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Found: A Carton of a Dozen Eggs, All With Double Yolks

The odds are one in a thousand trillion.

11 double-yolk eggs. (Photo: Shelbyc/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Occasionally, hens lay eggs with two yolks in them. It’s relatively rare: it happens when a chicken ovulates twice in quick succession, and the chances of finding a double-yolked egg are about one in 1,000. But in one kitchen in Teddington, UK, a suburb of London, a 17-year-old found double yolks in every single egg in a carton of a dozen:

Tom Tosetti says he bought this box of eggs at Tesco, and based on the video above, either he’s a very good actor or he was as surprised as everyone else. It is a remarkable occurrence: The odds of finding 12 eggs with double yolks are one in a thousand trillion.*

Double yolks have a certain portend associated with them: in folklore, they’re associated with fertility and good fortune. Some people believe finding a double yolk foreshadows pregnancy or even twins; others believe it’s just a sign of general good luck.

There’s less folk wisdom about what it means to find 12 double yolks in a row. There are a few other stories of crazy runs of double-yolk eggs: in the past few years, one person found six in a row, and another found 10. There’s even another story of 12 double-yolked eggs in one carton. It’s also possible for a hen to lay an egg with more than two yolks. The record is 9.

Tosetti seems to feel pretty good about his find. We’ll give the last word to the “yolksman from Tesco,” who spoke to the Kingston Guardian: “This is cracking news for Tom; he’s clearly got eggsellent luck.”

Every day, we highlight one newly found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.

*Update: This estimate came from here, and was basically an extrapolation from the 1 in 1,000 figure. But it is not necessarily quite so rare to find 12 double-yolk eggs in one carton, because of how eggs are packaged, by weight. A couple people emailed to say that they’ve had this same experience.

There are a couple of factors that might bring up the odds of finding a run of double-yolked eggs. First, some breeds are more likely to lay them then others. Second, young chickens, new to laying, are more likely to produce such eggs. Third, these eggs are on the weightier side and are more likely to be packaged all together—it would be much more surprising to find a run of double-yolked eggs in a carton of medium eggs than in a carton of jumbo eggs.

One reader points to this BBC story as a good run-through of how to calculate the odds of finding a run of double-yolked eggs. The sad truth is that to calculate the true odds would require much more data. However, it’s still pretty rare. If people do occasionally find double-yolked runs, it’s in part because of the massive number of eggs that are produced—just in the U.S., chickens produce billions of eggs each month.

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