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Egg-cellent surprise: Local family’s hen lays giant eggs with another one inside


IDAHO FALLS — A backyard hen surprised a local family after they noticed she laid a giant egg only to discover it had another egg inside of it. The most interesting part? It’s happened seven times!

Madison Rosenkrance lives in Idaho Falls with her husband and four kids. She explained they bought chickens in May to live in their backyard and the birds began laying eggs six weeks ago.

Madison and her husband
Kyle and Madison Rosenkrance | Courtesy Madison Rosenkrance
the 4 kids
The Rosenkrance kids: Nera (left), Melody, Ivan and Lily the baby | Courtesy Madison Rosenkrance

“We were getting a couple of eggs a day and my daughter likes to go out and get them. She came inside one day and she had a huge egg that looked like a potato and we were just kind of shocked, like, ‘What is that?!'” Rosenkrance recalls.

Rosenkrance said she posted a picture of the giant egg on social media to try and find answers. Friends commented they thought it was a double-yolk egg.

three different eggs
Egg in an egg, a double yoke egg, and a normal egg. | Courtesy Madison Rosenkrance

“We have had lots of double yolks before and this one was twice the size of that. So I waited for my husband to get home from work and cracked it open and there was another egg inside. It was just weird!” she said.

The ISA brown chicken named Emma has been laying the giant eggs multiple times. On Thursday, she laid her seventh one.

new emma picture
Emma the hen with the Rosenkrance girls. | Courtesy Madison Rosenkrance

“We knew that it wasn’t a common thing,” Rosenkrance told “When I’ve researched it, most people are saying it kind of would happen randomly. The odd of getting even one is really slim but then to get a bunch in a row like that – I can’t find a story like that anywhere.”

People like Ron Patterson, a University of Idaho Extension Agriculture Educator and columnist, says it is very rare and most backyard poultry producers will never see it.

The cause of this phenomenon is called counter-peristalsis contraction. Patterson explained that in the chicken, the yolk is released from the ovary and goes into the reproductive tract. It then goes through the chamber that puts the egg white in it.

“It goes through another process that puts on that membrane. It then passes onto the final chamber where the eggshell is put on,” Patterson explained. “The peristalsis contraction gets on the wrong side of the egg and pushes the wrong direction. It forces past the membrane chamber so the next egg that comes down comes together with the egg that’s already there.”

According to a CBC News article in 2018, a hen named Bell was laying eggs inside of other eggs. In the article, Grégoy Bédécarrats, a professor at the University of Guelph’s Department of Animal Biosciences, explained it’s difficult to track the frequency of counter-peristalsis contraction as eggs within eggs because they are eliminated during inspections at egg grading stations. They are not usually recorded.

As for the yolks, they’re perfectly healthy and safe to eat. In fact, Rosenkrance said her family had done just that.

“We ate the very first one that we cracked open and it was pretty normal. It just had more white in it than a normal egg and we scrambled them up and my daughter said it was the best-scrambled egg she’s ever had!” she said.

Rosenkrance said at first, laying an egg within an egg was happening to Emma every two days. Then she laid a couple of normal eggs and then would lay another egg in an egg. It’s something that keeps her family interested every day on what Emma might do next.

“I think it’s just kind of fun. It’s just kind of like a surprise every day. We’ll go and check and it’s just fun for our kids,” she said.

the eggs and the kids
Courtesy Madison Rosenkrance
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