXTRA LARGE achievement.
How did she do that?
Bobby Lou’s egg laying wonder is outside my expertise. See, a farmer is not just a farmer. We have specialties. I’m a beef producer – yes, I raise protein, but I know very little about eggs outside my kitchen.
Much like any other consumer. 🙂
We have great respect for eggs here in the beef industry. Remember, we don’t pick on the other proteins. We love them – while calling them “them” as if beef is the standard for protein.
Well, it is isn’t it?! – my Farmer
LOL Of course, my Farmer. Of course! 😉
My Farmer’s species snobbery aside, steak `n’eggs truly is legendary, and Bobby Lou is all about legendary, so I figured I’d better look into educating myself. Thankfully, there’s Lara. Lara works on the poultry end of the protein industry , and she was game for a joint post. I photographed. She shared her poultry prowess. And the result:
When Emily asked me to write a guest blog post about double yolks in eggs, I jumped at the chance. I’m a poultry girl, after all … and while I don’t raise chickens myself, I have worked 19 years for the Chicken and Egg Association of Minnesota, essentially getting to know many farmers who raise egg laying hens and learning a thing or two about eggs along the way.
Then, funny story: in the course of a couple of days, my brother texted me a picture of a double yolker (is that a word?) he cracked open for breakfast and another friend of mine tagged me on a Facebook photo with his double yolker. (It’s a word – at least I’m going with that.)
It was a sign. I must write this double yolk post for Emily.
I’m actually quite amazed that my brother found an egg with a double yolk in the dozen eggs he bought at a local grocery store. I’ve never cracked open a double yolker, myself. In the U.S., about one in every 1,000 eggs is double-yolked but few of those typically make it to the supermarket in a carton of eggs.
Why? Commercially-sold eggs – like the kind my brother bought – are sold by weight and also “candled” prior to packaging. “Candling” refers to part of the grading process during which egg graders shine a light on an egg to look for the interior quality of the egg. Eggs that show imperfections typically don’t make the grade and double yolkers are essentially candled out. (Candling and the grading process are actually more complicated than that – you can read more here if you are interested.)
Weight isn’t related at all to grading, but weight is another factor taken into consideration when packaging eggs. Sizes are classified in the U.S. according to minimum net weight per dozen – so, it makes sense that a double-yolk egg would weigh more than a single-yolk egg and throw off the weight of a carton of eggs.
In other words, single-yolk eggs rule the proverbially roost when it comes to the cartons we buy in the supermarket. Pun intended. Sorry, sometimes I can’t help myself.
Which brings me back to double yolks and the hens themselves.
According to the American Egg Board, it’s the young hens who produce most of the double-yolked eggs because sometimes their egg production cycles are not yet completely synchronized. (Those crazy kids – trying to lay eggs willy nilly!)
However, it is true that older hens – the ones who produce the extra large-sized eggs – might crank out a double-yolked egg, as well. (Young hens typically lay the smaller-sized eggs and the older they get, the bigger their eggs get.) And I’ve heard that very occasionally, a hen might produce double-yolked eggs throughout her egg-laying career. (You go girl!)
Sorry to interrupt, Lara. Please continue:
My brother, after texting me the photo of his double-yolked egg, asked if a double-yolk egg (if fertilized) would lead to a two chicks. The short answer is probably not – double-yolked eggs generally won’t hatch if they are incubated. If they do, it’s likely that both chickens won’t survive.
After writing this post, I was on my blog’s Facebook page, asking if anyone sees a double-yolked egg once in a while, and I was surprised to hear that more than a few people do. It’s obvious some of these double yolkers escape past the candling process and do make it into a carton of eggs. These things happen, so count yourself lucky if you find yourself with a double-yolked egg or two and enjoy!
Thanks so much, Lara! I really appreciate you taking time to share with us!
After the measuring photos, I thought we should take a look at the actual yolks.
I’m known for obvious ideas.
So, I invited my Farmer to join me in the laundry…
…because that’s where the good light was y’all…
…and I’ll be if that man didn’t just crack the egg…
…and there wasn’t a bit of shell misplaced.
He’s been holding out on me on this egg cracking skill…like holding out for a decade.
Sweet culinary dexterity, my Farmer! You’re helping with breakfast for supper from here on out!
Uniting hoof and beak for hungry minds online,
For more poultry goodness.
Seems like Minnesota and I like to talk protein. 🙂
This post is featured online at the Capper’s Farmer Magazine blog site.
This post is highlighted in the Spring 2015 print edition of Capper’s Farmer.