How To Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs

How To Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs

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 intend to keep the egg and eat it later? Where should you store it, and how long can you store it for?

store freshly laid eggs

Our Choice of Treat for Strong Healthy Eggshells

Before we start on what to do with your freshly laid eggs, I want to briefly touch on making sure your girls and their eggs are healthy as well as keeping your girls protected so they can continue laying eggs for a long time.

To protect your chickens you should fortify your coop all around the perimeter and making sure they can’t break in through the front with a quality automatic chicken coop door.

We recommend using a supplemental treat for nutrients that promotes shinier feathers, stronger eggshells, and an increase in egg production.

This treat is called black soldier fly larvae. We have previously written about it here. Check them out on Amazon now:

Our Choice of Treats for Our Chickens

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

Cleaning Freshly Laid Eggs

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

Welcome to one of the most hotly contested debates about keeping chickens! The debate centers around you should 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 give 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 lie in freshly laid straw.

You don’t need to replace the straw every day; 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. Abloom (cuticle) is the egg’s natural external protection layer that protects it from bacteria.

What Is The Egg Bloom?

If you intend to store your eggs at room temperature, you should not wash them to destroy the bloom.

The egg’s bloom is a thin layer of film on the outside of the egg. It seals off the tiny pores on an eggshell and prevents bacteria from entering.

This bloom protects developing chicks from bacteria as they incubate under momma hen or your favorite incubator.

When washing your eggs, you can often feel the bloom come off of an egg. It is usually slimy and will wash away with warm soap and water. Once it is gone, your egg is open to bacteria.

store freshly laid eggs

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.

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…

The Best Chicken Egg Skelter

Spiral Design Metal Egg Skelter Dispenser Rack

Toplife Spiral Egg Dispenser

  • 360-degree rotation keeps eggs fresh
  • Can hold up to 36 eggs at once
  • The rotating rack lets you access the egg of your choosing.

See Price on Amazon

Storing Fresh Eggs in the Fridge

If you want easy access to your eggs and extend their shelf life, the best of both worlds is keeping 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 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, you can use a pencil and write the date chickens laid the eggs on the shell- this helps you keep track; if you only have a handful of chickens, 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.

The Best Fridge Egg Holder

Lock & Lock Eggs Dispenser

Lock & Lock Eggs Dispenser Holder for 12 Eggs

  • These re-usable egg cartons create a guaranteed airtight seal keeping your eggs fresher for longer.
  • Silicone seal and padding prevent egg breakages.
  • Designed to fit all size eggs from small to jumbo

See Price on Amazon

How to Store Eggs Long Term

If your girls are laying at full speed and you can’t keep up eating the eggs (lucky you!), then you can freeze their eggs. 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, squeeze the empty plastic bottle whilst holding 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 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 it’s 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 room temperature appears to span across the Atlantic Ocean!

It’s common for people in the UK to store their eggs at room temperature, whereas most people keep their eggs in the US 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.

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 isn’t up to their standards!

If you do find a pile of eggs in a ‘secret’ nest, then there is a straightforward 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 it’s 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.

Our Choice of Treat for Strong Healthy Eggshells

HAPPY GRUBS - ULTIMATE MIXTURE OF WHOLE, HALF, AND POWDER OF BSFL FEED - CHICKEN FEED MIXTURE - 50X-80X More Calcium Than Meal Worms - NON-GMO, Molting Treatment, Great For Wild Birds, Reptiles, Ducks
  • Egg Armor For Your Girls Eggs - Mixture of whole, half, bits AND POWDER of black soldier fly larvae that you can mix in your chicken's feed. It increases the strength of your girls' eggshells.
  • Healthier Feathers - This product is better than bulk dried mealworms and helps keep your girls' feathers healthy and grow back quicker during molting season.
  • Laying More Eggs - Because of the nutrient dense profile of dried black soldier fly larva, your hen's egg production will increase!
  • Totally Safe for Reptiles and Other Birds - Happy Grubs is worm food that can also be enjoyed as bird food, reptile food, and turtles as a treat!
  • Easy-To-Use Scooper - Our bag comes with a scooper that makes our bsfl mixture and powder easy to pour into a bowl or add to your typical chicken feed. It also has a clip so you can clip it onto the resealable bag. You can use it for feeding your other pets too!

