Using the float test is a great way to determine if the eggs from your backyard chickens are still fresh.
The float test is a simple way to tell very quickly if the eggs from your backyard chickens are still in their prime. If you’ve ever cracked open an old egg, I’m sure that is not a mistake you’d like to repeat. The smell alone is enough to send everyone out of the room! Cleaning up a bad egg is enough to make those with an iron stomach weak in the knees.
Cracking a bad egg into a bowl with other ingredients completely ruins all the prior work. Costing you the ingredients and time and clean up!
After cracking the egg open it is very easy to immediately tell if the egg is bad or not! But is there a way to tell before cracking open the egg? Determining beforehand would save you (and your nose) a great deal of sorrow.
Grocery Store vs. Backyard
When you buy eggs from the grocery store the expiration date is clearly labeled on each carton. You can use them with little thought to their freshness in all your recipes. Backyard chicken eggs are a different story altogether.
Most people with backyard chickens probably collect eggs daily. Most chickens probably prefer to lay their eggs in a nesting box or at least somewhere inside the coop. But every now and then you may have a chicken that is hard to keep pinned up. Or a hen that likes to make her nest somewhere else. If you have free range chickens, everyday might be like an Easter Egg hunt! You might spend time each day finding eggs in very random and surprising places!
When you find an egg in a place you didn’t expect you may want to do the float test to determine its freshness.
The Float Test
The float test requires a bowl filled with water and the eggs in question. Simply place the eggs in the bowl. One of three things will happen. The egg will either sink like a rock to the bottom. Or the egg may sink to the bottom and then stand up on one end. Or the egg may float.
Eggs that sink to the bottom are the freshest and ready to use for anything! Eggs that sink and then stand up are anywhere from one – two weeks old. These eggs are still fine to use for things like baking or making easy-to-peel boiled eggs. If an egg floats to the top, it is very old.
Float = Fail
The easiest way for me to remember the float test rule is FLOAT = FAIL. If your egg floats to the top, it fails the test. Do not eat it. It is very old.
Why Do Old Eggs Float?
You may be wondering why an old egg floats. As it ages an air pocket forms inside the egg. The air pocket gets larger as the egg continues to age. Eventually there will be enough air in the egg to make it less dense than the water, and it will float.
Do I Have to Collect Chicken Eggs Everyday?
It is not entirely necessary to collect eggs everyday. A hen laying eggs to hatch may take up to two weeks before she feels she has enough to hatch. So they won’t spoil immediately if they are left in the coop.
Typically, we collect the eggs everyday. We’ve had a couple chickens who would peck at an egg if left in a nesting box. If a chicken begins pecking eggs and eating them, it may mean she needs more calcium in her diet. You might want to try adding some oyster shells to her food.
When eggs are left in a nest or nesting box, a hen may become broody. Meaning she may desire to start sitting on them in efforts to hatch chicks. If you’re ready to start the next generation of backyard chickens this might be the way to go!
One of my aunts crocheted this egg apron for Goose from a free online pattern found at hearthookhome.
Where is the Strangest Place You’ve Ever Found an Egg From Your Backyard Chickens?
Let me know in the comments!