how cold can an egg get and still hatch?


11 Years
Aug 19, 2009
lexington, KY
I have often wondered how cold an egg can get and still be viable. I know that a number of wild birds eggs get wet, and cold for extended periods prior to nesting. Such as Snow geese laying their eggs on the tundra. They don't start keeping them warm until they have a clutch.
Has anyone hatched an egg that has been in the frig?
That's an interesting question. I know that the birds who nest in cold climates do special things to protect their eggs. If you watch the movie March of the Penguins you see how the penguin female lays her egg and then immediately moves it to the warm pouch on top of the male's feet. If they don't do it right the egg immediately freezes, swells & cracks, and this couple is out of business for the year. Many other birds that do live in cold climates migrate to warmer places for nesting season. Perhaps Snow Geese make warm nests lined with goose down to protect their egglings.

But I know that chicken eggs can be refrigerated, I don't know for how long, and still be viable. I've given my broody hens eggs that had been stored in the refrigerator for a few days prior, and I know that other folks have gotten fertile eggs from stores like Trader Joe's and hatched them.
I have found goose eggs that had melted themselves down into 8 inches of snow and hatched them..

a frozen egg has little chance, however..

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