Red Junglefowl eggs

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“Discovered a clutch of 5 Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) eggs 2 days ago following a tip off from my estate manager (below left).

“I don’t have the habit of actively looking out for nests as I don’t wish to disturb the birds. But since he suspected that the nests had been abandoned with 2 broken eggs, I decided to look for them. They were hidden in a patch of Sphagneticola trilobata planted as ground cover, located at one corner of the parking lots (above right). The eggs were cold to the touch giving me the confidence that indeed they had been abandoned.

“I collected the 5 eggs. They measured between 43 and 47 mm in length and between 34 and 36 mm in diameter (below left). Total weight was about 140 gm. I could not measure them individually as the kitchen scale did not have the accuracy. The colour of the eggs matches that of Red Junglefowl x domestic chicken in this LINK.

“The following day one of the eggs turned bad and cracked. I peeled the egg shell and found a dead foetus occupying the space in the egg completely (above right).

“The remaining 4 eggs are now with David Tan of NUS for DNA analysis.”

Sun Chong Hong
Singapore
16th January 2014

Postscript:
“Am.y” asked: “So there were 7 eggs in total (you mention 2 were broken and you collected 5 unbroken ones)? Any idea why the eggs were abandoned?”

Sun Chong Hong answered: “The estate manager mentioned he saw 5 eggs and 2 broken ones. When I found them, I only saw 5 as shown in the attached images. I didn’t know what happened to the 2 broken eggs.

“I understand most people (myself included) would love to have a definitive answer. However, in real life, as happened in this case, the reasons can be any or combinations of some of the reasons listed below:

a) hen killed by python, cobra, dog, cat or possibly by passing vehicle;
b) nest exposed by gardener who may have trimmed the plants;
c) prying human eyes (there was a neighbour who mentioned that the eggs had disappeared);
d) others which I can’t think of.”

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