I read about this a while back and wanted to ask your thoughts on the issue. Forgot about it until I came across this NPR bit in my newsfeed. What do you do with your eggs/chickens? NPR: Why the US Chills Its Eggs and Most of the World Doesn’t
But all that nitpicking aside, it certainly makes sense that eggs should last a long time without refrigeration. Modern production breeds of egg laying hens crank out five or more eggs per week for several months at a stretch and never have the biological urge to hatch eggs. But an “unimproved”, traditional hen will lay eggs until she has between ten and fourteen in her nest, and then she’ll “go broody” and start sitting on her eggs for three weeks until the chicks hatch. Many old fashioned breeds of chickens don’t lay eggs as regularly, so that means it might take a hen three weeks to lay all her eggs before incubation. During that time, the eggs remain viable.
If we were to sell eggs, by law we would need to wash and refrigerate them. Most states also require eggs to be candled (checked with a bright light to detect cracks or blood spots within). Since we consume all our eggs, we have the prerogative to enjoy detergent free, unrefrigerated eggs. Realistically, most eggs don’t hang around here for more than a few days anyway since we do a pretty good job of eating as many eggs as we collect each day.
And to answer the inevitable follow-up question — yes, we do eat them raw when we make mayonnaise, ice cream, and Orange Julii (is this the plural of Juliuses?).