I am new here and new to raising chickens. I was given 4 1 yr old hens and 1 rooster. The rooster is a partridge rock and the hens are sussex, buff orpington, americana and I can't remember the other off the top of my head. Anyway the poor girl's backs are featherless which I know is from the rooster. They are laying eggs everyday but they do not sit on them at all. They lay them and then leave the nest. I was under the impression that if there was a chance that they were fertile they wouldn't want to leave the nest. Am I wrong in assuming that? How do I know if they are or aren't? Do I leave them in there and hope that they are? If so how long before I would know? I thought I read somewhere where it takes up to a week before you can really tell. I would greatly appreciate any information you could give me. I would love some baby chicks but I don't want my girls to lose too many more feathers since the colder weather is right around the corner. Thanks.....Debby Oh one more question. How long are eggs allowed to be left out before they become bad and unable to be eaten?