design-inspired urban farming
I’ve been keeping chickens now for about 6 years and never once in that whole time have I ever encountered a fairy egg. A fairy egg is when the hen’s reproductive cycle gets disturbed, could be shedding of reproductive material, could be due to molting or broodiness, could be due to the immaturity of a pullet in its laying cycle. Needless to say, what you have on your hands is the teeniest tiniest egg you’re hen has ever laid. A fairy egg is also known as a witch egg, a fart egg, a wind egg, a dwarf egg or a runt egg. The hen’s reproductive system is designed to build a shell around the egg as it cycles its way out of the hen. So too with other debris in the hen’s oviduct. It’s really brilliant actually, in case of danger package it in a shell and get it out of there.
I have to admit that I was startled and a little grossed out in finding this little egg. There’s nothing wrong with the egg and frankly it’s totally natural and (thank goodness) there’s nothing wrong with getting a fairy egg. It’s about as likely as getting an egg with a double yolk. Being as that yolks are my favorite part of the egg, I’d rather have a fairy leave me some of those.
Which leads me to another interesting story. A friend of mine told me when he was a kid his parents kept hens for eggs. His parents asked him to catch Japanese beetles and put them in the coop for the chickens to eat them. The story goes that every time the chickens ate these beetles, the hens would lay double yolked eggs. First of all, when I was a kid, good luck getting me to go out an collect winged bugs of any kind for any reason. Unless money was involved. I was easily motivated by money as a child. Nevertheless, it’s an intriguing concept. Unfortunately now that I’m an adult and over my fear of oddly iridescent flying beetles, there are none in my area to even experiment with.
I found a couple references to the increase in protein causing some chicken keepers to find double yolks post-beetle consumption, but I’m still skeptical. In my research I found that double-yolked eggs are caused by a hen releasing two yolks at the same time. And typically found in young hens and the eggs are generally larger in size than the normal egg size for that hen. This is relatively rare but not completely unheard of. The odds of finding one double-yolked egg are 1 in 1000. Although there was a story in West London covered by BBC news where some friends making profiteroles cracked SIX double-yolked eggs in a row from one carton. I love egg yolks. If I cracked six double yolks in a row, I would buy a lottery ticket and head to Vegas. That would be just too much for me, although not too many yolks!