Southern Agrarianism and the culture of the Old South

Strange Eggs

Anyone who has raised chickens for a while has certainly seen some strange eggs laid by the hens. I have seen a small egg inside of a large egg, double yolk eggs, long thin shaped eggs, and probably others that I can’t think of at the moment. The most common “strange egg” that I have seen is the “egg with no shell”. These literally have no shell, but they do have the tough leathery skin that lines the inside of a normal egg shell. They have a pale translucent appearance. They begin to shrink fairly quickly as the water evaporates through that leathery skin. Since it is the inside that is shrinking while the outer skin remains the same size, it soon loses it’s round egg shape.

Keep in mind that this same evaporation and shrinking also occurs in regular eggs since the shell is porous. That is why you can approximate the age of an egg by seeing if it floats or sinks in a glass of water. As the egg ages, it loses water and air is pulled in through the shell to displace the lost water. That is the air sac that is at the end of an egg. The older the egg is, the more water is lost; air is pulled into the egg causing it to float rather than sink.


  1. Wyandotte

    I’ve seen one or two of those over the years.

    Anyway, I am wondering if you are in the path of the tropical storm Debby. I don’t know anything about Florida or where exactly you live. Hope you are far away from the storm.

    • Stephen Clay McGehee

      Thanks, Wyandotte. Unfortunately, we’re right in the projected path. Fortunately, it’s got to cross much of the state before it gets to us, so we should be just fine. This is the sort of storm that does a good job of blowing old branches and junk out of the trees to clean them up a bit. Now if it were to strengthen as three of them did back in 2004, that’s a different story. I wrote a lot of notes about hurricane preparedness during those three storms that hit us back then. Here’s the link to them if you’re curious – .

      As a side note, my father (died in 2009) was one of the pioneer Hurricane Hunters, flying into the storms in the late 1940’s when it was a very high-risk occupation. That was when the Navy did it – the Air Force took it over, and now NOAA handles it. He worked at the National Hurricane Center until he retired. He played a key role in “Project Storm Fury” – the experimental cloud seeding to see if they could reduce the strength of hurricanes before they made land fall (the tests were inconclusive). To add a personal note to it, my parents were married just hours before a hurricane struck where they were (near Miami).

      Here’s a photo of him leaving a Hurricane Hunter plane. He was a “Guest of Honor” at an event commemorating the Hurricane Hunters. That’s me on the stairs just below him.

  2. Wyandotte

    This is just odd, isn’t it, that I should hear about Debby, then remember you are in Florida, then it turns out that storm chasing is very much in your family. I don’t know anything about hurricane hunting of course – that is a little odd, flying into a hurricane, don’t you think…

    Nice photo of you & your pa!

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