How To Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs

How To Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs Cover Image

There are not too many greater pleasures in life than strolling down to the bottom of your garden, reaching into your nest box, and pulling out a freshly laid egg. If you time it just right the egg will still be warm!

You joyfully walk back inside and take the egg into your kitchen to prepare it for breakfast. But what do you do if you are intending to keep the egg and eat it later? Where should you store it and how long can you store it for?

Cleaning Freshly Laid Eggs

Before you eat or store you eggs the first thing you need to do once you’ve got them inside is to clean them.

Welcome to one of the most hotly contested debates with keeping chickens! The debate centres around should you clean the egg or not…

If you aren’t too worried about a little bit of dirt and are using the eggs yourself then (as long as the eggs aren’t filthy) you don’t need to worry about cleaning them up. However, if you are giving the eggs to a friend or family member (trust us, as soon as they try your fresh eggs they won’t stop asking for them!) then it doesn’t look that great giving them dirty eggs.

The best thing you can do to keep your eggs clean is to make sure your hens are laying in freshly laid straw. You don’t need to replace the straw every day, just make sure you pick out any large pieces of muck each day once you’ve collected your eggs.

Unfortunately, no matter how clean you keep their nesting box you will always get the occasionally mucky egg.

To clean the muck off try to wipe it off with a dry cleaning pad. If the egg is particularly mucky and this isn’t possible, run the eggs under warm water and use the cleaning pad to scrub the muck off.

Note: Try to use a dry cleaning pad wherever possible because when you run water over an egg you are removing its bloom. A bloom (cuticle) is the eggs natural external protection layer that protects it from bacteria.

How to Store Chicken Eggs

Once your eggs are clean they can be stored. You have two choices here- either leave the eggs out at room temperature or keep the eggs in your fridge.

How to Store Chicken Eggs
© Boqiang

There is one exception to this rule- if you need to clean your eggs with water then it’s safer to store them in the fridge straight away- this is because you’ve removed the egg’s bloom (more on this later).

Storing Fresh Eggs At Room Temperature

Freshly laid eggs can be left out at room temperature for at least a month before your need to start thinking about moving them into the fridge. We like to make sure we eat ours in under two weeks (because they tend to taste better) but so long as the egg is eaten within one month of it being laid you will be fine.

As a side note- eggs purchased in a supermarket are normally at least a month old before they even get to the shelves!

You can store the eggs in any dish- we keep ours in a basket filled with straw. However if you want to keep them ‘fresher’ make sure you pop them into an egg carton once you get them inside.

Storing eggs at room temperature is fine; however they will last much longer in the fridge…

Storing Fresh Eggs in the Fridge

If you want easy access to your eggs and to extend their shelf life the best of both worlds is to keep your eggs in the fridge.

When you put your eggs in the fridge you can either place them inside an egg carton or a sealed container. Eggs kept inside a sealed container (such as a lunchbox) will easily keep for up to six months and still taste fresh. The only thing you may notice is that the egg white is slightly runny.

If you are concerned about this sort of thing, then you can use a pencil and write the date the eggs was laid on the shell- this helps you keep track, if you only have a handful of chickens though this won’t be necessary.

Want to freeze your eggs to make them last longer? Read the ‘How to Store Eggs Long Term’ section below.



How to Store Eggs Long Term

If your girls are laying at full speed and you just can’t keep up eating the eggs (lucky you!) then you can freeze their eggs. Though, this isn’t as simple as picking the eggs up and placing them in the freezer unfortunately.

To freeze your eggs you need to separate the yolk from the egg white. The easiest way to do this is with a plastic bottle.

Crack the eggs into a bowl, then squeeze the empty plastic bottle whilst you hold it over the yolk. If you do this right the yolk should shoot up into the bottle (You will need to practice a few times, but once you get the knack of it you’re set).

In our experience though we wouldn’t recommend freezing eggs… they just don’t taste the same once they’ve defrosted.

Covering Your Eggs in a Magic Coating

If you’ve spent any amount of time searching for advice about how to store your fresh eggs no doubt you’ve come across coating your eggs in a homemade solution.

