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How long can an egg sit in the nest and still be safe to eat? I work long hours and am away from home until the late evening. When i get up and take care of my birds i check for eggs and there are never any in the nests. But when i return in the evening they are there.
 

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I wouldn't let them sit in the nest any longer then two days. A few hours won't hurt. A chicken will lay 10 -14 eggs before she will start sitting on them. That starts the incubation period. That is how they are all hatched about the same time. If your chickens lay an egg a day, you accually have about 2 weeks before before this happens. Are they safe to eat, sure. Would I wait that long, no.
 

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Here is a generally foolproof way to tell.
Place the egg in a cup of water. I it sinks it is okay to eat. If it floats- do not eat it.
If it stands on its end...or looks like it ....maybe..... want to try to float, eat it soon.
The shells are permeable and air will make its way through. Generally speaking About the time that air pocket is large enough that the egg will float- it is past it's prime. Hope this helps:)

As far as a "few days" being okay- it depends completely on the temp.
In the kitchen or a cooler temp- eggs are fine for weeks. Once and egg IS refrigerated- it has to be. Unrefrigerated in moderate temps is how many many people store eggs.

People ate and stored eggs long before refrigeration:)
 
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