How do I collect eggs to hatch?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Dec 30, 2009
North Central Texas
I've got 12 hens (and 1 rooster), just passed their 1st birthday and have just started laying again in the last few weeks.

To save eggs to stick under a broody hen - how do I do that? Do I refrigerate them or leave them out? I'm afraid to leave them in the coop because we've had problems with snakes.

One of the hens went broody last summer - is she likely to do it again?

I store mine in an egg carton and put them under my desk till I am ready to put them in the incubator or in your case under a broody hen provided the hen is broody?
If she isn't I hope you have an incubator to put them in. I don't believe we can make a hen go broody its something they decide to do on their own.

Good luck!
just collect and use eggs until she does go broody. when you notice her clucking,staying in nest-growling ,pecking your hand to reach under her then save in cool place,& turn several times a day. do not store in refrig. .when you have amt she can cover place them under her. your best getting rid of the snakes..not only do they eat eggs they will eat babies.
So I don't need to refrigerate the eggs that I collect every day, even if we're going to be eating them?

I lost keets last year to snakes, so I know the danger. We kill 'em when we see 'em, but we're out in the country and there's no getting rid of them completely.

I was thinking that I might construct a box for the broody hen and use hardware cloth instead of chicken wire, and put that inside the coop. Maybe that would keep her (and babies) safe inside.
HA! StormyMoon - I just noticed where you live! I live between Alvarado & Grandview! Small world!
So where I saw a post giving the best eg temp to hold until setting to incubate, something like 45-55 degrees; warmer than 'frig, but cooler than room temp. try "search" using the 45-55 degrees, or 40 degrees . .I would do but just wouldn't know how to list the post for you. Sorry:(
I think this site does a good job in talking about storing eggs for incubation, whether you use a broody or an incubator.

Texas A&M Incubation site

Mother Earth had a nice article and experiment on storing eggs for eating a while back. Under certain conditions they will last weeks if not months on your kitchen counter. But they normally last longer in your refrigerator.

When a chicken lays an egg, she puts a layer called bloom on it that helps prevent bacteria from entering the porous egg shell. If you have ever seen an egg that was just laid, it is wet but it dries off very quickly. That wet stuff is the bloom. If you wash the egg or rub it off, like using sandpaper to remove dirt, you take the bloom off. Then that egg needs to be refrigerated. Bacteria do not multiply very fast in a refrigerator so the egg will still last a long time.

Something else about washing an egg. The egg shell is porous. If the water has bacteria in it, then that water might be absorbed by the egg and any bacteria in the water can be carried inside the egg. I think this part is overblown a bit, but commercial operations wash eggs in water that is about 10 degrees warmer than the egg. The theory is that the air in the air sac will shrink if it cools off and create a suction on the egg, bringing water into the egg through that porous shell if the egg is wet. If you wash it in warm water, the air sac expands and keeps the water from coming inside. Then you dry the egg before you refrigerate it so there is no water to bring bacteria in.

If the bloom is intact and your kitchen temperature is not too hot, the eggs will last weeks on the counter. If the temperature is pretty warm, then the egg is at more risk because that is a better cindition for bacteria to multiply if it ever gets in.

Another consideration. If a fertile egg is kept at incubation temperatures, it will develop. If the kitchen is that hot, I don't want to be working in there anyway. But a fertile egg does not need to be that hot to get some development. I don't know what the critical development temperatures are. It won't hatch, but you could possibly get some development in the low 80', maybe even he upper 70's. If your kitchen temperature is warm, I suggest refrigerating your eating eggs.

So if the bloom is intact and your kitchen is not too warm, they are fine for weeks on the kitchen counter. That is what I normally do. But if the egg is wahed or your kitchen is hot, the refrigerator is best. In Texas in the summer with the AC off, I'd refrigerate.
Even our Spring in Texas can get quite warm, and times it has been known to have a few nights of freezing weather but not very much.

I have a thermometer and hygrometer in my bed room that tells me what the temperatures are so I can watch carefully. I keep hatching eggs under my desk because it is dark and cool under there and I have even done this close to summer and had a good hatch. During July I will not hatch cause that is when our temperatures really spike and I have trouble keeping my house cool for that month, then I start back up in the fall.

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