20 Apr 2012

Hen gives birth to chick without egg

9:15 am on 20 April 2012

In a new twist on the age-old question of whether the chicken or the egg came first, a Sri Lanka hen has given birth to a chick without an egg.

Instead of passing out of the hen's body and being incubated outside, the egg was incubated in the hen's reproductive system for 21 days and then hatched inside her.

The chick is fully formed and healthy, although the mother has died. A post-mortem conducted on the hen's body concluded that it died of internal wounds.

The government veterinary officer in the area, who examined the carcass to confirm what had happened, says he has never seen anything like it before.

The BBC's correspondent in Colombo says the story has made headlines in Sri Lanka.