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Case of the odd eggs finally cracked
THE case of the odd-coloured eggs laid by a chicken at a Fordingbridge farm has been cracked.
Scientists from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) have hatched a scientific explanation for the two-tone egg, which was laid by one of 3,500 free-range chickens at Midgham Farm.
Chicken farmer Eileen Witt thought there had been some sort of fowl-up after finding a half white, half brown egg in her barn.
Mrs Witt, who has been farming chickens on the farm since 1987, had never come across an egg like it. Neither had a scientist from Defra’s Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), who saw our story and whisked off to Fordingbridge to investigate.
This week we got our answer. The AHVLA’s egg marketing inspector said: “All egg shells start out as white eggs. Coloured eggs have their pigment added at the end of the shell formation process in the hen’s uterus.
“Uneven colouring can occur if an egg is stalled for a time in the uterus, allowing more time for pigment to be applied.”
Eileen Witt said: “I am absolutely chuffed to bits that we have an answer to our mystery from DEFRA. You can’t go higher than that. I am so delighted.
“This is what we thought it might be, if the egg is half laid hence the circle of colour, but I wasn’t 100 per cent sure. I am pleased my instincts were close.”
When the Journal first ran the story, non-believers on an American athiests’ website scoffed at the notion the eggs were even real.
Mrs Witt said: “I hope all those people in America are pleased with the explanation because they thought I had painted it or made eggs from wood.”
She laughed: “As if I have time for that.”
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