Fresh eggs is one of the reasons why people raise backyard chickens.
But your fresh eggs could be dangerous to eat…
…that if you don't collect, clean, and store them right.
As you may already know, chicken coop is not exactly the cleanest place on earth.
It's full of dirt, poop, and things your eyes can't see: bacteria.
If you don't clean eggs and store them the right way, your eggs could bring their nasty stuff into the home and could harm your other foods and eventually your body.
For that reason, follow this guide to make sure your chickens eggs are safe to eat.
Collecting your Fresh Eggs from the Coop
There are 3 important questions on this topic:
When, how often, and how.
Let's get started from the very first question.
You have to check your coop at least twice a day for eggs. Once in the morning, and once in the evening. For larger flock, you may want to check at least thrice a day.
But why that often?
Here's the thing:
Eggs are fragile…
…bacteria can easily enter the skin if there's the slightest crack on it. And the longer your left them, the higher possibility of your eggs become cracked.
This can be even worse on extreme temperatures, like on summer and winter.
On winter, your fresh eggs will freeze and it'll crack easier. On summer, the temperature will be too hot and your egg will lose its quality faster.
But that's not the only reason.
Your own chickens may eat them.
Chickens, like humans, like to eat eggs (even their own, yes, that's weird). It got worse when it becomes a habit for them…they'll eat it as soon as it lays.
Another thing is their poop. Normally, you don't want your eggs to get poopy, even if you can clean them. But we'll talk more about this below.
Normally, you don't want your eggs to get poopy, even if you can clean them. But we'll talk more about this below.
Finally, leaving eggs will attract predators like snake and raccoons. They know eggs can run, unlike chickens, your eggs are the easiest meal for them.
Now the next question is how do you collect the eggs.
Easy, just take a container big enough to your coop and put the eggs inside it. But be careful when choosing containers:
- Make sure the surface is smooth, to avoid scratch
- Make sure it's not rusty
Although you may not have a lot of eggs yet, it's important to know that you shouldn't stack your eggs more than 5 layers high because it'll increase the chance of breakage.
How to Clean Eggs
There's one thing you should know:
Eggs have a natural coating that protects it from bacteria.
That's why it isn't necessary to wash the egg. Well, actually it's better if you don't wash them until you're ready to use it. Unless you got dirt or poop on them, like these:
If it's not that dirty, you only have to wipe them with a dry cloth.
The reason is because if you wash the egg, the coating will be washed away too and bacteria can now go in easily.
But again, it's your choice…
…if you're too paranoid, you can wash the eggs and then store the clean eggs in the fridge.
Anyway, if you wash them (because it's too dirty or there's a poop stain or something), make sure you don't shift the temperature drastically — from cold to hot, or the otherwise — to prevent cracking.
Speaking of cleanliness, there are two other factors:
Your hens and their coop.
If the layers themselves are dirty, their eggs will be most likely dirty too. With that in mind, it's important to keep your hens healthy and cleaning a chicken coop is an important part of that, so your can eat your eggs safely.
Storing Your Eggs
You don't have to store your fresh eggs in a fridge. They will be fine on room temperatures because they have that coating thing.
Unless, of course, you washed the egg.
If you wash the eggs, you have to store it in a refrigerator or you have to use it right away.
Alright, that's that, let's talk about storing eggs.
The number one rule of storing eggs (and any food really) is first in – first out.
Meaning, the first one in must be the first one out. Always use older eggs first so you won't have bad eggs in your storage.
One of the most common beginner mistakes when storing eggs is sorting them by color or shade, just to look nice. No, don't do that.
You can use this thing if you don't have too many eggs:
It's called egg skelter.
The first egg you placed on the skelter will be at the very end so you know which one to use up next.
If you don't plan to use it in near future, store them in a carton and write the date you store them on the carton. This way, you won't forget how old are your eggs.
A maximum time to store an egg is 5 weeks, no more than that.
Although it's better to just eat it before 5 weeks old.
Finally, if you lose track on your storing date, there's a way… put them in a glass of water. If the egg floats – chuck it away. If the egg sinks to the bottom it is still fresh, and if it stands on one end in the bottom, it is in between fresh and rotten.