Hard Boiled Chick

I know. It’s a cringe worthy title. I promise I didn’t take any pictures.

Let me explain. This is one of those lessons on what NOT to do, my friends.

So, remember a while back when we found a hen hiding in the chicken coop, sitting on too many eggs? Remember how I collected the extra eggs so that she could sit on a manageable amount, and keep them all properly warm?

Well, without a second thought, I had taken the extra eggs inside and stuck them in the fridge.

Bad move.

Okay, let’s pause for a minute so that I can offer a little How Chicken Eggs Turn To Chicks 101 for all you non-chicken people.

When you have a rooster and a hen, the rooster will more likely than not mate with your hen and cause her eggs to be fertilized.

You won’t be able to tell if an egg is fertilized or not until she has sat on it for a while- then you can do a process called candling ( whole other topic), which is basically shining a light through the egg to look for signs of life.

Anyways… when a hen begins to sit on a fertilized egg (thus incubating it) it will slowly begin to develop into a chick. It takes 21 days for a chick to fully form and hatch. How far along the chick is developed depends upon how long a hen has been keeping the egg warm.

And when I found this hen, I had no idea how long she’d been sitting there. Yet, I grabbed up her eggs for us to eat.

See where this is going??

Okay, so a few days after I brought the eggs inside, I decided to make hard boiled eggs. I washed them, stuck them in a pot of water, brought it to a boil… did everything as usual.

But when they were done and I started peeling the shell off, I was HORRIFIED to find a big, grey round thing looking up at me from underneath a layer of cooked egg-white!

I gasped, because it all came flooding back to me. The hen. The eggs! How long had she been sitting on these eggs?!?

Oh gosh. *gag* OH GOSH! It’s an eyeball!! A big, swollen eyeball!!

Aaaaah!!!! I was totally freaking out.

And dangit! I needed those eggs for a potluck I was going to later on.

Maybe it wasn’t a chick. Maybe there was some other explanation.

But the more I looked at that swollen grey eyeball looking up at me, the more that sick feeling churned in my stomach. I picked it up to see if I could determine anything with a closer examination.

Oh gosh, why is it so hard?! My boiled eggs are never this hard!

I had to know.

I got a knife. And slowly I forced my hand to make a cut through the hard egg, cringing and looking away as I did. When I felt the knife hit the plate, I held my breath and glanced back at it through squinted eyes and gritted teeth.

But to my surprise… it looked normal! I grabbed it up, relieved but perplexed. What the heck?

Later I learned that when you overcook a hard boiled egg, the yolk will turn a greyish color, and it will become much harder than you’d typically want.

A grey yoke. I’d overcooked it.

No hard boiled chick.


But, this could have ended very badly. Lesson learned. The next time I take an egg out from under a sitting hen, and I have no idea how long she’s been there… I’ll candle the egg before we try to eat it. Bleh.

23 thoughts on “Hard Boiled Chick”

  1. It amuses me, the horror some people feel when something like this happens. We are eating undeveloped chicken children, and when you have a “man” in the mix, you have to expect fertile, bloody, or even partially-developed eggs sometimes. So far we’ve only ever gotten eggs with a little blood in them, or a little “bean” (very early embryo), but it all gets mixed in. Meat is meat! But I try to collect our eggs every one to three days.

    Something I do with our eggs, both to wash off the poo and other debris, and to check for cracks or spoilage (especially important with “how long have these been here” nests you find)… is fill the sink with cool water, and place all the day’s eggs in there. Fresh eggs will sit flat. Older eggs will be wobbly, trying to tilt up on end. Rotten eggs will float. We don’t eat any eggs that stand up on end like a top, those get fed to the dog or back to the chickens. Why this happens…. bacteria builds up in the eggs as they spoil, either from age and heat, or introduced bacteria from cracks or hen-pecks. The bacteria cause extra gas to build up in the air pocket, and it becomes bouyant. Once I’ve removed any ‘floaters”, I just wash off any funk by hand, use a little brush if its really stuck on, and set them aside to dry. Any mildly-cracked or tipsy eggs get put into the “eat ASAP” carton, and the rest stored for later or sale. I’ve heard to store them pointed-end down too, to last longer.

