Eggs safe to eat?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 9, 2011
I've been watching for my new chickens to start laying, and thought I was looking in all the likely spots. I just found a whole bunch of eggs that have been in my backyard, in the shade, for possibly as much as a week.

I carefully cracked and smelled them all, and there is no odor whatsoever. Would I be able to smell something if they were bad? I mean, I know rotten eggs stink bad, but is no smell any indication of whether they are safe to eat? (Cooked well.)

I've read on this forum that some people have kept eggs on the counter for up to a few weeks with no trouble. When I call the extension, of course they have to be ultra conservative and say I should throw them out.

But what's the REAL truth?


Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
10 Years
Nov 22, 2009
Jacksonville, FL - Arligton-
What are the temps where you are?

My customers assume that 21 days at 70*F is safe as 21 days at 100* can hatch healthy birds.

The temps here have been in the 80*F + area and I would not eat those.


You can get two bowls (one small one large) and open them into the small bowl, if they seem good then dump into big bowl, if it seems bad dump into trash and wash the small bowl with hot soapy water. Repeat for each egg.


8 Years
Mar 12, 2011
Western NC
I would probably eat them well cooked but just to be on the safe side you could cook them and feed them back to your chickens, then they wouldn't be going to waste.


Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Feb 5, 2009
South Georgia
I'd do the float test. Put each egg in a bowl of cool water. If it sinks it's OK. If it floats, it's not. Bet they all sink.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 9, 2011
I wish I'd done the float test before I cracked them all! But perhaps the lack of smell is a good indicator, yes?


Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
Southeast Louisiana
Yes, the lack of smell is a good indicator. If they smell and look OK and they are well cooked, they should be fine.

The float test does not tell you if they are good or bad. It is mainly an indicator of how old they are. As eggs age, they lose moisture through the porous shell and the air sac gets bigger. Real fresh eggs lay flat on the bottom. Eggs that have been around a while will stand on end but stay on the bottom, with the air sac up. Eggs even older will float to the surface. Also, eggs that get bacteria in them and are bad will float.

Just because an egg floats does not mean it is bad. It just means the eggs are not fresh and that they should be viewed with suspicion. As long as you sniff them before you crack them and crack them one by one in a different bowl, you should be able to tell if they are bad. But if I find eggs and don't know how old they are, I feed them to the chickens.

The temperature does not matter that much as to whether they are safe or not. Bacteria will develop faster at warmer temperatures, but if the bacteria is not present, it can't multiply. A broody hen will lay eggs for two weeks or so, then set on them for 21 days. If they have bacteria in them, they won't hatch. The bacteria would kill the chick. Just because they are old does not make them dangerous, but as I said, view them with suspicion.

One other point. A fertile egg that is stored in the 80's or higher might begin to develop some. It's not going to develop enough to hatch but you migth see something if you crack it open. That is another good reason to crack them in a separate bowl. Eggs that have begun to develop are not unsafe to eat. In some countries, those are a delicacy. But I'm not going to eat them.


8 Years
Mar 28, 2011
Tallahassee, FL
Yes I believe smell is a good indicator with eggs. In addition most harmful bacteria is killed if cooked well.

In foreign country spice is popular because half the time the meat is less than desirable. Cook well enjoy or if you want to be safe cook well feed to chooks.


Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
Everett WA/Corvallis OR
To add to what ridgerunner said, if you sealed up the outside of an egg real well and kept it at a high humidity, like 95+, you will still have a sinking eggs many many many months later.

I had a few 8 or 9 year old eggs sitting in my cabinet drying out. They wobbled around on one end. Then one day one got cracked. It was just dry inside... but with high humidity, that dry inside soon became a lovely bacterial culture base and I had to toss it out.


In the Brooder
8 Years
Sep 9, 2011
I haven't heard of setting eggs to dry although I seem to recall people preserving eggs by burying them in something or other. Too bad I don't have much of a memory!

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