There’s a lot of conflicting advice on if you should wash your eggs or not, so here’s my take on eggs. I’m more to the not washing until using side, but I do wash my eggs as well, so it’s good on both ends, really. This is really what I’ve learned over the years of collecting eggs, so whatever you like to do is fine as well, and I’d love to hear what you do with your eggs!
Why some people choose to wash their eggs
I know a lot of people wash their eggs, and I do to sometimes. Both are good, but let’s see when washing your eggs would be a good idea.
No matter how clean your hens nesting boxes are, sometimes your hens will step in a nice, mushy pile of poop and track it into the nesting box, therefore coating the straw in poop, making the egg get full of poop. Hen’s can’t poop and lay an egg at the same time, so they can’t get the egg dirty unless it touches the dirty straw. I’ve heard some crazy things in the chicken community that you have to throw away a poopy egg, but why waste a good egg? The more poopy the egg, the more of a need there is to wash it. If there’s too much poop to scrub off with a scrubber or flick off with your fingers, you’re going to have to wash it off as having poop on your eggs in the house is highly unsanitary. Make sure you rinse it in water that’s warmer than the egg itself, but not so hot it burns your fingers and may start to cook the egg. All eggs that you do wash must go in the fridge, otherwise there’s more of a risk bacteria will enter the egg.
How do you leave eggs on the counter?
Eggs that aren’t washed can sit on the counter for a weeks, but really it wouldn’t need to be there that long. Un-washed eggs can sit in the fridge for weeks as well because when a hen lays her egg, it’s coated in an outer protective layer called the “bloom.” That’s what protects bacteria from entering the egg through the pores in its shell. When you wash an egg, the water removes the bloom, allowing bacteria to enter the egg. Putting washed eggs in the fridge help them to last longer once washed, but there’s still a chance bacteria can enter, and by washing the egg, you have lessened the time it can sit in the fridge.
So now I’m assuming you want this talk about chicken poop to be over, but first let me share with you a few tips to clean eggs. It’s quite simple, so here we go!
Clean bedding is a must. My chickens never really poop in the nesting boxes, but they do track poop into them. Make sure you keep the bedding in their coop clean. Not only will cleaning their poop from under the roosting bar from last night help their health overall, but it will also help with getting clean eggs.
Giving your chickens probiotics is another good tip. When they step in poop, it’s the runny, nasty stuff that’s going to get stuck to their feet. If their poop is hard, they won’t be able to track it in as much. Probiotics help build good bacteria in their intestines, making sure that their poop is healthy. Probiotics can be added to their water or their feed, whichever you prefer. I add them to their water so that way I can refresh it every day or two for the strongest benefits.
For the last tip, make sure your chickens butts are clean by checking around the vent area for signs of poop collection. Sometimes this poop can get on the egg, causing the egg to have poop on it. Not only that, but this can lead to the terrible fly strike, so make sure those butts are clean! Hens that are more fluffy are the ones you want to check more often, but giving your flock a weekly check-over never did any harm. If there’s signs of poop collection, soak the hen in warm water for a few minutes and then try to wipe off the poop gently with a wet towel. Giving your chickens probotics, good feed, and regular checkups usually prevents this from happening, but it’s good to check!
Ok, now we’re done on chicken poop, finally. Sorry to gross you out, but clean eggs are everyone’s goal, right? I mean, going out to the coop to find an egg full of poop is never fun, so I’m hoping these tips will help you in the future. Until next time!
*Fun Fact: Did you know that the U.S makes it a law that all commercial poultry egg farms wash their eggs and bleach them? In Europe, it’s a law to NOT wash the eggs, meaning our eggs would be illegal there. Weird, right! Who’s side are you on?
Dancing with Chickens