Cleaning Chicken Eggs
Cleaning Chicken Eggs
Out here in the country, life revolves a little differently than it does in the city. We put hard, long hours into making our homestead a self sufficient haven for our families. Homestead Hints will be a series following things that we’ve learned over the last several years on how to make our homestead living a little better. Welcome to the Little Homestead on the Prairie…
A few months ago after I wrote the post about how to build a chicken coop, and one of the questions I got emailed the most was about cleaning chicken eggs. When you are raising backyard chickens you will inevitably have some pretty messy eggs!
The easiest answer is that you don’t. That’s right. You may think it’s yucky but I don’t ever go through the process of cleaning chicken eggs until the very moment that I’m going to use them. I pull them out of the chicken coop and put them in a carton in the fridge. (UNLESS, they are super icky, in that case I’ll clean them up a bit and put them somewhere where I will use them right away.)
I’ve seen that some people to run the eggs under water, or soak them in water, or wash them off some how. Unless you are going to use them right now or if you are taking them to be sold, this should be a no-no.
Why don’t you want to wash eggs? Because of something called bloom. The bloom is an antibacterial layer that surrounds the egg. Think of it as a special protective coating on the egg. The bloom helps to keep any bacteria from getting into the egg and when you wash the egg, run it under water, or anything like that, you destroy the bloom and allow the possibility for bacteria to enter in your eggs. They eggs will also not last as long once you remove the bloom.
If you have to go through the process of cleaning chicken eggs, try to do some kind of abrasive dry clean first. Rub them with a dry towel or sponge and see if you can clean them off. If you have to use water, try and just spot wipe them. Take a damp towel and just clean off small areas that need to be cleaned, try not to wet the entire egg.
To prevent the eggs from getting dirty in the first place, make sure the nests have a good layer of sawdust or wood chips so the eggs don’t crack. Also, try and collect them more than once a day.
If you clean your eggs this way (the no-cleaning way!) you will prevent them from going bad too fast and keep them as sanitary as possible (even though it doesn’t seem like it!).
Learn more about Homestead Living and Raising Backyard Chickens! Here are some other great articles on raising chickens:
wow! I did not know this, and here I am soaking my eggs! thankyou!
thank you !!
My biggest problem was keeping the hens from sleeping in their nests overnight (instead of on their perches) and going potty in there. I read on The Chicken Chick’s website that covering their nests would prevent this. I used a staple gun to staple a small square of fabric over the openings of their nests (not too big, as they have to be able to see in there just a little bit so they can figure out that there’s a nest in there). They have never pottied in there since, using their nests only as a place to lay eggs now.
Love your website!
I have been wondering about something… used to before refrigeration people kept their eggs in a bowl on the counter or such… why do we put them in the fridge these days? do you have to keep eggs in the fridge… I know store bough eggs are kept in coolers but what about fresh eggs? just curious about this?
Here’s a long article about storing eggs.
Fantastic and informational article about egg storage!! Thank you =)
Good information! I love my little urban homestead flock (13 hens). I tend to keep a bowl of eggs on the counter as I use so many. Without washing them, they stay fresh this way for a week or more. Any overflow goes to the fridge. I do use a commercial egg wash on any eggs I give away. Anyone intending to sell eggs must check with their local ag extension for their state’s regulations on washing eggs to be sold. Also, be aware that once eggs have been refrigerated, they must stay in the refrigerator.
I am so tickled I found this site, it covers things I want and need to know. Living simply and independently is what my hubby and I are striving for. I think I have my grandparents country life genetics in me and I love it. We have had our chickens now for 3 years, just a small flock of hens, currently 7 (have had up to 12) but getting 4 more chicks this spring. Shhh don’t tell my husband, he helps care for them and says we have enough. The washing egg article has been extremely informative to me, thank you very much. Next is making your recipe on foaming pump soap.
I have an Illinois Egg License and have spoken at length about this topic with the inspector who comes to make sure we are processing our eggs correctly. Yes… cleaning eggs is a danger and makes them more susceptible to bacteria…… I have the “recommended” wash but rarely use it even for the stores I sell to. I have a veggie cloth from Norwex I use to dry rub them, and if that does not work I have some environmentally friendly clothes I use to finish em up…. It’s actually a danger to immunity as our tolerance is lower and lower of what we as a society can withstand…
When you do wash your eggs, do you use any soap or special cleaners?
No I only use water.
One way to store eggs “long term” (up to 6-8 months)…is to rub them with mineral oil. Just put a little in your hand and rub the eggs around in your hand, then store in a carton or bowl in a dark closet or basement.
Another way to store eggs long term is in earthen crocks/pots and even butter churns by submerging them in lard. A layer of lard, then a layer of eggs, layer of lard, layer of eggs, etc.
Always check the eggs when you crack them for bad smell or other indications of being bad….I do have a egg or two ruin occasionally even after applying mineral oil or submerged in lard.
Thank you for the info! I was washing mine until I read somewhere that by doing this I was contaminating the egg. I had no idea to the extent until I read your post!
I have read that washing eggs “pushes” the bacteria into the shells, causing the eggs to spoil more quickly. However, I am seriously concerned about the possibility of salmonella being contained in the feces on dirty eggs. How do you keep dirty eggs without contaminating your kitchen?
We use a dry or just slightly damp cloth to clean off the worse of it if there is anything and then store them. Usually if you keep clean straw or woodchips in the laying nests you won’t have much of an issue with dirty eggs. 🙂
Thanks! I’m gonna try this out with my 9 hens. I have a bit of an egg surplus right now so I had been either giving them away or feeding the badly stained ones back to the ckickens, and no they haven’t started eating their own eggs as a result:).