Refridgerate or kitchen counter storage

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Eagleeyeice, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. Eagleeyeice

    Eagleeyeice Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've been getting eggs now since Thanksgiving, and with 7 hens I am now getting 4-7 eggs a day. I have Storeys guide to raising chickens and in the chapter where he talks about eating eggs he says:

    "An egg left at room temperature ages the same amount in a day as a refrigerated egg ages in an entire week, refrigerate them as soon as possible if you plan to eat them or sell them for eating."

    I'm posting this for comments from you all.

    Personally, I've been keeping them on the counter, but after I read this, I keep them in the garage which is in the 40f range.
     
  2. WNCcluck

    WNCcluck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We keep our eggs on an egg skelter on the kitchen counter and use them in order of lay. We don't refrigerate ours at all.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I've read that too...not sure if week compared to a day is accurate,
    but if you plan on long term storage refrigeration is probably best.

    My eggs rarely sit more than 2-3 weeks on the counter before they're used or sold.....so not an issue here.
     
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I sell eggs and they loose too much weight if not refrigerated. If they're borderliners, in several days a batch of Larges will turn into a batch of Mediums.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Really?! Hmmm....I'll have to experiment with that theory.

    How many grams does an egg lose in..... say 3 days?
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  6. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For example: If I have a low end Large that weighs 57.4 g or thereabouts and leave it on the counter for 3-4 days it becomes a 56.7 Medium or something thereabouts. I've noticed when accumulating eggs 10-15 days for hatching they may lose as much as 2 g.
    I've never researched it enough to determine if warm eggs on the counter dry out quicker than cold eggs in the fridge, or because the house HVAC removes moisture from the circulating air. Only noticed they don't dry out as quick in the fridge.
     
  7. Eagleeyeice

    Eagleeyeice Chillin' With My Peeps

    My house is not HVAC, and my refrigerator is a frost free, which does remove moisture from the air, so I'm thinking it's a wash, OR, on the counter would remove less moisture/weight. So, not really knowing, what is actually the best, I'll probably do a combination of both, counter and fridge.
    It is an interesting topic of conversation though. I suppose I should check both, just to see. Of course I'll have to remember to actually do that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  8. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, 45 days refridgerated is the law. I reckon your 40* garage is same as a fridge.
    USDA requires the expiration date to be 30 days after being packed into the carton and kept @ less then 45*. The "best if used by" is 45 days after being packed in the carton. That doesn't mean they go bad after 45 days, just that the quality starts decreasing after 45 days. What happens is they get runny and spread out in your skillet and the yolk gets flat & moves off-center.
    I guess our government paid a group of rocket scientists & engineers big money to determine that 45 day thing and make a law about it.
     
  9. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I'm selling eggs to consumers I feel an obligation to use eggs that were refrigerated within 24 hours of being laid. However, I am much less stringent with eggs for personal use.

    The reality is that eggs are incredibly well packaged if the the hen is healthy and the shell is undisturbed. As an egg is laid it is covered by a protective sealant, which is called the bloom. The bloom seals the pores of the shell to prevent bacteria from getting inside. If you wash the egg, you wash off the bloom, and the egg becomes more vulnerable to spoilage. If you don't wash the egg, it is protected for a very long time, regardless of temperature. I collect many eggs for hatching. I store them up to two weeks at 50-60 degrees (for those of you considering this, fertility starts to decrease on day 7, so 2 weeks is a maximum, not a recommendation). That temperature is high enough to prevent the embryo from dying, but not high enough to allow it to start developing. Then they are put in the incubator at 99 degrees. If they don't develop I always open them to see what happened. I have never had one that was rotten or smelled bad, even if I left it in the incubator until day 18, at 99 degrees, after storing at 50-60 degrees for up to 2 weeks. So the bloom is very effective, as long as you don't wash it off.

    I currently have some Dorking, Langshan, and Speckled Sussex eggs in my refrigerator that were laid in April 2014 --10 months ago. (I date stamp my eggs when they are collected, so yes, I'm sure of the date.) They are fine to eat, although I do break them one at a time into a separate bowl before putting them into the frying pan or mixing bowl, just in case. My hens are free range and healthy. I know their favorite nesting spots, and keep clean bedding in the nests. I collect them daily, and do not wash them. If they are intended for consumption (instead of hatching), I store them in solid cardboard egg cartons (not the vented ones that are so popular now) in the refrigerator. Typically, they show no signs of albumin dehydration with this method of storage for 4-6 months. At 10 months old with this method of storage, the albumin has some mild to moderate dehydration, the egg has typically lost 9-10% of it's weight, the yolk membrane occasionally sticks to the inner shell membrane since the egg has not been turned daily, and there is more thin albumin and less thick albumin than with a fresher egg. But they're not spoiled and they taste fine. I really think the solid cardboard is the secret to such long storage times, as the refrigerator cannot dehydrate them as easily.

    This timeline will not be true for all eggs. Different breeds and different individuals will have different shell porosities, and different bloom qualities. I have one Buckeye hen that lays an egg that looks absolutely perfect, but only lasts 4-5 months. Before month 6 her eggs will start to rot, no matter how they are handled and stored, so I suspect she probably produces an inferior bloom. I have a Dorking hen who lays a terrible looking egg, but it will consistently store for 8-10 months despite having an almost incompetent shell. Her bloom must be amazing!!

    I never considered counter storage (as opposed to refrigerator storage) until a friend of mine asked me how she should store some eggs I had given her. I didn't understand the question -- doesn't everyone store their eggs in the refrigerator?? She explained that her Southern grandmother only stored "those icky store-bought eggs" in the refrigerator, but she always stored her free range farm eggs in the pantry. She said that they only had 3 hens, so they rarely had farm eggs that weren't used within the week, but that sometimes friends would give them eggs and they had been stored in the pantry for as long as a month without concern. I was surprised, but then thought about my hatching eggs. Those blooms have to protect an embryo for up to 2 weeks before development, then 3 weeks of development, without allowing any infection to penetrate into the shell. Of course the bloom can keep the eggs from spoiling at room temperature for a month -- if they couldn't, there'd be no chicks hatched. We just have to leave the bloom alone and not wash it off. It's amazing the things that Southern grandmothers know.

    Another thing to consider -- there is probably a huge difference between the eggs of free range, healthy hens and the eggs of factory farmed, battery cage hens, which are miles away from healthy. Salmonella is a common problem in battery cage hens. Salmonella is usually an intestinal infection, but a stressed hen can have the infection spread to her ovary. The ovarian infection gets into the developing egg yolk, and is therefore inside the egg before the shell is formed around it. The bloom can't protect against contamination that is already inside the egg before the shell is formed. Therefore, counter storage of those eggs is probably not safe, as the higher temperatures outside the refrigerator allows the Salmonella infection to grow, which could possibly make someone sick if the egg wasn't cooked thoroughly. Salmonella infection of the ovary, and thus the egg yolk, is extremely rare in free range hens, so counter storage of those eggs is much safer.

    The Salmonella issue could also explain the 45 day limit, as even refrigerated bacteria will eventually grow, just very slowly.
     
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  10. Sydney Acres

    Sydney Acres Chillin' With My Peeps

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