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The Structure And Care Of Eggs

( Originally Published 1915 )

Aim.—To learn the structure so as to know how to care for eggs. Materials.—Two or three eggs, two or three saucers, and one or two long needles.

Preparation.—Do farmers ever take bad eggs to town? How do the merchants tell which are bad? Yes, by candling them. It is claimed that over one-eighth of the eggs taken to town are bad and hence the merchants have to pay the farmers enough less or else charge the bad ones back to the farmers. This in one year amounts to something over fifty million dollars. How may the farmers avoid having bad eggs? Yes, but before the farmer will take better care of his eggs, he must know more about what an egg is. Let us see some of the wonderful things there are in an egg.

Presentation.—The teacher holding up an egg. What do you notice about this egg? Yes, color, form, roughness, etc. Did you ever touch an egg immediately after it was laid? How did it feel? Yes, sticky. And that stickiness was made by a covering of mucus which is necessary to keep out bacteria which might injure the contents of the egg. Now if the nest was dirty and hence the egg laid in filth and then gathered and washed, what injury was done? Yes, the mucous coating was washed off and perhaps some of the filth was washed or pushed into the pores of the egg shell. The egg shell has many little pores, so that while the little chick is hatching it can get air.

Both size and color may be important to the man selling eggs. Some markets pay more for brown eggs and some pay more for white eggs. In some States a certain number of ounces make a dozen and the man who brings small eggs must give thirteen for a dozen.

Have you ever broken an egg? What did you find inside? Did the contents entirely fill the shell? At which end was the air space? Did the lining come out with the white and yolk? How many kinds of white? The air space is to give the little chick air and to furnish room for it to develop and the white is for food. The main part of the yolk is also for food. (The teacher breaks the egg and lets the pupils first examine the shell and then the contents, which she passes around in a saucer.) Now I wonder who saw something more to tell about the yolk? Yes, it has a spot in it and that spot is called the nucleus. It is there that the little chick begins. If the egg was unfertilized, no little chick can start, but the egg will keep for cooking much longer. There are wonderful secrets wrapped up in that little nucleus about which you are to learn in zoology, and when you are old enough to understand the discoveries of Gregory Mendel. But there are some other things that some one should have seen. Yes,' there are streaming out from either side of the yolk, two strings. What do you think they are for? They are the ends or torn parts of a sack called the chalaza. This sack holds the yolk in place near the centre of the egg contents. Now if the farmer puts his eggs in a box and puts the box in the back of a road wagon and then goes to market humpty dumpty over the hard, rough roads, what do you think happens to the ehalaza? Yes, it is broken, and then the yolk is mixed with the white and the egg soon spoils. If he should want the egg to set, no little chick could hatch from an egg with a broken chalaza. What does this teach us about how to handle eggs? Yes, eggs must be handled care-fully for both market and for setting. The parts of an egg, then, are the mucous covering, the shell, the lining, the dense and light white, the yolk, the nucleus, and the chalaza, all of which a farmer must understand in order to know how to pack, market, and set eggs.

Comparison.—Compare the way eggs are handled from your home and the way we have learned they should be handled.

Application.—Get the folks at home to let you gather the eggs or to see if you cannot discover a better market for first-class eggs.

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