'That poor chicken': Alberta farmer weighs in on behemoth Ontario egg

It's the talk of the farm.

Alberta poultry producers are clucking over a record-setting egg laid by an Ontario hen.

Weighing in at a staggering 180 grams, the egg is the size of a substantial apple and weighs more than a major league baseball.

Dennis Goslow, a hobby farmer near Sault Ste. Marie, discovered the mammoth shell in his roost last week, and has been cracking international headlines ever since.

"I thought, that poor chicken," Morinville poultry farmer Paul Wurz said with a chuckle during an interview with CBC Edmonton's Radio Active.

"That is one big, big egg."

Wurz, manager of the Morinville Colony poultry farm, said laying such a big egg would be hard on any bird, and that the hen responsible for the oblong whopper may be an empty-nester for some time.

"If it's a bigger-framed chicken, it will hurt her but it won't hurt her as much as if it was a smaller chicken," said Wurz, who manages the 20,000-hen laying barn. "When they do that, it's a while before they lay another one.

"A big one like that, she's probably still hesitating."

Wurz knows a good egg. The Morinville Colony has raised laying hens at its farm northwest of Edmonton since 1970. 

Every day, more than 20,000 eggs are laid, washed and packed for market. Wurz has been in charge of the laying hens since he was 14, when his grandfather gave him the task.

'That chicken got preferred treatment'

While the uninitiated may still be scratching their heads over incident, Wurz has cracked the mystery.

Brown hens tend to lay larger eggs, and Wurz believes the well --intentioned Ontario farmer may be feeding his brood too much protein, which can alter the quality of their shells.

"With it being a backyard flock, they're probably feeding it a lot of vegetables, like dried tomatoes, spinach and lettuce and things like that," said Wurz, who won the Alberta egg farm of the year award in 2014.

"To lay an egg like that means that chicken got preferred treatment and was fed just way too much."

The record for the heaviest chicken egg in the world is 454 grams. The egg was laid by a hen in New Jersey in 1956. 

Wurz has his own personal record. Last summer, one of his hens laid a "behemoth" egg that weighed in at 122 grams.

"I kept it around for a while just to show people how big an egg can really get. I posted it on Facebook and got a few comments out of it," Wurz said. "One of my restaurants actually wanted all eggs like that after that, and I said, 'No, no, no, my girl screwed up.' " 

Though the egg earned Wurz some bragging rights with his farming friends, he won't be pushing his hens for a repeat performance.

"Some of the smaller ones, if they laid an egg that size, they'd be pretty much done," he said.

"I like my hens too much for that, I want to keep them around longer."