Just when I think I've heard everything, something new to me comes along! Have you ever heard of a fart egg?
A fart egg, also known as a wind egg, is a small egg that is typically laid by a young hen (also called a pullet). These eggs usually do not contain a yolk and were often thought to be laid by roosters in olden times. With pullets, the thinking is that the egg is a misfire of the young chicken's reproductive system, however, fart eggs can also occur in older hens when a small amount of reproductive material breaks away and is packaged up accidentally as an egg.
One of our hens recently laid a tiny egg about the size of a bantam egg. It's really very cute, but since I don't own any bantam (small-sized) chickens, I immediately suspected one of my young pullets. Below you can see the fart egg on the left, a double-yolker in the middle, and normal sized egg on the right.
My youngest hens were 19 weeks old at the time the suspected fart egg was laid. Laying age varies, but in my experience 24 weeks is about average. Hens typically begin by laying a smallish egg and as they reach maturity the egg size grows. In the egg carton shown below, you can see that egg size can greatly vary in a mixed flock.
So, which chicken laid this tiny egg? I think September, a plucky, little Iowa Blue, was the layer of the diminutive egg. I apologize for not being able to come up with a better picture of September, but she is a fast and somewhat shy girl. I went out to the chicken coop with the expressed purpose of taking her photo and came away with 20 blurry shots. Luckily, I found this photo where I accidentally captured her among her cohorts, Martha (left) and Speedy G (barely in the photo to the right).
The question still remains, is this a fart egg? The answer is inconclusive, though, I think not. We cracked two of the tiny eggs open and they both contained yolks. Normally, fart eggs do not contain yolks, so these may just be really small eggs from a chicken who is maturing quickly. To give you an idea of size, September's two small eggs can be seen in the bowl below with a normal-sized egg.
Another phenomenon, which is new to us, is the double yolk egg. Our Americauna, Snowflake, has laid a number of these double yolk eggs. Double-yolkers can occur in young hens whose reproductive systems are not quite synchronized. Ovulation occurs too quickly causing two eggs to become encased in one shell. Snowflake started laying double-yolkers at 7 months and she has been doing so off and on for about a month now.
Here's breakfast in the making; two tiny eggs, one double-yolker, and one normal-sized egg. Scrambled together, I'm grateful as usual that my girls can provide me with such a wonderful bounty.