How are antlers and eggs similar? Well besides containing various vitamins and minerals, there is another way that they are similar. How they are classified. Both antlers and eggs are "graded" by their quality. Eggs graded into AA, A, and B. Antlers graded into A, B, and C.
Eggs are graded based on interior and exterior qualities. The shell is judged by its cleanliness, shape, lack of cracks, and texture. Small specialty rods are used to tap the eggs shell to determine the integrity of it, if a high pitched ring is produced, it is strong, while a thud indicates a crack in the shell. To judge the interior of an egg, processors "candle" the eggs. This means that a bright light is shown on the backside of the egg in order to judge the interior. They judge eggs based on the air cell size, egg white area, and the density of the yolk.
Just like eggs, antlers have 3 different grades, A, B, and C. A is the highest quality of antler, while C is the least quality. They key to grading antlers is their color, age, integrity, and whether there are breaks or not.
Grade A Antlers
Fresh, Grade A Red Stag shed antler waiting to be picked up.
Grade A is the best highest grade an antler can receive. The characteristics of an A Grade antler are best explained as a very fresh antler. One of the quickest ways to tell a fresh antler is by looking at the color. Fresh antlers typically are a brown color, which are stains caused from the deer rubbing them on trees and in the dirt. Another way to tell an A Grade antler is the lack of cracks or breaks in the antler. The outside of the antler is whole with no hairline cracks in it.
Grade B Antlers
Grade B Mule Deer antler laying in the sun.
Grade B antlers the next best grade. These antlers are typically 1 or 2 years old, and are beginning to show their age. One side is white from the sun exposure while the other side typically still has some color to it. Some small cracks may appear in some spots, but the overall strength of the antler is mostly there.
Grade C Antlers
Grade C Moose antler after years of weathering in the woods.
These are the bottom of the ladder. These antlers are typically bleached white from years of exposure to the sun and the elements, which has also caused a lot of cracks in the exterior of the antler. There are lots of chew marks from rodents that have been getting their dose of vitamins from these antlers for years. There is hardly any strength left in these antlers, and can break relatively easy.