Egg Analyses part iii – Shells

Shells

Clockwise from top left: Venus, Lily, Frida, Poppy, Bessie, Ella, Claire, Neroli

Our final data concern the egg shells themselves. All eight eggs had good, normal-thickness shells. As the photo shows, the pigment that determines the colour of the shell is only laid down in the outer shell.

While we technically have two “colours” of egg (“white” and “brown”), in actual fact the colours range over a fairly broad palette. Colour perception is notoriously subjective, so we used colour swatches from Resene Paints’ Multi-finish range to establish a closest approximation. The results below are from lightest to darkest.

Hen Colour Code Description
Lily Black White N93-005-100 longish teardrop shape, pointed, with longitudinal striations (‘rifling marks’)
Neroli Quarter Spanish White Y93-015-083 very similar to Frida and Lily in shape, often with small pinkish speckles
Frida Pearl Lustre Y94-018-087 long teardrop shape, usually with a ‘suture’ marking at the blunt end
Bessie Tequila Y88-049-070 classic egg shape – a rounded teardrop with a slight hint of apricot
Poppy Manhattan 080-063-064 a slightly elongated version of Bessie’s round teardrop shape, healthy-suntan brown
Ella Manhattan base

Desperado speckles

080-063-064 very rounded teardrop, usually a clear glossy brown with darker speckles
Claire Whiskey Sour base

Chelsea Gem speckles

071-082-061 a longer, thinner egg, usually with a definite point, tends to be a clear coffee brown base with darker speckles
Venus Kalgoorie Sands 068-060-059 a long oval shape – usually very difficult to work out which end is the ‘point’

Swatches were held up against the eggs under natural light from a north-facing window, in moderate overcast weather conditions, around midday.

The following table expresses the weight of the shells wet, dry (dried in a 100˚C oven for 30 minutes), and expressed as a percentage of the total weight of the egg.

Hen Wet Dry Shell %†
Venus 9 g 6 g 12.5%
Lily 8 g 6 g 12.12%
Frida 9 g 6 g 15%
Poppy 8 g 6 g 12.9%
Neroli 8 g 6 g 13.8%
Claire 7 g 5 g 12%
Ella 8 g 6 g 10.8%
Bessie 7 g 7 g 12.1%

†Wet weight of shell as a percentage of total egg weight, i.e. how much of the egg you can’t eat!

⇐ back to Egg Analyses part ii: Yolks and Whites
⇐ ⇐ right back to Egg Analyses part i: Eggs

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