First eggs today....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by famousgrouse, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. famousgrouse

    famousgrouse In the Brooder

    May 26, 2014
    Romeo, MI
    Well. It has been a very long wait. For a while, I was wondering if my hens (5) would just wait until spring to start laying. I bought them as pullets in the beginning of July and was told they were 8 weeks old. So now, mid December I finally have 6 eggs. I have been checking the nest boxes every two days for the last 6 months!! Now, all of a sudden 6 eggs!! I am happy.

    a few questions:

    1) It is cold here in MI. mid 30's during the day and lower at night. It is only going to get colder! Knowing that a few of my hens are now laying, I will start checking nest boxes in the morning and again before dark. Can I bring cold eggs in and let them thaw (warm up) on the kitchen counter or, because they were already cold, do they need to be refrigerated? How long will they last?

    2) How do I tell if an egg is frozen? I know obvious signs are a cracked shell, but what if I don't have a cracked shell yet know that the egg is probably frozen given the temps outside in relation to the last time I checked the nest box? How do I deal with a frozen egg?

    3) I have been feeding an organic "layer" to the hens for the last month. Because they have now started to lay, do I need to introduce anything else to their diet? Oyster shells? If so how?

    Thanks for all the feedback. I am new to the game and just want to make sure I am doing things properly and my hens have what they need. My coop is well built, has no draft, is properly vented, and my 5 gallon waterer is heated. I think I have all the basics down, but honestly wasn't expecting eggs until early spring.

  2. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    Since I'm in Florida, I don't know about freezing eggs, so I'll leave your first two questions for someone else. On your third question, yes, you want to be sure they always have access to crushed oyster shell to help replenish the calcium they lose laying. We get it by the 5 pound bag at our feed store and just keep small feeders close to their food so they can get it when they want it.

    Congratulations on getting your first eggs!
  3. famousgrouse

    famousgrouse In the Brooder

    May 26, 2014
    Romeo, MI
    Thanks NorthFLchick. I appreciate the advice. Got another egg this morning!!! :). Still need to figure out if I can keep them in a basket on the counter or if they have to go in the fridge. I thought I read somewhere that if they are already cold (from being outside) then they have to remain refrigerated. I plan on washing them as I need them but still puzzled about storing them at room temp.
    Can anyone else chime in and give me some advice?

    ps. I put some Oyster shells out this morning. I just scattered the bits on the floor of their run. I will try and get/make some sort of dispenser for the oyster shells soon.

    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Congrats and Welcome.

    You don't need to refrigerate because the eggs were cold or frozen...IMO....I never have and never had a problem just keeping them on the counter.
    I wondered if they might form condensation coming into the house cold, which could be an issue-maybe, but I have not witnessed any condensation happening.
    Nor have I read of any concern regarding cold eggs.

    It's when you wash the bloom off the egg that you'll need to stick it in the fridge because the natural protection has been washed away.

    Theory has it that you can spin a frozen(or hard boiled) egg on the counter and it will spin freely....a non-frozen uncooked will will wobble.
    I've tried this with a hard boiled and a raw egg and have not been able to discern the difference.
    Frozen uncracked eggs are fine to eat, the texture might be a bit different if cooking over easy.
    If they are cracked just thru the shell and the membrane is intact, I wash them immediately, refrigerate and use first.
    If they are cracked thru the membrane I thaw in a bowl and cook scrambled to feed back to the chooks.

    Layer feed should have all the calcium a layer needs, but providing oyster shell in a separate container won't hurt and will be available, if they need a tad more they'll take it.

    I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and all molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.
    1 person likes this.

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