A man from Nottingham believes he has found the world's smallest chicken egg.
Roger Downing, of Gardenia Grove, Mapperley, has kept hens in his back garden for four-and-a-half years after giving in to pleas from his daughters to get some.
On Thursday, he adopted three new companions from Brinsley Animal Rescue – former battery hens that the centre had rescued – and went to bed dreaming about scrambled eggs for breakfast.
But after reading a story in the Journal's sister paper - the Nottingham Post - on Friday and seeing Debbie Whyatt's claim to the world's smallest chicken egg, laid by her prized brahma putra hen Missie, he walked down the garden to find his own little gem.
"My wife pointed out the article to me when I was having a cup of coffee in the morning," he said.
"Then ten minutes later, I found an even smaller one laid by one of my new hens. I couldn't believe it!"
The egg measures just under 25mm in length, beating Missie's egg by 13mm.
Mr Downing isn't sure which of the 18-month-old hens had laid the egg but he narrowed it down to his three new rescue pets – Scarlet, Violet and Rose.
All three are brown warren chickens.
"It is so strange," he said. "If I hadn't read the article that morning, I wouldn't even have thought of calling in."
Chairman and co-founder of Brinsley Animal Rescue Jon Beresford said the size of the egg was unique.
"Happy hens lay eggs for the rest of their natural lives but as they get older, the eggs tend to get larger," he explained.
"We've been keeping hens for ten years and you see all types of eggs – misshapen, wrinkly or soft-shelled.
"But in that time I have only ever seen one incredibly small egg."
Mr Downing enjoys looking after his hens.
He said: "They don't keep me too busy.
"I let them out in the morning and it stops me having to cut the grass! They are good company and give me something to do in my retirement."
Guinness World Records doesn't have a category for the smallest chicken egg, only for smallest bird egg – currently held by the Vervain Hummingbird of Jamaica with two eggs measuring less than 10mm.
So what will become of Mr Downing's prized possession?
"It is sat on the egg rack and we don't know what to do with it, although I am tempted to crack it open and see if there is even a yolk inside," he said.
"It won't make a very big omelette!"
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