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Do you wash fresh eggs? Refrigerate or no?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

I am doing a victory dance, because we found two little eggs in our hen house tonight.  I wasn't expecting eggs yet, as our chicks are only 15 weeks old, and I expected a longer wait.  Anyway, now what?  Do I wash them before refrigerating?  Leave them on the counter?  I'm a novice and not sure what is best.  We do have a rooster, so if they are fertilized, should I do something different?  Also, the hens layed the eggs on the floor of the coop under the perches instead of in the nesting box.  How do I train them to lay in the nesting box or does it really matter?  Any advice is appreciated.

Home of Caramel (the rooster by surprise), Queen Eggster (top chick and snack attacker), Captain Cluck (second in command), Dotty (the daft one), and Trixie (the little bird with a big personality).

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Home of Caramel (the rooster by surprise), Queen Eggster (top chick and snack attacker), Captain Cluck (second in command), Dotty (the daft one), and Trixie (the little bird with a big personality).

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post #2 of 22

Some folks prefer not to wash eggs.  They just sit them in a basket, where they keep just fine and might wash them just before using them

 

We prefer to wash and refrigerate, as our customers take 90% of our eggs and they are fussy.  They pay the bills, so they get what they want.  If you do decide to wash and refrigerate, and in this 100F weather, it isn't a bad idea, do follow the egg handling guidelines published by most Ag departments.

 

Wash (hand rub) in as hot of water as you can take.  Allow to air dry a bit, and finish with paper towel.  Stick in the frig.  Never wash under cold water.

Some folks do a quick dip in a sanitizer as part of the wash.  In no case, do you allow eggs to sit in water or solution for more than just a little bit, 30 seconds tops.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #3 of 22

You're going to get arguments on both sides on this, and most of those people are going to say that their way is best.  People say that the eggs bought from stores are more susceptible to salmonella because the bloom is washed off... but those eggs are also weeks old, before they even hit the supermarkets.  You have people who wash theirs immediately because they come out of the same hole that the chickens poop with.  You have some that soak theirs in bleach.  In Europe they leave them on the counters, but I've also heard they cook with eggs more often, so they're used up faster.

 

Me:

I put my eggs immediately in the refrigerator upon collecting, but I know that they won't be tainted if I can't gather them immediately.  I don't wash mine until I use them, and I tell that to my customers.  Often I forget to wash them as I use them, and haven't gotten sick yet.

 

I know that the egg has a built-in security system that keeps the bacteria out until the chick is ready to hatch in 21 days.  But that knowledge is yours to use as you're most comfortable with.  Wash the bloom off, keep it on.  Put in the fridge, keep it out.  I don't think any of these ways are superior to others if you're using the egg responsibly, before it expires, and not dropping poop in your food.

Chickens: faverolles, australorps, Delaware, barred rock, welsummer, silver laced wyandotte, lavender and buff x wheaten ameraucanas, BLRW, blue and splash andalusian, cochin, exchequer leghorn, silkie, brabanter, minorca, turken, RIR, brahma, speckled sussex...Ducks: two welsh harlequins, two blue swedish...  Two dogs, a snake, two parents and two kids... and food gardens everywhere else. 

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Chickens: faverolles, australorps, Delaware, barred rock, welsummer, silver laced wyandotte, lavender and buff x wheaten ameraucanas, BLRW, blue and splash andalusian, cochin, exchequer leghorn, silkie, brabanter, minorca, turken, RIR, brahma, speckled sussex...Ducks: two welsh harlequins, two blue swedish...  Two dogs, a snake, two parents and two kids... and food gardens everywhere else. 

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post #4 of 22

Training beginning pullets is easier if your nests are somewhat low.  The chicken's instinct is to be a ground layer and nests on the ground.  They would find super high nesting boxes a wee bit confusing, at first.   Most folks put a wooden egg or golf ball or two in the nests.  It seems to work.  They do figure it out in a week or two.  They're probably passing the eggs at night and aren't even quite 100% aware what egg laying is all about right now.  They catch on.

