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Number of eggs.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MyGirlChicks, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. MyGirlChicks

    MyGirlChicks Hatching

    Nov 24, 2012
    I am new at this and I found my Rhode Island Red sitting on 19 eggs! I did not know she was laying since she is free to roam during the day and has always gone back to her coop at night. I missed her last evening and found her this morning under my back porch sitting on a large quantity of eggs. I did have a rooster until about 2-3 weeks ago when a hawk got him. Is this normal? Has she been laying 1-2 eggs per day? Safe to eat. Can't find any answers in my books.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    You don’t say if she is broody or not. Rhode Island Red’s don’t normally go broody but some do. If she is going back to the coop at night, she is not broody. If she spent the night on the nest instead of in the coop, she could easily be broody. They really don’t need a rooster around to go broody.

    She has been laying one egg a day. Occasionally a hen might lay two in one day but that is really rare and means something is wrong with her internal egg laying system if she does it regularly. This happening on occasion is not a big deal. Often when they lay two in one day the shell gland does not have enough time to make enough shell material so the second one may be soft or really thin-shelled.

    It’s also possible another hen has been laying with her.

    If she has gone broody and has been setting on them a couple of days, I would not eat them. It’s not that they are unsafe to eat, just that they might have started developing and you might get a small surprise in there. It’s not that they are dangerous, just the YUK! Factor.

    When a hen does that, she will lay eggs for over two weeks, then incubate them for three more weeks before they hatch. They don’t get unsafe or filled with bacteria in those five weeks. If they did, the chicks would not hatch but would die in the shell.

    Something you can do is the float test. Put the eggs in a container of water. Eggs lose moisture as they get older. After a while they lose enough moisture that the air cell gets big enough that the egg will stand on end in water. Eventually it will lose enough that it will float. This does not necessarily mean it is bad, just that it is old and therefore more suspicious.

    If bacteria gets in an egg, it will release gas. The pressure can build up in it so it can explode or liquid may seep out. That egg will also float. So a floating egg is more suspicious than a non-floating egg, but not necessarily bad.

    If your rooster has been gone for only two weeks, those eggs are probably still fertile. The hen normally stores the sperm for two weeks after a mating. If those eggs are not fertile, they won’t develop even if a hen is incubating them. But I’d assume those are fertile.

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