How long do eggs last outside?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Blessedchickens, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. Blessedchickens

    Blessedchickens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2011
    Weatherford, Texas
    All my beautiful Australorps have started laying, but I just found a pile of eggs in a corner of our barn. For the most part they have been laying in the coop in their nest boxes. I have no idea how long they have been there. I have been checking the barn and surrounding area because we also have a Blue Swedish Duck Hen who has been laying and she does not always lay them in her favorite spot on the coop floor. How long are eggs good for in this awful 105 degree Texas heat. Should I just toss them? I also wonder because most of our girls lay during the day while I am at work and I do not always have time to come home for lunch. I am very diligent about checking as many times as possible but I really may have missed these. There is a rooster candidate but I do not believe he is actively breeding yet. He is only about five moths old. I am very, vey surprised a critter didn't come get them but they were in the corner of a stall and we do turn out are Great Pyrenese dogs at night.

    If anyone knows or has advice about retraining them as well let me know.
  2. popcecleveland

    popcecleveland New Egg

    Jul 27, 2011
    I lived in Mexico where it was very hot as well. We didn't even have a refrigerator and I don't every remember an egg rotting. Perhaps you could at least check them to make sure they're good. I believe they will be fine.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hens can lay eggs for a couple of weeks then incubate them for three weeks without them going bad, as in rotten or bacteria-infected. If bacteria are present in the egg, then they will obviously go bad quicker in the heat than if they are in the fridge.

    There are a few things you can do. Gently sniff them. If they smell bad, get rid of them!

    You can do a float test. This is where you put them in water and see how they act. The older an egg gets, the more moisture they lose and the air sac gets larger. Eventually they lose so much moisture that the egg will float. An egg will either set on the bottom, float to the top, or stand on end. This does not tell you if the egg is good or bad, but is only an indication of which ones are more suspicious.

    If they pass the sniff test and you are not too suspicious of them, you can crack them in a bowl and look at them. Sniff them again. You can pretty easily decide if you want to use them or not.

    I'm about to say something that might disgust you. Just because an egg has started to develop does not mean it is not safe to eat. In some cultures, those are a delicacy. Personally I don't eat them, but they are safe as long as bacteria are not present. A fertile egg can develop some in the 80's, let alone the 90's or 100's. If you gather the eggs once a day, you'll never see a problem. But if they stay at those temperatures very long, you might see something when you crack it. If the nest is on the ground in the shade, it might be cooler than you think.

    I'd be surprised if a 5 month old rooster were not mating with some hens. That's 22 weeks old. I've had them start trying at 12 weeks and some be successful at 15 weeks with mature hens. Most are not successful at that age. The hens won't let him. But by 22 weeks, he has probably had some successes.

    Retraining to lay in the coop. When I find one laying anywhere other than the coop, I lock them all in the coop and run for about a week. It helps to find and remove the other eggs. Usually, but not always, this is long enough for them to get back in the habit of laying in the coop instead of trying to hide a nest. Sometimes, I have to put them back in for another week.
  4. Blessedchickens

    Blessedchickens Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 24, 2011
    Weatherford, Texas
    Thank you very much! This is all very helpful. You know if it were my Bantam Cochins - who are rascals and were crowing at two months old- I would say yes certainly they are trying, but not much roo behavior until just recently from this Australorp. He just started fluffing his feathers at me and standing his ground. Of course one or two roos out of fourteen - that were all supposed to be hens, is actually pretty good. I got them from Ideal and I think they did a pretty good job of living up to their guarantee. I actually am glad we have one, if he behaves himself and does not attack any people, I will keep him.

    Thank you again! I hate to waste eggs!!

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