I get so many great questions about our farm fresh eggs. More and more consumers are shopping outside of the grocery store and, instead, choosing to buy right from the source. Let’s be honest, farm fresh eggs aren’t always the same as grocery store eggs (like they are 100 times better). Here are some common questions I get:
How are egg sizes determined and by whom? Is there a universal scale or measurement?
When you purchase eggs at the grocery store, they are placed on a conveyor belt to be weighed and measured. This process ensured that every egg was uniform in size and weight. Eggs that fall between weight classes and eggs that are odd shapes are the ones that go into recipes.
- Jumbo = 2.5 oz
- X-Large = 2.25 oz
- Large = 2 oz
- Medium = 1.75 oz
- Small = 1.5 oz
Most hobby and backyard farmers have less technical ways of weighing their eggs. Some don’t weigh or size their eggs at all. The cartons I offer from my farm have various shapes and sizes. The small ones are great for a small snack, the large ones are great for baking. For those farmers that do weigh their eggs, some use a kitchen scale, and others use one of these egg scales:
I heard that jumbo eggs come from birds at the end of their laying cycle. Is that true?
Age certainly plays a part in egg size. When chickens begin laying, they lay small pullet-sized eggs, often only a fraction of the size they will lay as adults. It can take three or four months for a chicken to start laying their adult-sized eggs. As the birds age, they lay less often. It is not uncommon for the eggs to be larger when they are laid less often. My Ameraucana rarely lays anymore, but when she does, it’s a large and almost completely round blue egg.
What is the general rule for baking when a large egg is listed in a recipe, but your hens lay medium-sized eggs? Would that be converted to two eggs or one egg and only the white of the second egg?
Here is a handy guide for converting eggs for recipes:
|# of Large Eggs:||1||2||3||4||5||6|
And don’t forget about duck eggs too! Duck eggs are AMAZING for baking. Despite being typically larger, they contain less water content (I know, weird considering they are a water bird), so they can be used 1-to-1 with large chicken eggs in baking.
Are the shells of white eggs generally thinner than brown eggshells?
Shell thickness is dictated by breed, genetics, and diet. A chicken that consumes ample calcium and has a well-balanced diet will have strong, thick shells. Often times brown and green eggs appear thicker due to the pigment added when they are being formed. You can learn more about egg pigment in The Anatomy of Egg Color.
Can brown eggs come from white chickens?
Absolutely! Check out this picture of two of my girls. Spyro is a White Plymouth Rock, and she lays a medium brown egg. Lucy is a Brown Leghorn, and she lays a white egg.
Here is a really cool trick for knowing the color egg a chicken lays. Unless the chicken lays green or blue, you can often tell egg color from the color of the chicken’s ear. Spryro’s ears are red, which indicates she lays a brown egg. Lucy’s ears are white, which indicates she lays a white egg.
Do chickens that lay colored eggs always lay eggs in the same color, or do the egg hues vary as the chicken ages?
Will they change color? No. If you bought an Easter Egger and it laid a brown egg, it won’t turn blue or green. It will always be brown. The saturation of the color will change, though. At the beginning of a laying cycle, the color is often darker. This cycle can begin with laying or following a molt. Towards the end of the laying cycle, color may become softer and more muted.
Do different colored eggs have different flavors (like honey from bees is affected by their pollen source)?
A few of my customers would say yes, but in my experience, the color has no bearing on flavor. I guess this one comes down to the individual. Some people may have stronger taste buds that pick up on flavor differences. There is no reason for the change in flavor since the shell is not the part you are consuming, unlike honey, where the pollen is converted and consumed.
What makes yolks darker in some eggs?
A varied and healthy diet makes for a nice dark yolk. That is one of the staggering differences between store-bought eggs and farm eggs. The orange yolk can be startling when you crack open your first farm-fresh egg. Don’t worry; it signifies a healthy, happy hen.
Some things the chicken consumes can have a drastic effect on yolk color. Dark leafy greens and meat make for darker yolks. Marigolds are also known to make some startling orange yolks.
Does a speck of blood in an egg mean it has been fertilized?
Nope. Fertile eggs are identified using the white spot present on all egg yolks. The white spot on a fertile egg makes a perfect bulls-eye. The white spot on an infertile egg is like a squiggly circle. You can learn more about identifying fertile eggs from my friend, The Chicken Chick.
Blood spots in eggs are caused by the rupturing of a blood vessel near the yolk during the egg formation process. The hen is fine, and the egg is fine. It’s just one of those things that happens from time to time. You rarely see eggs in grocery store eggs because the eggs are held up to light during the packaging process, and eggs with blood spots are used in recipes instead of sold as eggs.
Do you have any questions about farm fresh eggs? Comment below!