Common Questions About How to Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs

The following information should help clear up any lingering questions you have about storing your chickens’ freshly laid eggs. 

Do Freshly Laid Eggs Need to Be Refrigerated?

While you do not need to refrigerate freshly laid eggs, they will last longer. Just keep in mind that you should not wash them until you are ready to use them if you don’t refrigerate your eggs. 

How Long After a Chicken Lays an Egg Does It Need to Be Refrigerated?

You can leave a freshly laid chicken egg out at room temperature for a month before refrigerating it.

After that, you should probably put it in the fridge. 

Why Do Fresh Chicken Eggs Not Need to Be Refrigerated?

When eggs are freshly laid, they have blooms or cuticles, which are protective coatings.

These coatings keep the eggs fresh as long as you don’t wash them. 

How Long Are Farm Fresh Eggs Good for on the Counter?

They will be good for at least two weeks or up to a month. If you put them in the fridge, they can last up to three months. 

Why Shouldn’t You Wash Fresh Eggs?

When you wash fresh eggs, you remove the bloom, which is a protective covering. This effectively invites bacteria to enter the egg. It’s even worse if you wash them using cool water, which creates a vacuum that encourages the bacteria to get inside. 

Why Is It Easier to Peel Older Eggs?

When raw eggs age, their air sac expands. This creates a void that separates the membranes of the eggshell. It is not only why older eggs are easier to peel but also why they tend to float. That air sac also improves buoyancy.

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

Store-Chickens-Freshly-Laid-Eggs


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219 thoughts on “How To Store Your Chickens’ Freshly Laid Eggs

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

        1. 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…

      1. I have one chicken that seems to be sick …so I think, she’s been laying as if to lay an egg which she has done but recently she just lays there and doesn’t move much.sort of like she’s constipated. What is wrong with the chicken?

    1. Eggs can be left out at room temperature if their bloom is in tact. Know that when a chicken lays a clutch of eggs which she will hatch, the first egg laid may have to wait several weeks before the hen goes broody.

    1. 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

      1. I live in Pennsylvania any particular rules of thumb for collecting and storing freshly gathered eggs in the cold sometimes freezing late fall or winter months?

        1. PA here as well. When it gets really cold sometimes I find eggs that have frozen and cracked. I don’t collect my eggs until after work, which is usually around 4 pm. I would just make sure to check for cracks and store as you normally would. If you have a cracked one at room temperature, you will eventually smell it.

    2. At 99.5 degrees, Fertilized eggs will start to develop. Unless the humidity is around 59% and they are turned regularity not many will hatch into a healthy chick.

  2. 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.

    1. Hi Michael,
      They will go bad quicker but you still have weeks before they will go off 🙂
      Claire

        1. Wow:) glad Pinterest popped you up? I have 4 ladies that are half leghorn and 1/2 Rhode Island! Got them at 3 weeks…. I went to coop and had two little brown eggs and I was estatic ?…. I was giving them poutry food for all ( rooster ,hens and chics, were on the bag… ( Made here local in Hawaii) ..but then Dad said…”Hey they ready for Pellets”! I was like “What! …I thought They were for egglayers too!
          So last week they got pellets ( and they get to travel around my property for about 6-7 hours) so my question is :
          do they need pellets …or they will lay with regural food and that it is just better for the proteins and such for egg layers? Thank you so much for all your wonderful info…

          1. I love in FL and I don’t give any pellets. I mix a bag of scratch with a bag of layer crumbles and let them out everyday to eat bugs. I hope this helps!

  3. 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

    1. 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

    1. Hi Patrick,
      I’m so happy the website is helping you 🙂
      Let me know if you have any questions,
      Claire

        1. Marcos commented to read the article. As I have had my hens lay one or two where they ended up getting cracked before I could collect them, I was also interested in your question. Marcos was wrong. This article doesn’t address cracked eggs. I googled safety practices for cracked eggs. Basically, if an egg is cracked, they say we should break it into a dish that has a lid and store it in the fridge for no more than 2 days. I hope this helps.

