Can Chicken Eggs Freeze in Winter?
Yes, chicken eggs are likely to freeze when subjected to extremely cold winter conditions. When you leave your chicken eggs outside and in the freezing cold, they will become frozen and ultimately crack.
However, some chicken breeds can do well when temperatures reach a freezing point. Such breeds are usually said to be cold-hardy. They can live comfortably in an unheated coop throughout the winter season when temperatures are just below the freezing point. Sadly, eggs cannot survive such extremes.
Uncollected eggs left outside the coop on a cold day or overnight during the cold season can easily freeze. When their temperature drops drastically, the white and yolk expand. This gradual expansion exerts some pressure against the eggshell.
Within a short time, visible cracks appear or tiny, invisible hairline cracks occur on the shells, forcing the eggs to crack open.
How do You Keep Chicken Eggs from Freezing?
It is not bad to leave farm eggs at room temperature. Such eggs can stay for several weeks on your kitchen counter without going bad. You can even pick up a few and prepare them for breakfast. This is attributed to the fact that their natural coating on the eggshell or bloom keeps out bacteria and air, leaving the inner content fresh and in good condition.
If you happen to collect eggs that are already cold to your touch, rest assured that the condensation process will most likely form on the shells. Such a process happens more often when the cold eggs start to warm up. Eventually, the condensation process causes the properties of the bloom to become ineffective.
Therefore, it is a good idea to refrigerate all the eggs collected during the winter period. While taking these eggs for refrigeration, make sure not to wash them until you are ready to cook them. The best thing about winter when it comes to eggs is that both the chicken manure and mud are usually frozen.
This means that your eggs will stay cleaner and in good condition throughout the cold season.
As a farmer, you may find it difficult to prevent eggs from getting frozen and cracking in cold weather conditions. So, if you live in a cold climate, you should devise better ways to keep your chicken eggs from freezing. The easy way to protect the eggs from freezing is to routinely check the nesting boxes and collect eggs immediately.
The addition of artificial light is yet another option to keep the eggs in good condition despite the prevailing cold weather. The light enables your birds to stay in the cold and lay eggs continuously during the winter.
While this could be a good decision on your side, it may not be healthy for your layers since they need a break to let their bodies naturally adjust to the changing weather conditions. Check out these simple things that you can do to solve the problem of chicken eggs getting frozen in winter:
- Make sure to check your chicken coop from time to time for new eggs
- Consider the location of your chickens’ nesting boxes
- Provide insulation materials to the nesting boxes to keep the eggs warm
- Add a few curtains across the nesting boxes to keep away the cold
- Encouraging some hens to go broody
- Invest in supplemental heat
Any one of the above-mentioned solutions can possibly mitigate the issue of your chicken eggs getting damaged due to freezing temperatures. You can choose the most appropriate option or combine several of them depending on your preference, time, and the number of layers under your care.
At What Temperature do Chicken Eggs Freeze?
Just like any other season across the year, the cold winter conditions can greatly affect the laying patterns of your chickens. Bear in mind that chickens produce fewer numbers of eggs when subjected to cold weather conditions.
So eggs are likely to freeze within a short time of being exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you keep them under protection, this kind of temperature cannot affect them.
Apart from that, there are different degrees of freezing that usually affect chicken eggs. More often than not, an egg can appear frozen without forming cracks. Such an egg can easily be kept in a refrigerator for future use.
This is because whenever an egg cracks due to freezing temperatures, its membrane is likely to remain intact. With such an egg, it is recommended to cook it as soon as possible.
How Long Does it Take for Eggs to Freeze?
It may take an average of 30 minutes or half an hour for a chicken egg to get frozen. This is quite a long time for you to find and collect enough eggs and keep them away from extreme cold weather.
That is why you should regularly and routinely check nesting boxes for newly laid eggs. Any delay longer than a 30-minute duration can cause the eggs to freeze and even crack.
How Often to Collect Chicken Eggs in Winter?
In an ideal situation, you should collect eggs several times per day. However, in wintery conditions, you need to collect the eggs as soon as they are laid. To achieve this feat, you should check the nesting boxes within the shortest time intervals.
At least 30 minutes apart can enable you to find eggs in good conditions. Keep the collected eggs in clean egg cartons that are well-insulated.
Are Chicken Eggs Still Good if They Freeze?
Some eggs might still be good while others get spoiled due to varying degrees of freezing temperature. Make sure to check each egg so you can separate the good ones from the cracked ones. Get rid of the severely damaged eggs since they are not safe for human consumption.
Can You Incubate Eggs that Got Frozen?
Frozen eggs may not be the best choice for incubation, especially those that freeze at 29 degrees Fahrenheit and below. Once eggs get frozen, the freezing temperature makes the inside content inactive. Thus making them unfit for hatching.
Eggs can possibly freeze in extreme weather conditions such as those experienced in the winter. When they freeze, eggs can crack and get damaged. For that reason, ensure that all eggs are collected as soon as they are laid and kept in well-insulated containers to prevent them from freezing.