We’ve seen and tried lots of these coatings such as mineral oil, lime juice, Vaseline and sawdust.

In our experience none of these ‘magic’ remedy coatings improves the shelf life of the eggs and it’s more effort than its worth. In-fact when we used sawdust it actually reduced the shelf life of the egg!

How Long Do Chicken Eggs Last?

If you haven’t cleaned your eggs and their bloom is intact, they can be left out at room temperature for at least a month and they will still be fine to eat.

If you chose to place your eggs in the fridge (either because you cleaned them and removed their bloom, or just because you want to keep them cool) then they can last up to six months in the fridge- we wouldn’t leave them any longer.

Though we bet you won’t keep freshly laid eggs for six months- firstly, they are just too tasty! Secondly, if your friends and family find out you are storing eggs they will be sure to take them off your hands.

Proudly Displaying Your Eggs

The great divide between storing fresh eggs in the fridge or at room temperature appears to span across the Atlantic Ocean!

It’s very common for people in the UK to store their eggs at room temperature whereas in the US the majority of people keep their eggs in the fridge. The downside of storing your eggs in the fridge is that you can’t show them off.

As previously mentioned, we keep ours in a plain basket filled with straw; however some people really like to go the extra mile with their egg arrangements.

Proudly Displaying Your Eggs
© saeru

If you’re one of these people consider getting an egg Skelter (stand) to store your eggs on.

Not only do eggs look great on a Skelter, but it helps you keep track of which eggs are the freshest. Eggs are stored in a first in first out system, so it makes sure you are eating the oldest eggs first.

How to Check If an Egg Is Bad

Occasionally, you’ll want to check if your eggs have gone bad or not. For instance you may find your chickens find ‘alternative’ places to lay their eggs- I guess your nesting box just isn’t up to their standards!

If you do find a pile of eggs in a ‘secret’ nest then there is a very simple trick to find out if they have gone bad or not.

Get the eggs and place them into a bowl of water. If the eggs float then its bad luck because they are bad. Any eggs which drop to the bottom of the bowl are good and safe to eat.

If you don’t have access to a bowl of water or are looking for a quicker alternative, then you can listen to the egg. Pick the egg up and place it next to your ear then give it a gentle shake. If you can hear the egg slopping around inside the shell then it’s bad and you need to discard it.

Have any other great ways to store eggs? Let us know in the comments below.


Blog cover image modified from zhou



Comments

  1. Kerri says

    If a egg has been fertilized do I need to refrigerate immediately or can they still be left out at room temperature?

        • The Happy Chicken Coop says

          Hi Pamela,

          This is fine- the only downside if you are removing the bloom when cleaning them.

          Not a problem if you intend to eat them soon after cleaning…

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Rhonda,

      It won’t make a massive difference, but you don’t want to leave the eggs in the nesting box with that heat all day!

      If you want to preserve them for as long as possible then make sure to refrigerate them…

      Claire

  2. Michael Raines says

    If eggs are left out AFTER originally being refrigerated will they go bad more quickly? And they were left in a hot car overnight and for half of the next day.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Michael,

      They will go bad quicker but you still have weeks before they will go off 🙂

      Claire

  3. Rachel Owen says

    Can we eat our girls eggs the day they are laid?
    New uk hen mummy here and out of our 3 girls 1 has started laying yesterday…the excitement ??? many thanks for an awesome and informative site xx

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Rachel,

      Congratulations on the start of your journey 🙂

      You certainly can eat the egg the day they are laid- they taste even better then!

      Claire

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Patrick,

      I’m so happy the website is helping you 🙂

      Let me know if you have any questions,

      Claire

  4. Donna says

    Just got first eggs today????? the info here has been very helpful. I would like to put dates on the eggs what is the best thing to use to mark them. I don’t want lead or ink poisoning ?

    • Dyess says

      Pencils have not used lead since, never. It is a mixture of clay and graphite. So break out that good ole #2 or carpenters pencil and get to labeling those baskets full of hen fruit!!!

  5. Kaz says

    Hi I am a 1st timer with Chickens. Going well and have had 3 eggs today so its getting really exciting now. Great website just some advide on the storage. Should they be in any particular angle when stoŕed? I read they should be pointy end down? Many thanks ????

