• Last modified 651 days ago (July 12, 2017)


Shellshocked: an egg inside an egg

Odd find comes from couple’s own chickens

News editor

It was the sort of scene idyllic country life is known for — a grandmother and her young granddaughter in a kitchen baking together.

But at the county lake home of Rachel and Marion Toland, the scene changed at the crack of an egg from idyllic to bizarre.

“I was going to make cornbread, and my little granddaughter, Addison, was here, and she cracked the egg and said, ‘What’s wrong with this? What the heck is it?’” Rachel said.

What Addison found appeared to be a small brown egg that was inside the larger one.

“I’m 83 years old and I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Rachel said. “I had chickens growing up; when we lived on the farm we had chickens. I’ve been around chickens forever.”

Marion also had grown up with chickens, and in the 1950s worked for a Hutchinson hatchery. He hadn’t ever seen such a thing.

County extension agent Rickey Roberts wasn’t familiar with the phenomenon.

“I’m guessing that’s a real rarity,” he said. “When you’re dealing with livestock and biology, it seems like almost anything can happen. I’m about to say nothing surprises me anymore.”

Eggs are normally formed one at a time when an ovum is released from an ovary and is gradually covered by shell material until it is laid.

In the rare case of a double egg, a second ovum is released before the first is completely formed, causing a contraction that pushes the first incomplete egg back to the top of the oviduct. The new ovum and partially formed egg move through the oviduct together as a new shell encasing both is created.

“I just couldn’t get over it; I still can’t,” Rachel said. “I think it’s weird. Needless to say, I didn’t use the egg.”

After showing the two eggs to family over the weekend, Rachel cracked open the rogue egg Tuesday.

“It’s all yolk inside,” she said.

Roberts said he was going to contact a specialist at Kansas State University about the odd egg. He had some light-hearted advice for the Tolands.

“I’m guessing this is a one-in-a-million kind of thing,” he said. “When something like this happens, you need to go buy a lottery ticket. It’s your day.”

Last modified July 12, 2017