Double Or Multi-Yolk Eggs

Multi Yolk Eggs

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!

Genetics

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.

Four Yolk Egg
A single, double and quadruple egg yolk.
Photo courtesy of Charlene Austin.

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.

Double and Triple Yolk Eggs
Double yolks aren't that rare but triple yolks and above are few and far between!

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.

Egg Inside an Egg
A rare egg inside a double yolk egg.
Can you beat this?

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 (admin@poultrykeeper.com) 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.

Related Posts:

Fire Engine Decorated Egg
Keeping Chickens
How to Blow an Egg

If you want to keep an eggshell indefinitely, decorate it for a special occasion such as Easter, or fill an egg with mustard or similar to stop chickens from eating eggs, then you will need to know how to blow an egg.

Read More »

On this page:

You might also enjoy:

How to help a chick hatch

How to Help a Chick Hatch

In this guide, Gail Damerow will help us to understand why a chick can’t always make it out on its own, why it’s not usually a good idea to intervene, and if you do decide to assist, how to help a chick hatch.

Can You Keep Chickens and Ducks Together

Can you Keep Chickens and Ducks Together?

From a purists point of view, we should keep chickens and ducks in separate enclosures, but I have kept my chickens and ducks together for many years with very few problems. Here are a few things for you to consider.

Art of the Chicken Coop Book Review

Art of the Chicken Coop Book Review

One of the biggest expenses when you decide to start keeping chickens is that of the housing. Your chickens may be relatively cheap, but if you’re looking to buy a coop you can expect to pay anything from a hundred to several hundred pounds. It can be eye watering, and makes a lie of the ‘cheap supply of eggs’ waffle spouted by enthusiasts like me. So if you’re in any way handy, building your own hen accommodation can be a much more viable alternative. Chris Gleason’s ‘Art Of The Chicken Coop’ attempts to offer some inspiration.

RCOM 20 Incubator

RCOM 20 Incubator Review

Review of the RCOM 20 Incubator, available in three different models. I tested the RCOM with both chicken and duck eggs, and here’s what I found.