We are in the process of remodeling our chicken coops and rethinking the purpose of our chickens. I would like to harvest eggs to sell in the local markets along side our produce. But I’ve encountered some hard questions. How long do fertilized indeginous chicken eggs last? What is there shelf life? Also, if the fertilized egg doesn’t last as long as an unfertilized egg. Couldn’t I remove the rooster and still produce eggs that way? What would the shelf life look like of an unfertilized egg? Thanks for the help!
You may glean some helpful information in this FAO guide, Chapter 2, Marketing Quality Eggs :
According to this article from UC Davis, there is only a 50K cell difference between un-incubated fertile eggs and infertile eggs with no difference in nutritional value or other qualities.
As you know, roosters are not required to produce eggs. In fact, the presence of a rooster can hinder egg production by introducing stress to the coop. In Niger, where temperatures often reached 40 degrees C, eggs remained marketable for at least two weeks provided they were kept in the shade.
My experience raising indigenous birds along with broilers and layers in West Africa suggest that all three types can be appropriate. For example, although indigenous birds cannot lay as well as layer breeds, nor can they gain weight like broilers, they can survive in the hard scrabble of village life. They are better equipped to deal with heat, water deprivation, predators, and are much better scavengers. In fact, it may not be economically advantageous to feed and house indigenous birds. On the other hand, layers and broilers often only work well where the poverty level is not extreme, due to the required inputs, medications and specialized poultry yards. In addition, indigenous chickens fetch a better market price than improved poultry where people prefer the taste and texture of “bush chickens”.