          1. I am usually the clumsy one who cracks an egg. I used to feed raw, shell and all, to my dogs, but after reading about possible Salmonella carried in certain hens, I no longer give them raw eggs.
            Now I put raw cracked egg in fridge and fix it within two days. We usually have one hen in house gaining weight or growing feathers from being bred, so they get lots of scrambled eggs. They also become quite spoiled.
            For the rest, I have one bucket where inspected soiled eggs go, and the clean from hen eggs go in carton and refrigerated, where there’s so many they must be rotated.
            The dirty eggs I wear gloves and scrub in hottest water possible. I read that hot water pulls impurities out, and cold water allows eggs without bloom to absorb impurities. After scrubbing they go on towel to air dry, at which time they are sprayed with white vinegar for final disinfecting, then put in carton in fridge.
            Of course cartoned eggs always placed small end down, to allow air pocket to rise to top.

  4. 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 ?

    1. 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!!!

    2. Glad to see your success!!! But if you feel you have the need to date your eggs, you need to start sharing with your neighbors or best friend! ?

    3. date the egg carton with what ever you have to write with. then if you havn’t eaten them in around two weeks I would think of the fridge

    4. Best thing I have found to keep track of when the eggs were laid is to put a piece of paper inside the egg carton on top of the eggs with the date the eggs were laid. The paper doesn’t have to be large just something about 4 inches by 4 inches.

  5. 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 ????

    1. Hi Kaz,
      Congratulations and well done!
      I personally store my eggs pointy end down because in my experience they can stay fresh longer 🙂
      Claire

      1. That’s right Claire…always pointy side down because of the air pocket within the shell – preserves the yolk

  6. 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!

    1. Hi Lin,
      I’m delighted the website is helping you 🙂
      Hope you enjoy your hens and rooster!
      Claire

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

    1. Hi Aldridge,
      No rules as such, but many people prefer to store them pointy side down 🙂
      Claire

  8. 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. 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?

    1. Hi Amy,
      So happy the article was helpful for you 🙂
      Unfortunately the water test will destroy the egg’s bloom.
      Claire

  10. 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?

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

    2. You can buy a 1/2 carton with 6 ceramic brown eggs on Amazon. I used these eggs for encouragement. It worked like a charm. They look and feel so real that I accidentally gave eggs to a friend and one was ceramic. She thought it was a joke. After that I put an X on the ceramic eggs.

  11. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    1. Thank you Shari 🙂
      The egg’s bloom is a natural transparent coating that prevents bacteria from entering the egg.
      Claire

  16. 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.

    1. 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

      1. If you have proper roosting space and leave the hens in the new coop for 2 nights without letting them out during the day they will go back on their own each night. They know they need protection from predators and weather! Smarter chickens don’t even need 2 nights- just one will do.

    2. I use a light source that will attract them to their coop at night…I have two solar security lights , one for the inside one for the outside coop. Make a habit to throw a cup of scratch in front of coop right before dusk, they will always come to the coop before sunset.

  17. 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.

    1. 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

    1. 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

      1. As your hens get older (years), they will lay fewer but usually larger eggs. I have had hens live for up to ten years and still laid some eggs.

  18. 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! ??❤️

    1. 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. 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!

    1. 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

      1. NO! Don’t throw them away. If they float still, I always cook them up for my dog or even the chooks. They LOVE scrambled egg 🙂

        1. You can also boil them and freeze them to feed your hens.
          My hens all want the same 2 nesting boxes and laid up to 50 eggs, but sat very irregularly and the eggs got cold. After 14 days and no hatch, they abandoned them. I figured they were dead, and after another 14 days to be sure, I boiled them and froze them.
          What is distressing to me is that some of these eggs contain chicks in various stages of development.
          How do chicken people get a handle and better control to avoid this ?
          I never give chickens an intact egg because I don’t want them to decide whole eggs are food for them!

  20. 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??

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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

      1. The chicken farmers check the width of the opening from which the eggs come to check fertility , larger is better. Also comb color should be a rich rose to red color if the hen is laying. Production has stopped . or almost stopped when the hen is no longer laying. She goes into a molt where she is “resting” and develops new feathers.

        1. Another important piece of information for chicken raisers is that “scratch” feed is incomplete and should only be used as a treat, not the main source of food. I use commercial egg layer pellets because there is no waste as there is with a crumble feed.
          I have had chickens all my life and currently have about 40 hens. a few dozen ducks, some geese (one of which is currently protecting my about two dozen young pullets and 20 ducklings), a bunch of heritage turkeys and some emus that I have had for 19 years.

  22. 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. 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. 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?

    1. 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. 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?