We had our first dose of winter today, windy and cold. Cold weather means frequent trips out to the hens to gather the eggs.
Most of our chickens behave themselves and lay eggs in the nests, or at least in the cove next to the nest box, but there are four or five hens that obstinately choose to lay their eggs elsewhere. All but one of these nonconformists pick sheltered spots, but one lays an egg each day right out in the open on top of a mound of snow. If we don’t collect that egg promptly in single-digit weather, it will freeze and split open.
Frozen eggs remain edible, but freezing often bursts the yolk as well as cracking the shell so they’re only suitable for scrambling.
Update: For a scientific inquiry into the frozen eggs pursued with Victorian thoroughness, please see Dr Davies’ On the Freezing of the Egg of the Common Fowl. In case you were wondering if spreading butter on an egg changes its freezing characteristics, you’d better read this article. The fun thing about this paper is that although it begins as some wacky “let’s see how many ways we can destroy eggs” experiment, it concludes by pondering the great existential question behind the chicken-and-egg dilemma, “whether the germ can exist retaining life without vital action of any kind”.