I know I am being difficult - -- but in buying fertile eggs - from an unknown rooster / hens source .... isn't that a bit of a risk ? With possible inherited nasties genetically ?
IF ( big IF at this stage ) I were to try hatching some new chicks for my tiny chicken farmlet out there, I think I would have to risk disobeying the Council - and get a rooster of good quality ( by reputation of the breeder ) ... kept separate to make sure he is the goods ( not sure if that would work though ) .... and then let him at my hens, broody or not. As long as they were squatting.
Then again, one doesn't know if an acquired rooster, ( and apparenty there are plenty of roosters available ) is going to be a brute, or a gentle caring boy who protects his flock.
The entire breeding, laying, hatching, broodys to use ( hopefully ), incubator options, fascinates me.....
I admit unashamedly, that I am reading all that is on BYC on this subject, with a view ..........a very distant view, admittedly, to having some new wee chicks one day..
Cheers again ...........
Naturally you might know of someone who keeps a healthy flock and if you only have small numbers , then the risks associated with bringing in a few POL hens may be minimal.
Alternatively you could buy some 6 week old chicks and by the time they are big enough to integrate with your existing flock , they will have passed their 6 week quarantine period.
As to eating eggs , I don't refrigerate eggs but I do wash them before eating.
Once you remove the protective ' bloom ' the egg starts to deteriorate . That is why you never get an egg from the supermarket with that high top yolk appearance , it is also why they refrigerate their eggs.