I'm going away for a week - what do I do with the eggs ?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 16, 2011

In the middle of July (middle of our winter - I'm in Australia), I'm going for an 8 day break to my mum's and my lovely husband will be home with the girls (a RIR - recently started laying, and a Australorp - no eggs as yet). My husband leaves early in the morning, and isn't home until dark. I've worked on food and water supplies, to ensure the girls won't go wanting while they are stuck in their coop/run all day (normally they free range all day - weather permitting). My problem is what to do with the eggs - best case scenario - it's only the RIR laying, so only 8 eggs max ..... worst case - 14? ....
My husband has said he is happy to check the nest box, but at night, he is just as likely to get a handful of poop, as both girls snuggle up in the same nest box. How often does my husband need to check the nest box while I'm away ? He can do it before he leaves in the morning, but it's always a rush, so the less obligations he has the better (we have two cats he has to feed as well).

Any suggestions ? Should I ask a neighbour to check too ?

thanks for any advice
He could do that, but he'll have to stick his hand under the sleeping chickens and is likely to get handfuls of poop - or is that not an issue ? I've never gone to check at night myself - I'm just preparing for all possibilities. The nest boxes we have - you lift the lid above the chickens - so ..... won't the chickens wake up and get upset ? if they jump out of the coop at night - they are in big trouble ...... unlikely to be found ...
If I am unable to check eggs daily for whatever reason, I just gather everything every two days, store them away from 'my' eggs, hard boil them and feed them back to the chickens or give them as treats to the dogs. If you are wanting to save them for human consumption, they need to be gathered daily.

Have a safe and fun visit!
How do I stop them from sleeping in the nest box ? I've only had them for about two months. The setup of their coop/run is such that the roost (ie two perches) is adjacent to two nest boxes. I've never put them on the nest, but I've seen them snuggled together in it twice. The nest isn't full of poo, but there is enough to provide an unpleasant experience on a dark cold evening

During the day, they roost on the low branches of a rhododendron in the garden. It would appear that one or both of them "roosts" at some point, as there is an appropriate pile of chicken poo on the tray beneath one of the perches. Is it too late to change their behaviour ?

It's also getting quite cool here at night - lowest is 4C/40F. When I am on holidays, it will most likely be even cooler - although unlikely to get below 0C/32F. I currently close the door to the roost at night, but while away, I will be leaving it open enough so they can get in and out (so they don't accidentally spend the day inside). Would they be warm enough sleeping together on the perch instead of the nest boxes. Probably a really silly question, but better to ask than make assumptions.

If my husband checks when he gets home in the evening, and has to pop his hand under two sleeping/just woken chickens - are they likely to freak out and leap out of the nest box ? I'm sure he could be quite subtle - and I can give him gloves, so the chicken poo isn't an issue. My worst nightmare would be that they leap out of the nest box and run into the garden. I'd never forgive myself if my husband had to spend an evening in the cold and dark, trying to lure two wayward chickens back into the coop.

I'm thinking my best bet is if he checks in the morning every couple of days, and we just give those eggs to our neighbour for her dog.

And finally - if my husband doesn't manage to collect the eggs for a couple of days - I'm assuming worst case scenario would be perhaps a broken egg and then possibly egg eating, which obviously would be a terrible outcome ..... Or is this unlikely to happen if they have good strong shells etc ? Any other likely problems ?

Perhaps I should just get my mother to come visit us instead
- although I think my husband would prefer chasing chickens at midnight

thanks again for all the advice
you could eat the eggs since the weather is cool there. A lot of people leave them out on the counter for up to a week. Don't worry. Have a nice vacation!
You can leave fresh, clean, unwashed eggs on the counter for a couple of MONTHS without issue.

I wouldn't worry about it. Just ask DH to collect in the morning before he goes to work. That way, anything that was laid the day before will still be there.

I have some chickens that sleep in the nest boxes. Drives me nuts. Heheh... but they're gonna do what they're gonna do!
That one nest box has to get cleaned out a lot more often and gets fresh bedding a couple of times a week instead of once a week.
Cant he use a flashlight?

IF your girls are still in the nursery, I would mix things up. can you move the next boxes and do they have plenty of options for roosts?

If they have roosts, put a board (any barrier) in front of the nest boxes for a few days.

If they are in a coop at 32F, i would have a red heat lamp in there.

Ditto, eggs are amazingly stable at room temp, dont sweat that.

Hens can a will lay on a PILE of eggs, and nothing breaks. I would not worry about it.

have a wonderful holiday!
Yes - he can definitely use a torch - I'm not sure of the age of the chickens - but I would figure 6-8 months - probably closer to 8 months ...

I'll look into the heat lamp.


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