by Meredith Chilson
Q. Why do farm fresh eggs sometimes have a speck of blood in them and how do I keep this from happening? – Bonnie
A. Bonnie, not too long ago I looked for the answer to this question myself! The short answer is actually right in your question: Specks of blood are sometimes found in farm-fresh eggs. If we start at the beginning …
As you no doubt know, a hen’s reproductive system is made up of an ovary and an oviduct. Each ovary contains thousands of ova, each of which can develop into a yolk, and when this happens each yolk is attached to the ovary by a membrane made of fine blood vessels. (For a diagram and a simple, but more in-depth explanation, the University of Illinois does a nice job. The blood spot you see in your eggs is usually just a small bit of blood vessel that may have remained attached to the yolk. It also means that the egg you are using is an extremely fresh egg. As an egg ages, water moves from the “white” (the albumen) to the yolk and dilutes the spot.
Eggs purchased at a store tend to be older, and usually any blood spots have been detected by candling or by use of electronic spotters.
|Fresh egg with tiny “meat” spot|
Another spot that occasionally occurs in eggs is a “meat” spot. These tend to be brown or gray or white. I’ve actually been noticing a few in the eggs I’ve been gathering lately. According to what I’ve read, “meat” spots are considered a bit of excess reproductive tissue, and the chance of finding them in eggs increases with the age of the hen. There also seems to be a higher incidence of them in brown eggs. This makes sense to me: Many of my hens are in their third year of laying, and they all lay brown eggs. Again, the eggs are perfectly safe to eat, and the spot can just be removed.
As to the second part of your question: I’m not sure there’s a good answer for how to keep the spots from occurring. Anything I can find about this says to keep track of which hen lays the eggs with the spots, and then cull the hen. For me, it’s just easier (and kinder) to use the tip of a knife and remove the spot!