Eggs in Winter

Gray Ghost

9 Years
Feb 13, 2010
This is my first year with laying hens so I'm going into my first winter. My 28 hens are in a log coop with a frame roof. The log walls provide a lot of insulation as does the thick straw on the floor. However I am not planning on heating the coop so I am guessing that with some of the weather we get here in NE Wisconsin, there will be some periods where the temp inside the coop is below freezing. I usually collect eggs twice a day, once around 8-9 AM and once around noon.

Long story short: when hens lay in the winter, how do you prevent the eggs from freezing before they are collected? Collect more often? Lots of straw in the next boxes? Something else?

Thanks in advance.

I'd check once more, maybe 5 PM, if you can, in case you have late layers. Might be some will freeze. It's never happened to me be it is rare for us to go all day below freezing. You can still eat an egg that's been frozen. Not sure you can fry it but I believe it still does fine scrambled or in cooking.
Right now I'm using newspaper shredded strips in the nest boxes. There's cardboard beneath that. I'm planning on adding a layer of straw underneath the cardboard for insulation.
If I put the straw on top of the cardboard the girls would just yank it out like they do the shredded newspaper and play with it in the coop.
I gather at 8 and noon, but I've never had anyone lay past noon unless it was an "oops" jelly egg outside the coop.
You just have to check more often. When it gets below zero, like it does where you live, and like it does here, it doesn't take long for eggs to freeze. I've had it happen a couple of times.
The first winter we tried and tried to get them before freezing but it was just too cold. We never knew when one would lay. Last winter we didn't put light on so they slowed down at the coldest (darkest) part of winter. This year I'm on the fence about lighting and getting eggs because of the freezing issue. My egg box is on the inside of the coop too so I will be following this thread so see other ideas. Maybe a baby monitor? then we would know when to go get the eggs? With 15 girls that's a lot of trips when it's below 32 degrees for us.
Lots of straw in the boxes, keep it clean and fluffed up. Also, pretty soon you're going to know when they will be done laying for the day so can get to them before they freeze.

BTW, I'd go with deep pine shavings on the floor rather than straw--it stays drier and fluffier so the birds feet don't get as cold. Just a thought if you can do it.
I am going into my second winter, the girls laid OK last winter. I checked 2-4 times a day, depending on my work schedule. My coop is not heated and I live in WI. I used a mix of thick shavings and chopped straw in the nestboxes and 6-8 inches wood shavings on the floor. I don't think I had any frozen eggs except for half a dozen that one of the girls laid outside the nestboxes in a hidden spot. I did not find them for a few days and they were cracked and frozen. I also used a couple of bales of straw stacked on the floor to avoid draft from pop door toward the area of the nestboxes. Will do same this year....
It gets below freezing in our coop, too. When it's that cold, I just check several times a day. Occasionally we get a frozen egg, too. My dogs are also happy to eat any that are cracked. It's just one more service they provide!
so.. do they lay around the same time every day? If mine lay in the afternoon (which I think they do) will they always do that?

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