Menu Join now Search

Ouch ...

A hen in Ottawa’s eastern outskirts has squeezed out an egg as heavy as a baseball. The egg, which has a mass of 143 grams,  almost three times the size of a standard medium egg and within the 141–148 gram range for a Major League Baseball ball, was laid Friday by a red shaver hen on Laurie McCannell’s farm in Vars, Ont., a village that is now part of Ottawa’s east end.

McCannell said it was one of eighty on the farm she bought two years ago that she estimates are about four years old. Normally, she said, hens are kept only until they are about two years old and they tend to lay larger eggs, but less frequently, as they get older. It’s not unusual for her hens to lay eggs too large to fit in a “jumbo” egg carton, she said. “But this one is ridiculously big.”

Jumbo is the largest egg size recognized by Agriculture Canada, and includes all eggs over 70 grams.

McCannell said the hen was fed normal chicken feed obtained from the Embrun Co-op as well as spent brewer’s grain from Heritage Brewery in Ottawa and a little bit of oyster shell to make the egg shells strong.

McCannell had been hoping the egg would break a record. However, it seems the record set in 1896 still stands. Guinness World Records reports that in that year, a black minorca at Mr. Stafford’s Damsteads Farm in Mellor in Lancashire, U.K., laid a five-yolk 340-gram egg.

Nevertheless, McCannell’s egg is unusually huge, said Laurent Souligny, chairman of Egg Farmers of Canada, the national egg marketing agency. “I was quite surprised to hear that a hen could lay an egg that size,” said Souligny, who has been in the egg business since 1982. He’s never seen one that big on his farm and isn’t aware of any others that have been reported in Canada, but does not know if the egg sets a Canadian record.

End of real news report.

I wonder how long it takes a hen to produce an egg that big. She must squawk and “scream,”  and the cock crows ... I also wonder how big an omelet you can make with that. I was reading a recipe for puff pastry today, and it said you might have to use up to sixteen eggs, depending on how much dough you want.

What is Ms McCannell going to do with it? Certainly it cannot be preserved. It could be emptied and then painted, ala Eastern European style. I bought four (regular, normal size) beautifully painted eggs in Budapest a couple of years ago. They hang proudly on one of my kitchen walls.