Cleaning eggs

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Cold Canadian, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. Cold Canadian

    Cold Canadian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    New here so I'm hoping this is the right place to ask this ? Does anyone ever wash / clean there eggs before setting them in the incubator ? I've heard that some people do and others warn against it ? Curious if the large hatchery's do as well to contain diseases ? Just asking because I bought some hatching eggs locally and they were a bit dirty , and although the candled well , the hatch was a bit short from what I had thought my hatch would be .I'm assuming that this might have played a part ?.
     
  2. JulieZ

    JulieZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm no expert & this is only my first incubation (lock down tomorrow) but I never cleaned my eggs. A few of them I used a barely damp paper towel to get off a huge chunk of poo but other then that, I hear there is too much vitamin of some kind (???) in the shell & you could wash it away. Again .. no expert but I don't think it plays a role in hatching. Temperature, travel & humidity ... now those do.
     
  3. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Personally, I hatch between four and five hundred chicks a season. You will find those that clean eggs and those that don't. As long as you wash them in water that is warmer than the eggs everything will be fine. A good friend of mine uses an iodine solution in his wash.

    If you ever have an egg explode on you in the incubator you'll start washing eggs too; that I can promise.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  4. JulieZ

    JulieZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Saladin ... What happens between a wash & un-wash when an egg explodes? [​IMG]
     
  5. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Julie,
    Never had a washed egg explode.

    An un-washed egg that is dirty (particularly with chicken crap) may explode in the incubator: dirty, nasty and the stench is something else!
     
  6. spoggy

    spoggy d'Anver d'Nut

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    Quote:What about the "bloom"? I thought that was not supposed to be washed off. Couldn't you do that by running under warm water?
     
  7. Chickenfarmer 1-2-b

    Chickenfarmer 1-2-b Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I read different books on hatching, seems like most of them do not recommend washing b/c that would get rid of the natural antibiotic protecting coating on the shell. Some suggest using fine sand paper to clean lightly, others suggest not to use soiled eggs at all for incubation, which to me is not practical. Personally, I just wipe off the eggs with paper towel right before setting. That works for me.
     
  8. Kedreeva

    Kedreeva Longfeather Lane

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    I've never washed an egg and I've never had an egg explode in my incubator. In fact, the best hatch I've yet had came from a group of absolutely filthy duck eggs I got from a friend of mine. A batch of shipped eggs came to me washed, and 9 out of 10 I tossed to bacterial infection. So according to my personal experience, I won't be washing eggs.

    The reason for not washing eggs is indeed that it can remove the protective bloom on the outside of the egg. Bloom is a coating on the egg that clogs the egg's pores, which helps with preventing bacteria from crossing the shell and reduces moisture loss from the egg. People who wash eggs to clean bacteria may in fact be making their eggs MORE susceptible to bacterial attack if something finds its way into the incubator- and as bacteria grows *everywhere* no matter the sort of cleaning job you may do, it's a safe bet that this can and will happen at some point. Bacteria enjoy incubators just as much as eggs do, as the temp and humidity used during egg incubation is *perfect* for bacteria growth as well. On top of this, the actual act of washing (rubbing or scrubbing) can push/force bacteria through the pores into the eggs, so that now you have a clean, perfectly susceptible egg that is contaminated on the inside and has just as much chance to explode as that dirty egg you picked up. Maybe more, because now your egg has no coating to stop the bacteria from getting back outside the egg and jumping to your other washed eggs.

    One of the best reasons (and the ONLY reason, in my opinion) to wash an egg is if you are putting it in with other washed eggs. An unwashed egg put in with washed eggs can result in the washed eggs getting contaminated because their natural protection has been removed.

    Major production companies often wash their eggs under the belief that visual cleanliness will improve hatch rates but this belief has no scientific base. A lot of money has gone into finding washing aids/soaps/scrubs/etc that will successfully clear bacteria AND improve hatch-ability but as far as I'm aware none have been capable of the latter. Production companies also wash outgoing eggs to consumers (a good practice) but pre-shipping they 'restore' the bloom by coating the eggs in a layer of edible mineral oil. This protects shipped eggs from catching issues on the way to your home but I do not believe it is used on eggs meant to be hatched. The mineral oil is added so that the shelf life can be extended, otherwise your fridge eggs would go bad rather quickly.

    And lastly, there shouldn't be a reason for dirty eggs in the first place. A clean kept facility (in any capacity, the neighbor with a couple laying hens in the garage to the producer will millions of hens) is the first and biggest step to healthy, clean eggs.

    If your eggs didn't hatch well, there are any number of other reasons why this might have been, ranging from incubator conditions, time spent lounging at that guy's place before he brought them to market, improper storage before bringing them to market, roosters not doing their jobs, food or water conditions... Chances are the washed or unwashed state of the eggs was not the cause.


    THAT BEING SAID. There are some more 'safe' ways to wash eggs if you feel absolutely compelled. I personally still wouldn't recommend it, but here is a nice link to read so you can decide for yourself.
    http://www.poultryhelp.com/uc-pfs22.html

    Better luck next time if you decide to try again [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  9. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Years ago I took a class through the Poultry Science Dept. of the University of Tenn. while working on my undergraduate degree: that is where I learned to wash soiled eggs.

    If you need bloom to protect your eggs in an incubator then your incubator is too dirty! Bloom exist for the non-sterile environment of natural incubation.

    I mix washed and unwashed eggs all the time in the incubator. The dirty ones I wash. Just because you've never had an egg explode does not mean it cannot or will not happen.
     
  10. Sparklee

    Sparklee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Only have had about eight incubators full. Maybe 10. Haven't kept track.

    If it's my own eggs, I don't set dirty eggs. If they have a tiny pencil streak of something on them, I will sand that with fine sandpaper. I'm not saying I'm proud of that or that it's a good idea ... I don't have any idea. It's just what I do and I may change that practice at any point. The chicken eggs seem to stay clean when the chickens spend most of the day outside and then come into the chicken house to lay their eggs in pine shavings. If it's rainy out, the chickens get the eggs a little dirty, but they are required to walk across shavings to get to the nests which clean off their feet a little. If it's snowy out and the chickens are all staying in the chicken house and pooping in there, then the eggs are dirty 50% of the time. YMMV

    Once, I got about 27 eggs in the mail. Usually I wouldn't pay attention, but getting poopy eggs in the mail for a hatch kinda threw me. 15 were icky and 12 were pristine. I washed the 15 and set them on one side of the incubator in the turner and then cartons for last 3 days (standard operating procedure here) and did the same with the pristine 12, but placed them on the other side of the incubator. Because it was a shipped batch of eggs, that almost always produce low hatch rates, I got a low hatch rate. However, only 1 out of the dirty 15 hatched (those I washed) and 5 out of 12 on the pristine (never washed) side hatched.

    I'm not sure those results are good for anything beyond a bit of a story since they can't prove anything scientifically.

    An interesting side note is that when one of my broody hens hatched out a batch of chickens earlier this summer, she got a piece of poop stuck to one of the eggs she was hatching. It was about the size of a dime. The egg started out being clean, but then got dirty the first week. I let it go because I didn't want to bother her and I also wanted to see what happened. It hatched. I doubt that tidbit of info has any bearing on incubating eggs, since the environment is so different, however,

    Maybe the fellow you got them from didn't store them at about 60F (15C) during the time they were stored before you got them. Maybe they weren't turned either. I suspect handling by other person could be a factor of some sort that could have given you the less than expected results.

    Anyway sorry results were as good as you wanted. I know how that goes. Hopefully next time will be better.
     

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