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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

UNL Extension in Lancaster County

Can You Guess It?? Feature

This page was updated on March 23, 2008

Helping Nebraskans enhance their lives through research-based education.


The Can You Guess It?? photo shown above is featured in the April 2008 Nebline Newsletter

ANSWER: An Egg Tooth on a Baby Chicken's Beak

Baby birds and reptiles have a special tool to help them break out of their eggs. It is called an egg tooth. The egg tooth is a small, pointed projection on the top of the beak, near the very tip. It is made of the same hard material as the beak.

The egg tooth appears on the baby bird's beak about Day 7 in its development inside the egg. When the bird is ready to hatch, the egg tooth is like a little can opener. The chicks will pip the shell (make a little hole), and chip away at the shell as it moves around the shell.

After the chick hatches, the egg tooth only lasts a couple of weeks before it falls off or is reabsorbed.

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