As chicken keepers, we have encountered them. Small. Cute. Maybe they were still in the nest box or perhaps stashed somewhere in the run or under a bush? Novice flock keepers may scratch their heads and wonder what exactly they are. But don’t wonder any longer, these pint-sized gems are pee wee eggs.
But before we delve into these eggs, let’s take a look at egg sizes. These standards were put into place by the Agriculture Marketing Act of 1946 according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). And what is unique about this program, it is voluntary. Egg producers don’t have to participate, but for those that do, consumers have come to expect a uniform size (whether it be medium, large, or perhaps jumbo) when they purchase a dozen eggs.
As backyard poultry keepers, we are not bound by this program. Though there are those folks with larger flocks who will weigh out eggs and provide their patrons with a uniform dozen. But if you are like myself or some vendors at farmers’ markets, there is variety in the sizing. This is not because we don’t have a scale, but more than likely, because we don’t have a large enough flock to provide enough eggs of a consistent size to all of our buyers. In other words, we fill up cartons as our hens lay their eggs regardless of size.
In the United States, egg sizes are determined by the weight of a dozen eggs. Peewees are the smallest and therefore the lightest eggs categorized. An entire dozen of peewees must weigh at least 15 ounces, but less than 18 ounces per dozen. This averages out to 1.25 ounces per egg at a 15 ounce dozen.
Now you may say, “Well, I have never seen eggs that small at a grocery store”. For most stores across the country, medium-sized eggs are the smallest sold. Those eggs come in at least 21 ounces per dozen which averages to 1.75 ounces per egg. Large eggs are the most common size sold with a dozen weighing in at 24 ounces per dozen with individual eggs averaging 2 ounces each. (For you bakers and cooks out there, if an egg size is not listed in a recipe, it is commonly assumed that the egg size is large.)
As backyard chicken keepers, we get to experience the progression of egg sizes. Our young pullets start out by laying those cute, tiny eggs… peewees. But as the chicken matures and puts on more weight, the size of her egg increases. Now occasionally you may encounter a ‘wind’ egg which may or may not contain a yolk. These eggs are not to be confused with peewees which will contain yolks. Wind eggs also tend to be more round in shape and are usually half the size or smaller than a true peewee egg.
Even though a peewee egg sighting in a carton may be as rare as hen’s teeth, it does not diminish their value. Some chefs and restaurants seek them out because of the claimed superior flavor. Others prefer their size stating that they are perfect for hors d’oeuvres and don’t take as much work to peel as quail eggs.
So embrace the peewee egg. Prepare them for meals where their flavor will truly shine through in omelets, scrambled, or even over-easy. Or if you have enough to sell, pack them up in a dozen and start a new trend. Peewee eggs could become the next specialty egg allowing you to charge more for this tiny treasure.
Everstuff Ranch says
I loved finding new pullet eggs last year. They were so cute and dainty. When the girls started up again this year, those that didn’t lay all through the winter, I found a few little pee wee eggs here and there. yay
P.S. I followed you here from Tilly’s Nest blog hop
Welcome! So glad you found our blog. Pee wee eggs are one of my favorite things. They make the cutest deviled eggs and taste great. I hope you come back to us again.
Summers Acres says
Pee wees are so cute. I also can’t wait for our new Ameraucana chicks to lay so we can have our own green/blue eggs. Thanks for sharing with us at The HomeAcre Hop!
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Yes… I love the tiny green/blue eggs. They are just wonderful. Thank you for stopping by.
mike lim says
I FREAKING LOVE PEEWEE EGGS BRUH
I’ve never yet seen a peewee egg. One of my nieces hens layed a good sized bluish egg and we’re wondering if certain types of hens lay them and what causes the different color. Oh. You might consider putting a quarter or something else who’s size doesn’t vary next to the egg in your pics so we can better tell the eggs true size .. like the peewee vs large egg pic. Thx!
Egg color varies by breed. And good idea for playing a coin next to a peewee egg for scale.
Can you buy egg cartons sized for peewee eggs?
I have never seen egg cartons for peewees.
I have pink pee wee eggs- but with a mixed flock I’m not positive who left them. However we get two or three each day from 10 hens and its been this way for weeks. Is it possible this is what some of the hens produce? We are not complaining- they are perfect for pickling and we love them! What are your thoughts?
Some breeds laying smaller eggs. An example are Silkie chickens. Their eggs are smaller than average. Pickling them is a great idea!