Double or multi yolk eggs, whilst very enjoyable, are actually a fault. They are common in young, laying hens, especially from hens that are from highly productive strains.
A double yolk egg is formed when two ovulations take place almost simultaneously and go down the oviduct together, and both get encased in a shell.
Double yolks in eggs (also known as double yolkers) are, in fact, quite rare, but if you like the yolk more than the white in eggs, then it’s a rather nice surprise when you open it; to find you have two or more yolks!
Poultry genetics says there should only be one yolk per egg. There would be insufficient space for two chicks to develop inside a shell, and the breed would effectively die out.
As the hen matures, she will normally only lay single yolk eggs. Double yolk eggs are, in fact, a fault that occurs when two or more yolks are released inside the ovary simultaneously, causing them to be wrapped in albumen (white) and then an outer shell.
How do you get hens that lay multi yolk eggs?
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to find breeds of hen that will consistently lay double yolkers. However, some shops will sell boxes of double yolk eggs.
Eggs are sent from the farm to a packing station where they are candled (using a bright light to see inside the egg) for blood spots and other egg problems. This is where they can select multi-yolk eggs, and a premium price can be charged for them.
What are the chances of a double or triple yolk egg?
Double or triple yolk eggs are usually found in young pullets around 20 to 28 weeks old. According to the British Egg Information Service, the probability of finding a multi-yolk egg is estimated as 1 in 1000 but drops to 1 in 100 for young pullets.
Since commercial farms have flocks of the same age hens, you may be lucky enough to get several double yolk eggs in the same box, but that’s pretty rare!
Some shops sell double yolk eggs, “how can they know they are double yolks?” I hear you ask. The answer is quite simple. Sellers must candle commercial eggs with a bright light at packing stations to check for cracks in the shell that can let bacteria in and for undesirable blood spots inside the egg next to the yolk.
Even more rare is an egg with more than 2 yolks. Triple yolkers occur from time to time, and in fact, it’s possible to get more yolks in an egg. The most yolks ever found in an egg was 11. Imagine that!
The most unusual egg
The most unusual egg I’ve seen so far was from Sheryl Harris in Grawn, Michigan.
Sheryl cracked open a giant-sized chicken egg from a young ISA Red hen and, to her surprise, found a double yolk, plus another small egg inside. When she cracked open that smaller egg, it was fully formed; there was another yolk inside.
I can only imagine that the hen was young and laid a smaller egg which somehow got stuck after being shelled in the normal way.
The next two yolks would have come down from the ovaries together, and the whole lot would have been shelled, creating one large egg.
I wonder if anyone can beat this?
The most yolks we have in the gallery below is 5. The world record is 11. There is hope!
Your multi-yolk egg pictures
Here is a gallery of your multi-yolk eggs! It was suggested we should have a bit of a ‘shrine’ for these eggs since people love them so much – I completely agree 🙂
If you have at least a triple yolk egg, please send me a photo of your multi-yolk egg (firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can show it here in the gallery!
Please include your name and nearest town & country.
I hope you enjoyed the gallery. If you can share this page, I would appreciate it. I hope we can gather more mighty multiple yolk pictures from around the world!
Do you know how to tell if eggs are fresh? There is a little trick poultry keepers use if they find some eggs laid somewhere and are unsure of their age.