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Hand holding 4 eggs

An egg is an organic vessel that the female of many kinds of animals lay in which the embryo grows and develops. They are also a source of food for some animals, including humans. For this reason, chickens are often raised for their eggs, and bred specifically to lay as many as possible.

Chicken EggsEdit

Chickens are commonly raised for eggs. Leghorns are very productive layers, as are Plymouth Rocks, Orpingtons, Ameraucanas, and Wyandottes. Chicken eggs are usually either brown or white, but others, like Araucanas and Ameraucanas lay blue or blue-green eggs. All eggs have a shell, which have pores into the air cell. the yolk is in the center, held in place by the chalazae. the yolk is surrounded by the almuben, or white. on the yolk, there is a structure called the blastoderm, which develops into a chick should the egg be fertilized. A fertilized chicken egg takes about 21 days to hatch from the day they are layed.

Egg shellsEdit

Since egg shells are made of calcium, if the hen has a calcium deficiency, the shells can become thin and break, or the hen may even lay an egg without a shell. Ideally, egg shells from used eggs should be dried, crushed, and fed back to the hens so that they regain some of the calcium from the shells. Hens may also be fed crushed oyster shells as a calcium supplement. However, some hens don't seem to like oyster shells, but most hens will eat crushed egg shells. They should be left out to dry as any leftover raw egg yolk or white can potentially trigger egg-eating behavior. It is especially important to provide hens free access to calcium in summer, when they eat less and thus don't get as much calcium from their diet. They can also be offered leafy green vegetables, especially kale, which is very high in calcium.

Other Domesticated Bird EggsEdit

Many birds besides chickens are raised for eggs. these mostly include guineafowl and ducks, and to a lesser extent, geese. Ostriches and emus are also raised for eggs to a minor extent, but ostriches are mostly raised for meat and feathers, while emus are raised for their oil. Some ducks are rather good layers, such as the runner duck. Ducks are more practical than chickens in areas prone to flooding, due to the chicken's inability to swim. Guineafowl are gaining popularity as farm birds, partly due to their taste for deer ticks.

Egg NutritionEdit

Eggs are often referred to as nature's perfect food, because they carry all eight essential amino acids, as well as vitamins A, B12, D, and E for only 75 calories. Contrary to popular belief, they do not have deadly levels of cholesterol. Eggs are a common ingredient in breakfast foods. Eggs are cooked many ways, such as hard or soft boiled, poached, scrambled, sunny side up, over-easy, and more.

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