  2. First I want to say I really enjoy reading your posts and watching how your mini farm grows.

    Though I must say this post really did make me cringe and hold my breath as I was reading it. I was imagining how painful it must have been for the unborn chick being boiled. ugh!!!

    Am so glad that it didn’t happen to you. Though sad to hear it has happened to others. As someone said in an earlier comment, it would scar for life.

  3. Oh, this was NOT nice!!! But, yes, lesson learned. Thank you! And I’m glad it didn’t really happen to you after all. Crazy that it happened to some of your other readers.

    Funny thing though… I think that every hard boiled egg I ate in childhood had a gray outside to the yoke. I didn’t know it wasn’t supposed to be like this until I was an adult learning how to make them for myself! 🙂

  4. E-Z to peel hard boiled fresh eggs….never fails me…

    BOIL water first, lower eggs into it, keep at low rolling boil for 14-15 min, remove hot water and run cold water over them for a few minutes. hey should practically JUMP out of the egg. Feel free to share this in a main blog…it is IMPORTANT to know of you want any egg left!!!!14 min is the recommendation but our larger eggs take 15.

  5. Been there.

    I was cracking some duck eggs into a bowl to add to a recipe for dinner. The 2nd or 3rd one was half developed. (shocked!! horrified!!) My husband was in the kitchen and I could not shield him from seeing it in time.
    Needless to say, that whole batch of eggs sitting in the fridge were thrown in the trash. I was not taking a risk of discovering someone else in an egg!

    I’m more careful now. Eggs get pulled from nests within a day or two. No exceptions.
    If I want to hatch eggs, I clearly mark the OLD eggs in the nest with a pencil and only pull the new eggs laid.

  6. Oh my thank you so much for this early morning laugh! I actually sat here and laughed outloud . You presented such a funny picture! I too have had the experience of opening an egg with a chick in it , accidently of course! They say laughter is good for the soul! Thank YOU ! Well you didn’t actually have a chick….but I did !

  7. Im just curious as to how you hard boil your eggs. I start mine in cold water, and then bring them to a boil. As soon as they come to a boil I take them off the heat, and put a lid on top of the pan. Then I set the timer for 12 min if the eggs are the size of average grocery store large. The ones I get from our farmers market are bigger than our duck eggs so I leave them for 15 minutes. As soon as the timer goes off I drain all of the water off and fill the pan with cold water, repeating twice. Then I dump a tray of ice cubes into the psn. I leave them at that point to get cold. By not boiling the eggs I never have the grey over done ones even when I am making different sizes as I do with the farmers market eggs. They might all be huge but some may be really huge. Putting in the ice helps with the peeling of the eggs. Even though I try to save back eggs if I know I’m going to be hard boiling some, fresh eggs just don’t peel well, by getting them really cold right after you take them out of the hot water it helps a lot.

    • Terri Sue,

      I think I let them boil for a few minutes this time before removing them from the heat. Sometimes I get distracted and forget to take them off the burner in time, lol 😉 Thanks for your tips, though! I’ve had trouble peeling our eggs at times. I’ll have to use your ice cubes advice 🙂

  8. Hah! This totally happened to me when I was young maybe 10? I was eating a soft-boiled egg with a bread stick… and there was a bird. YUCK. Let me tell you this was the last time I ever ate a soft-boiled egg. Never again!

  9. I’m glad I already ate breakfast ’cause now I won’t eat for the rest of the day!!! :~O haha! Just kidding! BUT that has happened to me on more than one occasion ~ I have been raising chickens for over 50 years so it’s bound to happen!
    Just remember not to fix me eggs when I come to eat at your place! :~P
    Just kidding, again! Kinda sorta!

  10. A childhood memory just came rushing back to me…
    My grandfather gave me a big, beautiful duck egg. I cracked a sweet little duckling right into a hot frying pan! I was completely traumatized. Funny thing is, he had no mallards. There must’ve been some migrating ducks creeping into the barnyard…


Leave a Comment