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Kaz,

      Congratulations and well done!

      I personally store my eggs pointy end down because in my experience they can stay fresh longer 🙂

      Claire

  6. Lin Ries says

    Great info! I am the proud mama of 60 Rhode Island Reds. Love my girls!! We were blessed when we got our chicks to receive 1 Rooster. Whoops! He’s beautiful. No problem getting rid of eggs:) Thank you for your site!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Lin,

      I’m delighted the website is helping you 🙂

      Hope you enjoy your hens and rooster!

      Claire

  7. Aldridge says

    Hi,

    Are there any rules on puting eggs on its carton? Its sharp edge upper or otherwise or it might get rotten easily.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Aldridge,

      No rules as such, but many people prefer to store them pointy side down 🙂

      Claire

  8. Carolyn says

    Thanks for all the info. We have 2 chickens that are laying. I had lots of questions about the eggs and you answered them all.
    Very helpful. Thanks a bunch!

  9. Amy says

    My hens have been laying sporadically for 2 weeks now. Not sure which ones exactly out of 14, but I just discovered a hidden nest with 8 eggs!! I’ve put them in water, and they all sank. I was very skeptical about them really being fresh as I’ve got no idea how long they’ve been out in Georgia summer heat. This article was the perfect thing for me to come across…thank you!

    Also, will the water test I did affect their bloom?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Amy,

      So happy the article was helpful for you 🙂

      Unfortunately the water test will destroy the egg’s bloom.

      Claire

  10. Neil Whiting says

    Hi Claire, we have one hen and two roosters. The hen is a Black Orpington, one rooster is a Bantam and the other, is a black & white speckled breed(?).

    We get one egg every second day but recently i have been leaving the eggs in the nesting box to encourage the hen to go clucky but so far she is showing no sign. Should i continue to leave the eggs in the nest or is it a waste of time? If we take the eggs away, how do we build up the eggs so we have a few chicks?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Neil,

      It’s near impossible to ‘trick’ a hen into going broody. Unfortunately you just have to let nature take its course…

      Claire

  11. Yvonne says

    We are new chicken owners and have learned most of what we know on the internet. Our girls have just started to lay and we weren’t sure about storing the eggs. Website is very informative thanks.

  12. rod says

    Hi there if you love fresh eggs but find when you hard boil them they stick to the shell put a hole in the bottom of the egg with a pin and place them in the boiling water for your desired time soft 5 min or hard 9 min. Great tip enjoy !!!

  13. Barbara Roberts says

    Large commercial egg sellers run their eggs through a water bath and dryer. Is this why a customer must refrigerate grocery store eggs immediately after arriving home? Thank you.

  14. Shelly Hill says

    Hi Claire, Sometimes my girls lay odd eggs “tiny, large, even long and skinny” are these safe to eat or?

    Also I love all the information you give. We’ll done! ?

  15. Valerie Atwood says

    I get one egg a day with bloody spots all over it and one egg with white spots. Should I wash the “bloody or white bloom” off? I refrigerate all my eggs.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Thank you Shari 🙂

      The egg’s bloom is a natural transparent coating that prevents bacteria from entering the egg.

      Claire

  16. Royston says

    I’ve been keeping and breeding chickens for four years successfully, but with no expert knowledge. 16 hens and 3 cocks have run free in a small orchard, but the trees have started dying.1 young plum, 1 full grown nectarine both dead, and 1each green and black fig, apricot and pear very droopy. So I am building a new de luxe chicken hotel for them elsewhere, and your site has proven brilliant for giving all the info I need about dimensions, space etc. They have had several individual nest boxes scattered about but seem to like just 2 of them so I think 5 in a row to begin with in their new 80 square foot roosting space.
    Last point – they are really independent and I have no idea how to get them back in the coop every night. Advice please.
    Are you an American site? I am in Andalusia, Spain.Thanks for all you info so far.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Royston,

      Thank you for your kind words, and I’m so happy the website is helping you so much 🙂

      To get them into the coop at night I find a nightlight and some ‘bribes’ (treats) are in order. You will only have to use them for the first few times 🙂

      Claire

  17. Donna says

    I already committed above. MY hen is supposed to be an amuracana, but she has feathers on feet or legs. Pictures I’ve seen of them don’t have feathers on feet, so I wonder if she is something else. No eggs yet. Thank you so much for your answer.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Donna,

      It’s rare but not unheard of for Amuracana’s to have feathered feet!

