Mystery egg caches... How to know how old? How old is too old?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Just sayin, Sep 26, 2014.

  1. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK - one more mystery for today... these chickens are keeping me busy!

    I've been impressed with how many eggs we've been getting out of our 6 young hens, and low and behold, there were even more!

    I had just collected 3 eggs from the nest boxes... good girls... one hen is still sitting in the coop - good girl!

    Then I found this! A stash in our goat stall... in a corner.

    [​IMG]


    I don't know how long this nest has gone unnoticed. Our Rhode Island Red was hanging around in the barn, and one of the eggs was still very warm, one of the smaller darker ones that may be hers... so I put it in my fresh stash.

    The other three were cool. And to me, they look like they were layed by different chickens? Different colors?

    I can't imagine this nest has gone unnoticed too long, but I can't know for sure how long any of these eggs has been there. A few days at most? I think not longer than last weekend when we cleaned that stall... How do I know if they're still edible? These are probably fertile, so half my worry is finding some half-developed thing in my breakfast eggs - that's a nightmare of mine from long ago with farm eggs. Most of our eggs, we get in the fridge within an hour or two of being laid.

    For now I put ?question marks? on them and put them in the fridge.

    How long is too long for them to be sitting out and still eat them? What do you do with eggs you find stashed like this and don't know how long they've been there?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    a month or two

    I'll bet they're fine. In most parts of the world they don't refrigerate eggs at all. If you're real worried, open each one in it's own bowl before cooking. If they don't smell or have really runny yolks and thin albumen, eat them.
     
  3. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A month really? wow. I guess I'm pretty paranoid then. I know these aren't more than a week, and I was queezy about them if it had only been a day or two.

    Wouldn't they develop if they're fertilized? - even somewhat? Or not if there's no one sitting them? How much time has to be spent sitting there to start things in motion? Obviously someone has sat there for awhile at least 4 times :)
     
  4. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They will not start to develop until the hen sits on the egg. In a natural situation, the hen would lay for 1-2 weeks (one egg a day so a clutch of about 10 eggs) before she has gathered enough eggs for her to hatch. Just sitting long enough to lay another egg is not going to raise the internal temperature of the egg to start the process. Crack one open and check it out. You won't be able to tell the difference from the ones you immediately put in the fridge. It's perfectly safe to eat but feed it to the dog if it gives you the ick factor.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    There will be no cell development unless the eggs are kept at a relatively high temperature.
    If it stays between 80 and 100 degrees there, some development may happen. Where are you located? Do you have a rooster with the flock?
     
  6. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, we have a rooster... that's much of why I'm concerned. But it hasn't been 80 in a couple weeks, and it's been cool the last couple days... we're in western wa. It's Raining and mid 60s the last couple days. Any sitting would have been pretty brief... no chickens have been seen sitting there as we go by during the day... and they're locked in the coop at night.
     
  7. Just sayin

    Just sayin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks... I'll crack them into a bowl to be sure... though the dog wouldn't mind it either way. :)
     
  8. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with what everyone else has said.

    Just for the record, I never refrigerate my eggs even during the summer and happily eat them up to a month old and sometimes beyond. If it looks ok and smells ok when you crack it, then it is ok. And yes, I have a cockerel and my eggs are fertile.... I have lots of chicks to prove it!
    You can also scramble them and feed them back to the hens (good recycling) or your cats or dogs, as was suggested, if you are still concerned.
    I also keep all my egg shells, let them dry out, crush them and feed them back to the hens as a good source of minerals. It has the benefit of acting like grit to break down their grain in their gizzard, as well as providing calcium in the diet.

    Regards

    Barbara
     
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