I've yet to do anything with the first eggs that Sophia and ZsuZsu laid around seven weeks ago (except keep them well refrigerated). So, whenever we put the newly harvested eggs in the egg carton, it's easy to see just how much bigger the eggs are getting from being their cute little selves like the ones that first dropped into the Eglu nest. Here's a picture comparing first eggs (on the right) with today's eggs (on the left). ZsuZsu's are in the top row, Sophia's are in the bottom row. While the first eggs were toy-like in size (maybe a USDA-rated "small" at best?) you can see the most recent eggs are worthy of being rated "large" in size, perfect for cooking with.
Since the egg shell has the same mass whether the egg is small or large, the shells have gotten thinner and therefore easier to crack open when cooking. While I can still easily crack open industry-produced eggs with one hand and not break the yolk while doing so, I can't quite claim the same success with our backyard eggs. Even thought the shell is thinner, the liner inside the shell is still pretty tough and prevents easy access to the insides. It must be the liner that becomes more brittle over time as the eggs sit on the shelf.
Since the egg liner is thick on our home-grown eggs, it makes for difficult openings, and it means I crack the egg multiple times before getting through the fractured shell and liner and at the insides. So, I've been picking more shell out of my mixing bowls when cooking with our backyard eggs than I can ever remember having to pick out of my cooking since I first learned to bake back in eighth grade. And, given how thick the albumen is in our backyard eggs, it takes some extra oomph to mix the yolk and whites sufficiently. But for all the difficulties, the taste and convenience is more than worth it.
Even though it's now a daily habit this harvesting of eggs, I still can't believe they come from our own backyard.
Oh, and I'd better blow out the "first eggs" soon before they go bad, huh?