When Do Eggs Go Bad? - answering a call for help

A reader asked "when do eggs go bad" so I helped provide some guidance for using eggs of an unknown age.

Apparently my reader found a clutch of eight eggs from a hen that had just started laying. The point in question was "how do I tell if they are still good?"

The following response was provided to my reader in hopes of helping address the situation with a range of options based on my experience raising chickens.

I offer you insight with respect to my response to "when do eggs go bad?" for two reasons. First, you might have such a problem, and the advice could come in handy. Second, I want you to see what is typical of my responses. On my four websites and two blogs, I respond to every comment and question personally and as best I know how.

Here is my response to "when do eggs go bad?":

If you're uncertain as to the age of the eggs, I would discard them. There are plenty more to come. It's better to be safe than sorry.

If they are coming from just one chicken, then 8 eggs will include eggs that are two weeks old. That's too long to have been left outside in the heat.

Chickens lay 5 eggs in 7 days when they're at their peak. That would suggest the 8 eggs were laid in about 10 to 12 days, but if your chicken has just begun to lay, then it has been at least 2 weeks for her to lay all those 8 eggs because her production isn't at its peak.

Eggs that have been in the warmth more than 4 days shouldn't be trusted for refrigerated storage, but can be used if you check them carefully and use them immediately. This is only advisable if you are certain you can determine a fresh egg from a spoiled one.

If you want to try to use them, you have an option. One at a time, crack the egg into a bowl and look at it and smell it. If it doesn't seem right, then you can toss it on the compost pile, rinse the bowl and try the next one. If it looks and smells okay, then you can transfer to another bowl or pan for immediate use. Rinse the bowl in between each egg so you start with a fresh look and smell.

Another option is to use the eggs as pet food. Cooked eggs are a favorite for dogs. Again, I'd check each one to make certain only the fresher ones are used.

To be on the safe side, I'd toss them and just wait for new eggs.

To prevent this from happening again, keep your girls around the nest box so they get used to using it instead of the nearest bush or other hiding place. After they get into the habit of laying in the nests, you can let them wander again.

Don't crack the eggs and feed them to the chickens as this might get them to eating their own eggs.

I hope this helps.

So, if you're in need of help or advice, I'll try my best to answer your question and address your need. Whether it's "when do eggs go bad?" or something a little more complex.

If I can't help you, I'll let you know that too.

Done with When do Eggs go Bad, take me back to Backyard Chickens
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