What sort of biological wonders lay hidden beneath those free-range chicken eggs? 15 different layers! Here they are:

1. Eggshell

The eggshell is the most obvious layer. Made up of almost entirely calcium carbonate, the white semipermeable membrane consists of over 17,000 tiny pores for air and moisture, and to protect against foreign elements.

2. Outer shell membrane

The outer shell membrane is the first layer of membrane under the eggshell.

3. Inner shell membrane

Both the outer and the inner shell membranes work together in protecting the nearest layer of egg white (the albumen) from foreign elements and bacteria. The outer membrane lies up against the eggshell, and the inner lies up against the albumen. A little after an egg is laid, the inner and outer membrane separate and form the air cell (see layer 14).

4. Chalaza

The chalazae cut medially down to keep the egg yolk centered and in place. The denser the chalazae, the fresher (and tastier) the free-range chicken eggs.

5. Exterior albumen

A thin and narrow fluid layer which rests against the the inner shell membrane.

6. Middle albumen

A thick, white, dense, fibrous capsule of albumen high in riboflavin and protein. The thicker, the higher the egg quality.

7. Vitelline membrane

A clear casing which encloses the egg yolk. Very important in protecting the yolk.

8. Nucleus of pander

A bit of whitish yolk for nutritional development

9. Germinal disk

A small disk and place of entry where sperm enters the egg.

10. Yellow yolk

The major source of vitamins and minerals in an egg.

11. White yolk

Lower in fat content than the yellow yolk

12. Internal albumen

Works alongside the vitelline membrane in protecting and keeping the yolk centered.

13. Chalzae connectors

A group of chalzae which connect with layer four.

14. Air cell

A conduit for air and the expulsion of carbon monoxide as the egg develops.

15. Cuticle or bloom

A sort of mesh or film over the eggshell beneficial in reducing moisture.
Not only are chickens much smarter than we may have thought, but their free-range chicken eggs are also works of art with much depth. Why don’t you take part in their work? Give us a call at (717) 205-2660 to begin planning your organic, free-range breakfast today!

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