      If you send me an email I will take a closer look 🙂

      Claire

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Ronnie,

      It depends on a lot of things: the breed, diet, daylight hours…

      However, you should expect most hens to have at least 3 years of good laying 🙂

      Claire

  18. Michelle says

    Hi Claire,

    I love your site! You have answered a lot of my questions, we are new to raising chickens. We have 5 hens, they are about 7 months old (we got them in April). Three of our hens are laying & have been for over a month now but the other 2 hens are not laying, are we doing anything wrong? Are they ok? They were all on Medicated Grower Feed & scraps & treats from home but when they started laying we were informed to switch them to Layer Feed which we did, Is it ok for the 2 Hens that are not laying to eat the layer feed? Also, one of the 2 hens that are not laying did lay a few eggs about 2 months ago but then she got ill, we believe she had a full / sour crop, she stopped eating, lost a lot of weight, but luckily by reading your site I was able to get her back to health & she is doing great but has not laid any eggs since before she got sick. Is she now unfertile & unable to produce eggs? Because she sits in the nesting box for a long time but sadly does not produce an egg. Please help. They are all great girls & have great personalities! ??❤️

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Michelle,

      Awww thanks 🙂

      What breed are the other two hens?

      Yes, it’s OK that they eat layers feed.

      It’s great to hear you managed to nurse your hen back to full health 🙂

      Looking forward to hearing back from you,

      Claire

  19. Keith T. says

    We have done the float test, and didn’t realize that, that destroys the bloom coating. We left eggs out at room temp. They are all less than 2 weeks old. Are they safe to eat? Wished we would have found this site sooner. Thanks!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Keith,

      If they’ve been left out for two weeks at room temp without their bloom I would chuck the eggs away unfortunately 🙁

      After the float test, in future remember to place them in the fridge 🙂

      Claire

  20. Amy Mathews says

    First time chicken mom. So we got our first eggs this wk. I washed them and have had them at room temperature for 3 days. Now I’m worried, should I refrigerator them now or do I have to get rid of them??

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Amy,

      Personally, if I wash the egg, I make sure to either eat it within 24 hours at room temperature or to store it in the refrigerator.

      Claire

  21. wendy says

    I received a mixture of rescue chickens this year and are now up to 55 hens. Some are laying, some not. I get around 24-28 eggs a day. This may sound silly, but I was wondering if you can tell if a chicken is still laying or not. I need to retire some of them for the winter, and space.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Wendy,

      The most accurate way to tell, is to isolate them but I’m not sure if this is realistic with 55 hens!

      Or, you can look at their feathers, comb and wattles.

      You are looking for nice bright red comb and wattles. The tail feathers should be dirty and ragged around the vent.

      Claire

  22. Rob says

    We keep a flock of about 100 free range hens and frequently find hidden clutches of eggs around the property. We won’t sell these eggs but we will use them ourselves. When we are unsure whether an egg has gone bad, the test we use is simply to crack the egg into a bowl and smell it. If you can smell anything, then the egg is suspect. A good egg will have almost no smell (you can calibrate your nose using a known fresh egg first). You can try this in combination with the float test, but in our experience the smell test will detect a bad egg earlier than the float test. But the float test has the benefit of being non-destructive. Cheers.

  23. Jennifer A. Simpson says

    Hello. I had some mucky eggs because we’ve had so much rain this week. I washed them and left them yo dry on the counter- all 32! I totally forgot to put them up and it’s been 24 hours. Can I refrigerate them now and still use them?

