How a Chicken Makes an Egg and Why Some Eggs are Unusual

| 6/6/2012 1:15:21 PM

As a backyard chicken-keeper, it is not uncommon to find irregular eggs. Do not worry unnecessarily about the occasional strange-looking egg; take a picture of it, discuss it at the water cooler next day and get a good chuckle out of it. They happen, and the vast majority of the time they do not indicate any cause for concern.

Before we get to all the pretty, funky and bizarre egg pictures, it’s important to understand how a hen’s reproductive system is supposed to work when firing on all cylinders.

How a Hen Makes Eggs Odd Eggs Array on Hydrangea

Here's the deal with a hen's reproductive system: a female chick's ovary contains all of the ova it will ever have when it's hatched. The ovary begins to convert ova to egg yolks when she is mature. With the right lighting conditions exists, hormones stimulate ova to develop into yolks. Yolks are released from the ovary into the oviduct when they reach the right size and travel down the oviduct to acquire their whites, membranes, color (if any) and shell. An egg requires approximately 25 hours to complete the addition of the
egg white, the shell membranes, and the shell. Soon after an egg is laid, the process starts again.

A hen's reproductive system consists of an ovary and oviduct (a long tube with several parts that have different jobs).1
   How a Hen Makes Eggs Odd Eggs Reproductive System Anatomical Drawing 

The following is an actual hen's reproductive tract.1 I have labeled the functions that occur at different junctures along the way. If fertilization is to occur, it happens in the infundibulum, which is the area immediately to the right of the ovary (the black line is running through it in this photo). The infundibulum is a muscle that essentially engulfs the ovum (yolk) when it is released. The sperm waits in the infundibulum and has a narrow, 15-18 minute window of opportunity in which to fertilze the ova there.

Michel Tom
6/14/2012 1:38:14 AM

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Kathy Mormino
6/13/2012 11:39:37 AM

I agree completely, Sara! My pleasure.

Kathy Mormino
6/13/2012 11:39:13 AM

Thanks Pam. :)

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