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Double Yolks

Why are there two yolks in this egg?
© Anne White View Large

When young hens begin laying at five or six months, their ovaries aren’t fully in synch. So every hundred or so eggs, they release two yolks instead of one. Double-yolk eggs are usually a little bit larger than average, so if you’re looking to get one, try buying the extra-large or jumbo eggs at the store.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  

Double Yolks

Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote.

[Red Jungle Fowl crowing, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/76330851 ]

One morning you crack open a chicken egg [cracking chicken egg sound sfx] and out pours not one, but two golden-yellow yolks. What are the odds?

Actually, it depends. When young hens begin laying at five or six months, their ovaries aren’t fully in synch. So every hundred or so eggs, they release two yolks instead of one.

[sound of gas stove pilot light and oven starting ]

If your egg carton holds eggs from mainly younger hens, the odds of getting a double-yolker are pretty good. But if it’s from a typical group of hens of varying ages, the odds of getting two yolks in one egg drop to about one in a thousand. [start whipping eggs here in a bowl. Chup chup chup chup]. Double-yolk eggs are usually a little bit larger than average, so if you’re looking to get one, try buying the extra-large or jumbo eggs at the store.

[pour eggs into sizzling pan, make bubbly egg sound sssssss]

So, do we get twins from these kinds of eggs? Not usually. A two-yolk egg has the potential to bear two chicks. But in the natural hatching process, the chicks usually don’t survive.

Folklore about double-yolk eggs varies widely among cultures. Sometimes getting two yolks means good luck. Sometimes, it’s taken as a sign a twin pregnancy is on the way. And sometimes, it just means impending death. But one thing’s for sure: the lucky cook winds up with a tastier omelet.

[scrape eggs out onto plate]

[mouth full] For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.

###

Producer: John Kessler

Managing Producer: Jason Saul

Editor: Ashley Ahearn

Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone

Assistant Producer: Mark Bramhill

Narrator: Michael Stein

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by Greg McLachlan.

BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

© 2019 BirdNote   July 2019

ID#  egg-07-2019-07-29    egg-07

References include:
https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/greatmomentsinscience/feat...

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