I will try to make a long story short. Bear with me. The question is this: Will fertilized eggs that have sat out for who knows how long in the nest in the woods, and have been rained on and had the bloom washed off still be safe for human consumption? Our chickens are in a large fenced run, but it's not covered. We've never had a problem with our chickens getting out regularly until recently. We've have a young hen that gets out daily and every day we put her up. My daughter had already put her up today (one or 2 times she's gotten out twice in the same day). Last night, she was not in the coop when my hubby went to shut them and failed to notice this. She spent the night outside for the first time. At any rate, I went down early tonight, before dark incase she wasn't there, so I could look for her. Well she wasn't. Took me awhile but I found her in a brushpile. With 26 eggs underneath her. Only a couple of days ago did I suspect 'maybe she has a nest somewhere' but didn't think too seriously about it. I moved her & the eggs to a spare cage in our 'bunny coop', and made makeshift nest out of the bottom half a hard plastic cat carrier. She wasn't 'sitting' on the eggs when I left. She was all out of sorts. Assuming she returns to sitting, because it's been below freezing here and she's not spent time on these eggs, if any are viable it would be what she laid today, if she laid an egg today. Not knowing which that would be, I marked all the eggs with a pencil. One got cracked in transport, so I brought that in. So she has 25 of them, and I plan to candle them in 3 days. The one that I brought in, I cracked it into a clear glass bowl and cracked another that I got out of the coop today to compare side by side. The one from the cracked shell that was in the nest had some development. The fertilized spot was bigger, more distinct, also the opposite side of the yolk had several dark tiny specks in it- what I assume was the beginnings of blood vessels forming. We have had a couple of big rains in the past several weeks- not really sure how long it's taken her to lay 26 eggs. So the bloom has gotten rinsed off of them. I'm not concerned about the development, because she's spent a couple hours at most, everyday sitting on them. We did have some warm temps in the 70's last week, but it's been mostly 50's during the day, been down in the 20's the past couple of nights. I guess my concern is that without the bloom, they've picked up some random disease found in the dirt. Ofcourse if we eat them, we would cook them completely- we don't do runny eggs. Would that be enough to kill the plaque? Or tuberculosis, or typhoid or whatever might be lurking in the soil?????