Chicken Egg Shell Not Separating From The Egg White

Free Ranging and Training Chickens...

“Hi there, we seem to have a problem with our eggs when they are boiled the egg shells do not separate from the egg white, so we actually dismember part of the egg white when peeling them. I don’t think that it is a problem with how we are boiling them because if we boil supermarket eggs at the same time (experiment) we can always pull the egg shell off the bought eggs very easily. Is it a dietary thing? We have 20 chooks (no rooster) and all the girls are good layers. They peck the 3 acres every day and are cooped every night. They are feed laying mash as a supplement & have access to this 24/7. Please help.” ~ Bob Godfrey

Bob, I’m glad you asked this question.

The good news is that neither your chickens, nor their eggs have a problem.

The only problem you have is that your eggs are fresh!

When an egg is formed, the yolk and whites are encased within a thin membrane. A second membrane also lies just inside the egg’s shell. When the egg is fresh, the two membranes lie against each other.

Because a shell is porous, over time evaporation occurs within the egg. The more evaporation, the more space between the two membranes.

So Bob, what you are experiencing is just the results of boiling a fresh egg that has not seen the effects of evaporation. The two membranes lie so closely together that when you crack and peel the egg, the inner membrane sticks to the outer membrane. This results in eggs that are very hard to peel.

For this reason, it’s best to use your oldest eggs for boiling. We even set aside eggs especially for that purpose. Of course they are refrigerated, but we prefer to wait until the eggs are at least a few weeks old before we boil them.

By the way, this evaporation process is the reason a “float test” will tell you how fresh a egg is. The older the egg, the larger the air pocket between the two membranes. The more air the egg contains, the more it will float.

For those of you who are not familiar with a float test, here’s the basics.

First, fill a flat bottomed bowl with cool water. Gently place an egg in the bowl.

If the egg lies flat on the bottom of the bowl, it is very fresh. There is not enough air between the two membranes to cause the egg to rise at all. These are the best eggs for eating alone.

If the egg stays in contact with the bottom of the bowl but one end starts to rise, this egg is still fresh, just not quite as fresh as the one that lies flat.

If the egg stands on end but still stays in contact with the bottom of the bowl, it’s still perfectly safe to eat but is better used for baking or cooking.

These are the eggs to use for boiling, the air pocket between the two membranes is large enough to prevent sticking when peeling the shell away from the egg.

If the egg does not stay in contact with the bottom of the bowl, throw it away, it’s not good for eating.

The reason store bought eggs peel so easily is because they are not very fresh. In fact, in my part of the world, an egg can be more than 45 days old before it is purchased from the store.

It is unclear how long the “farm” has to package the egg for sale once it has been laid. But at the time of packaging, the “sell by” date is 45 days later.

Every morning around the world, people are cooking up eggs for breakfast that are likely 2 months old! Aren’t we fortunate to enjoy our fresh eggs?

So Bob, don’t worry, your chicken’s diet is great. Just make a point of saving some eggs for a few weeks if you want to hard boil them.

Have a Wonderful Week,

Wendy Cameron.

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