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Eggs of Dubious Provenance

This morning I heard some odd noises from the chicken coop. One of the hens was working herself up to either a full-on “I laid an egg” cackle, or she was going to crow like a rooster. Hard to say. (They do both. It’s kind of a hormonal thing in post-menopausal chickens.)

Eventually the noise settled down, and I went outside to check on the nest box, just to see. I truly did not expect to find anything there. I mean, these are old hens. How long do chickens lay eggs, anyway? Not usually this long. But there’s always the off chance of getting an egg or two every once in a while.

Well, I found five. Oops!

chicken blog

This one is all on me. Obviously I have been snoozing on the job. I cleaned the coop a week ago, so I know that the eggs are no more than seven days old. Chickens usually lay an egg a day. These two, a little less often than that. It’s hard to say if all five were laid by one hen, or if they were both laying.

Anyway, they always tell you that eggs are sterile. That they don’t need refrigeration, as long as you don’t wash off the outer coating, and you keep them at a reasonable temperature. Our temps have been in the 50s.

Still though… I just can’t do it. I think I’m going to have to chuck these in the compost heap.

(It would be a more difficult decision if I hadn’t just bought an 18-pack of eggs at the store yesterday.)

What do you think, eat or not?

13 comments to Eggs of Dubious Provenance

  • woolface

    Personally i wouldnt eat them but our dogs would absolutely go mad for them. Perhaps Cinna is similarly inclined for the occasional egg?

    • Erika

      Hmm my first thought was “She eats such tiny amounts, it would be silly to cook up an entire egg and then she’d only eat a teaspoon of it.” Although she does like eggs.

      But now I’m thinking maybe I will fry them all up and serve them to the chickens. I have heard that if you cook the egg, the chickens don’t associate it with the raw eggs, so it doesn’t lead to egg-eating. And it does seem like SOMEONE should get some use out of them.

  • Ish'l

    For what it’s worth, I’d absolutely eat those eggs. Cooked, of course. A hundred years ago, in middle school, I had a friend whose medical doctor mother kept eggs on the kitchen counter (and I’m almost certain they hadn’t come from their back yard). They’re all still alive. Thriving, even.

  • Amy

    Eat them. They are just fine. My parents brought me up on eggs from the farm and we didn’t collect them but once a week. And they taste so much better than store bought.

  • Xeres

    DEFINITELY eat them.

    I have a friend who has a farm in country NSW, (Australia) where it gets HOT in summer. They only go there every second weekend. Meanwhile the hens are madly laying for a fortnight, here there and everywhere, leaving them in the sun, you name it. He hasn’t had one bad egg.

    I don’t ever refrigerate my eggs. The only bad egg I ever had was a commercially-produced one.

  • They’re fine. Even if the temps had been in the 70’s, they’d be fine. 50’s? Practically refrigerator temp anyway.
    The reason the eggs are sterile is because the hens lay a couple of weeks’ worth of eggs before starting to sit on them to incubate them. The first-laid eggs are just as fresh and ready to go as the last-laid eggs in the clutch.

  • Friends of mine from Europe are aghast that Americans refrigerate eggs. So they’re probably just fine.

  • Erika

    Fascinating, everyone, thanks!

  • Eat them. They are fine.

    I lived in Africa for three years and we bought our eggs “fresh” meaning who knows how many days out in 100F heat. We always did the float test if the person selling at our door wasn’t our regular. Oh, and we always broke one egg at a time into a separate bowl when cooking. It’s very obvious if an egg is bad once it’s opened.

  • auntiemichal

    Being a little squeamish, I’d scramble them whole, shells included (blender time!) and feed them to the chickens and whichever cat was around. When one of my chickens was producing fragile and sometimes holey eggs, I’d scramble those with shells (including shells from “good” eggs) to boost her calcium intake. Her eggs improved, though there’s no telling if the scrambled egg/shells were the cause.

  • PICAdrienne

    I would do the float test, if they were good, I would feed them to my kids. (I can’t eat eggs, and I am fussier about what I feed my kids.)

  • I definitely eat eggs that I find around the barnyard that are more or less one … or two … or so … weeks old, as long as they are mostly clean (no poo). I break them into a ramekin and smell them first though.

    I met a farmer in Carnation or so who once kept fertile eggs out at room temp for a month, then put them in the incubator and they hatched. So I figure if they can stay viable for that long, they can stay edible, right?

  • The color is so pretty! I love fresh eggs. I would think they would be fine, with the temperatures we have been having around here, Erica. :D