What Is This Tiny Egg My Quail or Chicken Laid?
I have extremely prolific quail. Almost without fail, each of my hens lay an egg a day. So when I went into the punkin pen for the daily harvest I was surprised to find the wrong number of eggs. I searched and searched and didn't find the last one. I figured one just skipped a day. Very rare, but not impossible for my hens. I went inside the house and decided I would check again in an hour to see if maybe one was just a a bit late.
I went out to the pen an hour later and discovered what looked like a little rock. Upon further examination I realized it was a tiny egg! The littlest, darkest egg I've ever seen. For the first time in my life, I was seeing a quail's fairy egg (or fart egg if you want to make your kids or kid-at-heart friends laugh).
It was so little! I know I'm saying that and you're like "Yeah, Brea I get it, it was small." No. You don't understand. It's so small! Quail eggs are already about 1/4 of the size of a chicken egg, and this was probably 1/3-1/4 the size of a quail egg.
Ok now that you really understand just how cute this thing was, let's talk about the why.
What causes fairy eggs?
When a regular egg is formed, the yoke travels down the oviduct either getting fertilized or not, then it picks up the albumen (egg white), then it gets it shell and coloring in the shell gland. It spends most of its time there. A fairy egg is usually an egg that goes through that whole process, but the thing that started the process wasn't a fully formed yoke. It can be just a bit of yoke, or it can be just a piece of reproductive tract that shed. Fairy eggs are completely normal and happen in lots of young egg layers.
It was believed that these yoke-less eggs were laid by roosters and, if hatched, would produce the fearsome Cockatrice. That would be a two-legged dragon with a rooster's head for all of you not up on your mythology. We know now that they are definitely still laid by hens and they are completely normal occurrences. Make sure to leave these out if you decide you want to incubate, though, because with a yoke, it is unviable.
Are they edible?
They are! In the case of quail eggs, they are so little you wouldn't get much of anything out of one, but yes they are edible. They won't hurt you in the least, it's just an egg that only has the white. Throw it in with your morning scramble and enjoy!