If you find frozen chicken eggs in your coop, don’t panic! They aren’t a total loss.
It’s that time of year when the freezing temperatures outside might lead to you finding frozen chicken eggs in the coop. Eggs left inside of your coop too long between collections can freeze and crack.
Are you wondering if frozen chicken eggs are still safe to eat?
Are you trying to stop your chicken eggs from freezing inside of the coop? I have you covered with all the advice that you need about handling frozen chicken eggs.
Are Frozen Chicken Eggs in Coop Safe to Eat?
The short answer is yes, you can still eat frozen chicken eggs.
There’s a catch…
If the egg is frozen without any cracks, you can put it into the fridge and eat it like normal. Make some scrambled eggs tomorrow or breakfast sandwiches – yum.
Frozen eggs are still fine to eat as long as the inner membrane is intact, but the texture can change a bit. Sometimes, the eggs find them grainy.
I suggest putting the frozen eggs in a bowl rather than an egg carton because if there are hairline cracks that you don’t see, the whites might seep out. You’ll end up with a huge mess on your hands.
If the egg is cracked, it gets trickier.
Cracked eggs that aren’t visibly dirty but have intact membranes can be cooked up immediately. However, they do need to cook it well.
Handling Frozen Chicken Eggs
Are you wondering how to handle frozen chicken eggs? Here are the best suggestions.
- Frozen eggs that aren’t cracked can be put into the refrigerator. After the egg defrosts, you can eat the egg as you would normally.
- Cracked, frozen eggs that have intact membranes but aren’t visibly dirty can be used immediately if you cook the eggs well.
- If you pick up a cracked egg with broken membranes and anything oozing from the egg, toss it out. Bacteria entered through the cracked shell and broken membrane.
Tossing an egg out can feel like blasphemy. Instead, you can scramble up a cracked egg, making sure to cook it well and feed it to your chickens or dogs. Eggs are incredibly nutritious, and animals have digestive tracts that can handle bacteria easier than humans.
Make sure that you don’t leave frozen eggs out on your countertop at room temperature.
Typically, you might store your unwashed eggs out on the counter for several weeks or until you need to eat them without being refrigerated. That’s not a good idea without frozen chicken eggs because the freezing process creates condensation on the egg. That condensation removes the bloom, allowing air and bacteria to enter the egg.
Farm fresh, non-frozen eggs can be left on the counter as usual. Even if they are frozen and you need to store them in the fridge, you don’t need to wash the eggs until you’re ready to use them.
How to Prevent Frozen Chicken Eggs
1. Collect Eggs Often
Collect your eggs multiple times per day. Yes, that means you need to venture out into the coop more often than once, but it’s the best way to prevent frozen eggs.
I send my kids out in the morning and in the afternoon before it gets dark to fetch the eggs. Depending on the temperature, it works out because their water might be frozen as well.
For best results and to avoid frozen eggs entirely, visit the chicken coop every 3-4 hours. This seems like a bit commitment, but remember, you only have to do this when the temperatures are below freezing.
2. Let a Broody Hen Sit
Most of the time, broody hens happen in the spring or summer, but if you happen to have a broody hen, consider letting her sit in the winter. She will keep the eggs warm for you until you can collect them.
Of course, she will get defensive over the eggs, but she has no idea if she’s sitting on fertile eggs or not.
3. Hang Curtains in Nesting Boxes
Chicken owners SWEAR by curtains over your nesting boxes. Curtains can help to retain heat inside of your boxes.
You don’t need to go buy fancy curtains. Something as simple as a feed bag or a piece of burlap over the front of the box works fine. You can get fancy if you want or try some DIY nest box curtains.
4. Thick Straw or Other Bedding
You need to add a thick layer of straw in the bottom of your boxes or another type of bedding. More bedding helps to insulate the eggs until you can collect them.
Straw is ideal because it’s a great insulator. The warm air becomes trapped inside of the hollow shafts. If you typically use wood shavings, try switching to straw in the winter months.
When an egg comes from the hen, it’s nearly 100 degrees F. It takes several hours to cool enough to freeze. So, the warmer you keep the nesting boxes, the longer it takes to cool. That gives you more time to get the eggs.
5. Consider Heating Your Chicken Coop
I don’t heat my chicken coop, but some owners do. That’s an individual choice. However, if you keep experiencing frozen eggs and nothing else works, heating might be the best choice.
You could hang a light bulb over your nesting boxes. A regular bulb often gives off enough heat to stop chicken eggs from freezing without the larger risk associated with a heat lamp. There is a fire risk involved even with regular bulbs.
Another choice is to try a radiant panel heater, but that has some problems as well. The major concern is if you lose power and your chickens are accustomed to the low temperatures, they’ll be unprepared and face problems.
6. Use the Deep Litter Method for Bedding
In the cold months, using the deep litter method for bedding is ideal. I don’t use this method in the summer, but in the winter, it makes it easier to care for my chickens.
In the spring when I remove it, I have ready-made compost, and this method keeps the coop and chickens warmer. If you have a warmer coop, that leads to warmer eggs and eggs not freezing as often.
Dealing with Frozen Chicken Eggs
Winter only lasts a few months, so frozen chicken eggs won’t always be a problem for you. If you check your coop often enough, you won’t need to worry about it.
If you do find some frozen eggs – it happens to all of us – remember the tips on how to handle frozen eggs and when they’re safe to eat. Then, if all else fails, make them for your chickens!