One of the things that some of my neighbors have done when moving out to the country is get chickens, some do it for the meat, but most do it to harvest eggs. One problem is getting too many chickens for the number of people living (and eating) in the household. It’s near impossible to buy just a few chicks or fertile eggs from a catalog, they often insist that you buy a dozen or more, usually more, that’s because of the mortality of live chicks being shipped out. Some of the chicks will die, either in the shipping process, or shortly after arriving. And it’s cheaper (per chick) to ship more than fewer. Some of the wiser neighbors will go in with another family or neighbor and split the chicks, but many will go ahead and order way too many chicks and will end up with far too many eggs at one time once the hens start laying.
Personally I would say that for one or two people, no more than 4-6 laying hens, if you think about it, each hen will lay one egg per day, unless you eat a lot of eggs, or are selling the eggs, then it doens’t take long to be overrun with eggs.
There are, however, ways to store the excess eggs where they will not go bad. And anyone who has been around laying hens know that they slow down egg production in the winter, so it’s a good idea to be able to save that excess of eggs for the winter when you will be getting fewer to none.
Before refrigeration was available, people would use hydrated lime to store the eggs, it keeps them from going rancid and if done properly, it’s said that you can keep eggs fresh for up to a year, possibly longer if kept in a cool place.
The best time to start this is in the spring going into summer, only use clean but unwashed fresh eggs, do not try this with store bought eggs as they have been washed and no longer have their protective “bloom” on them, the pores will be open and the eggs will suck in the hydrated lime making the eggs inedible.
Watch these two videos to see just how simple this process is.