My hens are laying now & I have a few questions...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by askjcm2005, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. askjcm2005

    askjcm2005 Chillin' With My Peeps

    158
    0
    99
    Jul 9, 2010
    San Diego
    Hello: I am newer to chickens, only had them since May but I love them! Our babies from May are now laying and I just had a few questions.

    -How long can an egg sit outside in the coop until it would be considered not okay to eat anymore? I ask before sometimes I forget to get the eggs and they are out there for a day or 2.

    -If the eggs that are being laid are fertile how can I know?

    -Say I didn’t know an egg was fertile and we ate it, is that bad?

    -A few of my hens act as though they want to try and hatch the eggs, they sit on them and push them under them to stay warm and get mad when any other chicken enters the coop but they will not sit on the eggs 24/7. I see them a lot out eating and just walking around…

    -My chickens until recently were able to escape the coop by flying to the top of the fence and jumping out, all my other chickens lay in the coop but I found a pile of about 15 eggs out of the coop out in my yard, I know whose they are because she was always eager to get out and to that area so now I know why. We enclosed the pen this weekend and they can’t get out anymore, but what should I do with the 15 eggs? Toss them? Let her hatch them? Or is it too late?

    -Will they stop laying ever? Its starting to get colder and raining more and so far they haven’t stopped.

    Thanks,
    Ashley
     
  2. shaggy

    shaggy Chillin' With My Peeps

    594
    2
    141
    May 11, 2009
    Orange, Texas
    -How long can an egg sit outside in the coop until it would be considered not okay to eat anymore? I ask before sometimes I forget to get the eggs and they are out there for a day or 2.

    depends on the outside temperature -- the hotter it is the faster they go bad --- you can however keep them at room temp for 3-4 weeks and they are still edible

    -If the eggs that are being laid are fertile how can I know?

    here are some pictures
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008


    -Say I didn’t know an egg was fertile and we ate it, is that bad?

    no, it is not bad -- does not taste different

    -A few of my hens act as though they want to try and hatch the eggs, they sit on them and push them under them to stay warm and get mad when any other chicken enters the coop but they will not sit on the eggs 24/7. I see them a lot out eating and just walking around…

    indecisive chickens?

    -My chickens until recently were able to escape the coop by flying to the top of the fence and jumping out, all my other chickens lay in the coop but I found a pile of about 15 eggs out of the coop out in my yard, I know whose they are because she was always eager to get out and to that area so now I know why. We enclosed the pen this weekend and they can’t get out anymore, but what should I do with the 15 eggs? Toss them? Let her hatch them? Or is it too late?

    if you are going to eat them --- crack them one at a time in to a bowl ... just in case you run across a bad one ... the hatching question would depend on whether or not they were fertile and how long the hen has been away from the eggs

    -Will they stop laying ever? Its starting to get colder and raining more and so far they haven’t stopped.

    some slow down over the winter - some completely stop -- depends on the chicken breed and where you live
     
  3. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

    405
    8
    134
    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    You can safely leave your eggs in the nest for at least a couple of days. When the hen lays the eggs, there is a membrane covering the egg that dries quickly which helps insulate the normally porous egg shell from bacteria. Depending on the temperature, I wouldn't eat a room temperature egg more than a week old.

    Since you have a rooster, you can assume your eggs are fertile. There's no problem eating them, they taste the same. If you look at the edge of the yolk when you put the egg in a pan, you can see a small bubbly looking mass on the yolk/albumin interface. Of course, the longer it's been since the egg was fertilized, the larger the mass will be.

    Most hens you get from hatcheries are bred not to be broody i.e. not sitting on their eggs after laying. If you have enough hens, chances are you'll have a broody one or two. These are the hens that lay 'secret' nests and stay on their eggs after laying. There's a lot of posts on this board as to how to break a bird from being broody if you don't want a broody hen. If you find a secret nest...I would advise throwing those eggs away as you don't know how long its been since they were laid.

    Hens naturally decrease they're laying as the days get shorter. The girls need 12-14 hours of light a day for optimum production so it's normal for their egg laying to decrease during the winter. It will pick back up in the spring. Chickens produce their most eggs in the first two years of life, afterwards, they decrease their production about 10% a year. A five year old hen will produce about half the number of eggs of a year old. They will continue to lay as long as they live although my seven year old Barred Rock lays only once a week.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    19,965
    3,128
    476
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    -How long can an egg sit outside in the coop until it would be considered not okay to eat anymore? I ask before sometimes I forget to get the eggs and they are out there for a day or 2.
    Depends on the temperature, whether it is dry or not, is it setting in poop or is it clean, ate hen's setting on it to keept warm? If it is fertile and the hen's set onot and keep it at incubation temperatures, it can start to develop. If it is kept at 75 degrees Fahrenheit or less and dry, it will last a long time. Odds are therer is nothing wrong with it, but I collect them every day. I feel that eggs left in the coop overnight are an invitation to egg eating predators, mainly rats but there are others.

    -If the eggs that are being laid are fertile how can I know?
    Try this link.

    Fertile Egg Photos
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=16008&p=6

    -Say I didn’t know an egg was fertile and we ate it, is that bad?
    Not in my opinion as long as it has not started to develop. Even then it would be safe to eat, just not very appetizing to me. There is no difference in a fertilized egg or unfertilized egg as far as taste, nutrient value, storage, or appearance.

    -My chickens until recently were able to escape the coop by flying to the top of the fence and jumping out, all my other chickens lay in the coop but I found a pile of about 15 eggs out of the coop out in my yard, I know whose they are because she was always eager to get out and to that area so now I know why. We enclosed the pen this weekend and they can’t get out anymore, but what should I do with the 15 eggs? Toss them? Let her hatch them? Or is it too late?

    You can do the float test. As eggs get older they lose moisture and the air sac gets bigger. After a while the air sac gets so big that the egg floats. If you put them in water, the ones that float are old and I would toss them. The ones that sink are probably OK, but I would crack them in a bowl by themselves to make sure and make sure I fully cooked them, just to be safe. Or you can let her try to hatch them if she is broody. Do not get them wet if you try this or you will wash off the 'bloom" and they may get bacteria in them and rot. "Bloom" is a substance the hen puts on the outside of an egg to help keep bacteria out. If you wash the egg, you wash the bloom off.

    -Will they stop laying ever? Its starting to get colder and raining more and so far they haven’t stopped.

    In San Diego, you do not have cold as far as chickens are concerned. The days will get shorter and that is a signal for a mature hen to molt and quit laying. I find that pullets that have started to lay usually do not molt and usually continue to lay all winter long. Notice I am saying usually. It does not always happen this way, but it usually does. Next year, you can expect them all to molt and stop laying. This year, I think you will probably get eggs all winter.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by