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #5 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thank you.  Your responses are very helpful.  The temperatures here have been over 100 degrees for weeks.  Does that affect whether I refrigerate or not?  Also will refrigerating ruin the bloom or just washing? Also, the eggs are very small.  Will they get bigger as the chickens grow, or does the size of the eggs usually stay pretty consistent?

Home of Caramel (the rooster by surprise), Queen Eggster (top chick and snack attacker), Captain Cluck (second in command), Dotty (the daft one), and Trixie (the little bird with a big personality).

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Home of Caramel (the rooster by surprise), Queen Eggster (top chick and snack attacker), Captain Cluck (second in command), Dotty (the daft one), and Trixie (the little bird with a big personality).

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post #6 of 22

Yes, they lay "pullet" starter eggs.  Very small.  Yes, they'll gradually increase in size.

 

The bloom being important is one the mostly hotly debated topics.  My own opinion is that the whole question is not nearly as monumental as folks make it out to be.  As for fertile eggs sitting out in 100F temperature, well, that is precisely the temperature at which our incubator operates, so you'll have to make up your own mind about that.  LOL

 

 

Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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Practicing Sustainable Agriculture At The 45th Parallel

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post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

Into the refrigerator they go.  I don't want to crack any eggs open and find any surprises.  LOL  Thank you for the input.

Home of Caramel (the rooster by surprise), Queen Eggster (top chick and snack attacker), Captain Cluck (second in command), Dotty (the daft one), and Trixie (the little bird with a big personality).

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Home of Caramel (the rooster by surprise), Queen Eggster (top chick and snack attacker), Captain Cluck (second in command), Dotty (the daft one), and Trixie (the little bird with a big personality).

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post #8 of 22

Pullets start out with small eggs, since they're not done growing either.  When my Delaware gave me her first full-sized egg, I was amazed how she could manage to do that... but she had grown since then, as well.  Egg size at the end is usually determined by breed.

 

My understanding: washing ruins the bloom, not refrigeration.  Chickens incubate their eggs at just under 100 degrees, and one of my broodies is hovering over hers now that temps are getting higher.  So if it's higher than a chicken's body temperature, I would whisk them right into the fridge.  That's just me.

 

I used to think they could stay good for a super-long time, until I cracked open a 14-day-old egg that was sitting under my broody and wasn't growing.  14 days at a chicken's body temperature did HORRIBLE EVIL things to a non-fertilized egg.  I had to wash my hands 5 times to get the smell off.

Chickens: faverolles, australorps, Delaware, barred rock, welsummer, silver laced wyandotte, lavender and buff x wheaten ameraucanas, BLRW, blue and splash andalusian, cochin, exchequer leghorn, silkie, brabanter, minorca, turken, RIR, brahma, speckled sussex...Ducks: two welsh harlequins, two blue swedish...  Two dogs, a snake, two parents and two kids... and food gardens everywhere else. 

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Chickens: faverolles, australorps, Delaware, barred rock, welsummer, silver laced wyandotte, lavender and buff x wheaten ameraucanas, BLRW, blue and splash andalusian, cochin, exchequer leghorn, silkie, brabanter, minorca, turken, RIR, brahma, speckled sussex...Ducks: two welsh harlequins, two blue swedish...  Two dogs, a snake, two parents and two kids... and food gardens everywhere else. 

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post #9 of 22

right into the fridge, I do not wash them, as there is no poop on them. the bloom is left on  them.

post #10 of 22
Mine go right into the fridge too usually. And I have a special open carton for any with poop on them, though that's pretty rare. Yes, I'm so lazy that I won't even wash those few. Eventually they get fed back to the hens most of the time but if I really need an egg and only a poopy one is there, it gets washed.

As a few others have said, whether to wash or not an apparently clean egg really isn't a big deal. Do it if you must, don't if you don't want to.

ETA: Because of the way a hen's anatomy works, the egg really never directly contacts any part of the digestive tract. So even though it's the same exterior opening, a membrane separates the passing egg from the bowel.
Edited by galanie - 7/7/12 at 8:44am

Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

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Lay down with dogs and you get up with fleas.


Love those Orps!

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