Read up on how to tell if your hen is laying here.
U of FL Extension article on Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flocks
Backyard Poultry “How to Get More Eggs“
- Fresh eggs should be stored small end down to reduce evaporation and the risk of bacterial contamination.
- Fresh eggs can be stored for long periods of time using various methods, check out a Mother Earth article on fresh egg storage here.
- Do NOT WASH your fresh eggs before storing them. If you need to wash them, do it immediately before you use them. Only use water warmer than the egg, otherwise when you wash the natural bloom off with colder water then the water and its impurities are drawn into the open pores you just created.
- Frozen eggs need to be mixed together. If the yolk and white is not mixed before freezing the egg, then it will be watery when cooked after defrosting. Try not to add any air to the mixture. Suzanne McMinn’s blog Chickens in the Road has a fun article on freezing eggs.
I’ve found that the refrigerator is my first choice and the freezer my second for storing eggs.
How to test if an egg is fresh
Firstly, fill a fairly deep bowl with water and carefully lower the egg into the water.
A very fresh egg will immediately sink to the bottom and lie flat on its side. This is because the air cell within the egg is very small. The egg should also feel quite heavy.
As the egg starts to lose its freshness and more air enters the egg, it will begin to float and stand upright. The smaller end will lie on the bottom of the bowl, whilst the broader end will point towards the surface. The egg will still be good enough to consume, however, if the egg fully floats in the water and does not touch the bottom of the bowl at all, it should be discarded, as it will most likely be bad.
A bad egg will also feel extremely light in weight and give off a pungent smell.
The second method to test the eggs freshness is by breaking the egg onto a flat plate, not into a bowl.
The yolk of a very fresh egg will have a round and compact appearance and it will sit positioned quite high up in the middle of the egg. The white that surrounds it will be thick and stays close to the yolk.
A cloudy colouring to the egg white is a sign of extra freshness, as this “cloudiness” is in fact carbon dioxide, which is present when the egg is laid. Over time, the egg white will become more transparent, as the carbon dioxide dissipates.
A less fresh egg will contain a flatter yolk, that may break easily and a thinner white that spreads quite far over the plate.
Very fresh eggs are ideal for frying or poaching, but less fresh eggs should be used in sauces, cake mixtures or omelettes, where the shape and texture of the egg is not as noticeable.
The coloration of eggshells in chickens comes from two basic shell colors (white and blue) and one coating (brown). The brown pigment is called ooporphryn, a chemical compound resulting from hemoglobin metabolism and it is deposited on the surface of the egg shell. The blue shell pigment is called oocyanin which is a byproduct of bile formation and is throughout the shell.
- white eggs are white shells with no coating
- brown eggs are white shells with the brown coating
- blue eggs are blue shells with no coating
- green eggs are blue shells with brown coating
- pink eggs are white shells with a very light brown coating
The pea comb is thought to be associated with the gene that causes blue shells.
Pigmentation often fades as the laying season progresses.