  24. Lindsie says

    If eggs are unwashed but placed in the fridge is it ok to take them out a few days later and leave them on the counter?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi A,

      If you keep the fat side of the egg facing up, then it will stay fresh for longer because the air pocket in the egg is kept away from the yolk 🙂

      Claire

  25. Heidi says

    I have been storing my chicken eggs in the fridge(unwashed) but after only a few weeks, they are black on both ends when I crack them open. Any idea what could be causing this?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Heidi,

      In my experience discolored eggs are normally caused by either an infection or diet. If my memory serves me well, feeding chickens cotton seed meal can cause the egg to turn black/brown in color.

      Claire

  26. Anne says

    Can you leave the bloom on the eggs, and leave them on the counter for up to a month, and then wash them off prior to eating? I’d love to take advantage of the bloom, but am a little hesitant to not wash before eating.

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Anne,

      Yes absolutely. However, if the egg is heavily soiled I would throw it out.

      Claire

  27. Pam says

    I’ve found this site to be so informative. We have four hens with three laying every day (one of them lays two eggs a day). I should have done my research sooner…but…I’ve been washing the eggs in cool water, drying them immediately, and putting them in the fridge. Should I throw them out since I didn’t use warm water? I hope you say no!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Pam,

      You don’t have to throw them out no.

      Just remember to use warm-ish water for future reference 🙂

      Claire

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Nancy,

      I tend to dust each spring and fall, unless there is outbreak of lice then I will dust more 🙂

      Claire

  28. Troy says

    Just recently started buying freshly laid eggs from a friend and love them. I am still learning though. I understand about the bloom and once its washed off, but if I hard boil the eggs do they then need to be refrigerated? Or is it ok to leave them at room temperature

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Troy,

      When I hard boil my eggs, I always leave them in the fridge unless I’m eating them that day 🙂

      Claire

  29. Jane says

    If I don’t wash and place in fridge do I need to wash off bloom before selling the eggs. Is the bloom bad if it is not washed and then eatin

  30. Lori says

    Excellent info! I’m just getting started for the first time so I will definitely be learning more from your site. Thank you!! 🙂

  31. ann hole says

    We also are first timers. Such a helpful site, great information. We have just had 45 hens, here in Bulgaria, already laying eggs, now we know what to do with them, we will follow your site ongoing. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

  32. Brandy L says

    I love your site! We live in the Pacific Northwest and we are working on letting our chickens free range. It rains a ton here. If my chickens decide to not use the nest box and their eggs are rained on, would the bloom be lost?

  33. Rosie says

    Hi! I just got chickens today and I can’t wait for the first eggs in the morning! How long will eggs last out of the fridge after being laid? ( Need to know BBE dates for my eggs )
    Thanks!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Rosie,

      I’ve had eggs that have lasted months out of the fridge. However a general rule of 3 weeks is commonly used 🙂

      Claire

  34. Yolanda says

    For the bottom of my coop, I thinking if switching from hay to sand (the clean type from Lowe’s) would that be okay?

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Hi Yolanda,

      No doubt you’ve come across the controversy with using sand in the coop. At the moment I’d play it safe and stay away from this until the studies have provided conclusions answers!

      Claire

  35. Vicki says

    Good morning. I am a first time chicken mom. I received my baby chicks April 4th. I live in Minnesota and so just recently moved the chicks out of their nursery to an outdoor chicken coop and play yard. We live on a lake in the country so have too many predators to feel I can let them roam. However, the coop and play yard that I can move around seems to be working well for now. I can’t believe what a crazy chicken lady I have become. I bought 5 varieties so that I could enjoy the different colors and personalities. I never knew chickens could be so soft. I like to sit in the play yard with them and let them roost on my lap and pet them. Is this daily handling of them a good or bad idea?

    • Bradzor says

      The more you handle them the more people friendly they will be. They have a tendency to not be friendly towards people, so if you want them to be “pets” you’ll need to treat them so. Otherwise they’ll only want to come to you when there is food involved.

  36. Nancy says

    i really like your site.
    My question is: i put my fresh unwashed eggs in a carton and put them outside on a table to sell. How long can they sit outside before going bad? Also, when should I not leave them outside?
    Thanks!

    • The Happy Chicken Coop says

      Thank you Nancy 🙂

      It really depends on the temperature outside… In mild conditions eggs can be left out for weeks without a problem.

      Claire

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *