Dirty eggs and double egg yoaks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sc00ter4900, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Sc00ter4900

    Sc00ter4900 Songster

    Jun 7, 2009
    HI Even though I have fresh shavings in the chicken coop. Fresh hay in the nest. I'm getting some not all but enough eggs dirty to be a problem. I was told if I clean them I would wash some type of coating off so the eggs woun't keep long. Is that true? What do the rest of you do to get clean eggs? The other question is My new hens that just started laying are giving a loy of double yoak eggs. I like them but is that ok? Should I be concerned? Thanks Scotty
  2. Braclin

    Braclin KY Chicken Farmer

    Jul 5, 2010
    They say not to wet the eggs because it can push bacteria through the shell. So either dry wipe/brush them or barely damp wipe them. As far as the double yolks the only real problem I see is that you just dont want to try and hatch them. I was always excited to get a double yolk. [​IMG] Not an expert. Just what i've read and been told.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2010
  3. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    When an egg is laid, it is covered with a proteinaceous material known as "bloom". The purpose of the "bloom" is to protect the contents of the egg because in nature, ultimately the purpose of the egg is to propagate the species, thus necessitating the need for a bioprotective coating on the shell. The less you disturb the bloom on the outside of the shell, the more protected the contents will be (whether you eat it or hatch it) and the longer your eggs will remain fresh if your intent is to eat them. I have read that eggs kept at room temperature with the bloom undisturbed and without too much temperature fluctuation will keep 3-4 months and up to 6 months if refrigerated.

    To tell if an egg is still good, try this test. Put a whole, uncracked, intact egg in a glass of water. If it sinks to the bottom, it's still good. If it doesn't sink, if it actually floats, don't eat it. That means aerobic bacteria have begun to develop within the shell & the egg is no longer edible.

    When getting eggs out of the nest, lightly brush away the any chicken stool that gets on the egg but do your best to not disturb the bloom too terribly much. Wash your eggs right before cooking them to remove any harmful bacteria that may still be lurking on the outside of the shell.

    While I do not get eggs from my girls yet, this is something I've known about for a long time and when I buy farm-fresh eggs, I specifically ask if they wash them at the time they collect them or if they are left dirty. I prefer to buy eggs that are left dirty--they tend to be fresher.

    Of course, commercially purchased eggs (even "organic farm fresh eggs") from the grocery store have rules and regulations that are different from the home hobby farmer and are usually washed at the time they are collected. They will still remain fresh when kept refrigerated if the bloom is washed off but for a much shorter period of time.

    Hope this helps!
  4. rufus

    rufus Crowing

    May 17, 2007
    If an egg is a little nasty, I clean it off with a wet paper towel. I make sure we eat the funky eggs first.

    My mother used to say a double yolker was a good omen. Once I got a triple yolker. I bought a lottery ticket that day, but it was a loser.

  5. Sc00ter4900

    Sc00ter4900 Songster

    Jun 7, 2009
    Thanks So far I have been feeding the dirty eggs to the dogs. The problem is that im getting a lot of dirty eggs. Besides keeping the coop and nest clean what else can I do to get clean eggs? My labs like the eggs a lot. They have a really shiny coats now LOL .
    Thanks Scotty
  6. Braclin

    Braclin KY Chicken Farmer

    Jul 5, 2010
    Try collecting eggs more frequently. If they seem to be using only one nest try putting some fake eggs in other nests to spread them out. Thats about all i can suggest. [​IMG]
  7. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    You will always have dirty eggs. They come out of the chicken through the same hole as the poop and the pee. Just let it dry and lightly brush off the poo so as not to disturb too much of the bloom.

    The only way to ensure you do not get poopy/dirty eggs is to buy them from the store already cleaned. If you are intent on only feeding your family eggs which do not get something on them in the nest or from the chicken's vent, you will be throwing away or feeding to your dogs 95% of the eggs your chickens lay.

    Learn to love and accept the chicken poo! Just flick it off when it dries. If you insist on washing off the bloom, feel free to do so but know that your eggs will only stay fresh about a quarter to half as long once they're washed than they would have if you'd left the bloom alone.
  8. bethanyrae

    bethanyrae Songster

    Apr 5, 2009
    If I get dirty eggs from a nest, it's usually because an egg has broken in the nest, and they've eaten all the evidence....except what's clinging to the other egg shells. Normally they're quite clean from our boxes, which have pine shavings in them.

    Be sure your hens are getting enough Calcium supplement to make their eggs strong. You can usually put out a feeder with the oyster shell supplement, and they'll take what they need. Or you can mix it in their food.

    Do you have chickens perching in your nest boxes to sleep at night? That will also soil them.

    And be sure there's enough padding in the nest box to protect them.

    If you want to wash them, do it with water as hot as your hands can stand. It forces bacteria, etc., out of the shell instead of into it. I use soap and hot water for eggs that will be eaten. (Never for eggs to be hatched.) There are different theories out there on washing eggs for consumption. They're probably all right. [​IMG]
  9. scarter

    scarter Songster

    Aug 22, 2008
    Roberts, WI
    None of the eggs that the girls lay in the hay are dirty. I never have dirty eggs in they hay. I try to keep DE and fresh hay in the nesting boxes but the problem in our coop is that they get their muddy little feet on the clean eggs if there is a puddle outside. I think the only thing you can do is keep things dry and clean. I hate the duck eggs because they are always dirty.
  10. Serrin

    Serrin Songster

    Pfffft! Look, first things first. For which purpose do you wish to collect eggs? Because the advice is different for each purpose.

    If you're looking to store your eggs long term, for human or pet consumption, it's fine and dandy to clean them with as simple as clear water from the tap. I always run the water at a tepid temperature, that way I don't take any chances of scalding either my hands or the outer most fringe of the whites inside. Yes, this will eliminate the "bloom" as others have called it. But would you rather remove the bloom, or have an egg shaped petri dish in your refrigerator? [​IMG]

    If I'm going to be storing my eggs long term, I then use mineral oil to coat the outside of the shell. This serves essentially the same function as the bloom in so far as it will slow the progression of the exchange of gasses between the inside and outside of the egg. Just because an egg floats in a glass of water, does NOT mean it has gone bad! [​IMG] Buy a dozen eggs from your local grocer. Take them home and immediately put each one in a glass of water and see what happens. Every last darn one of them is going to float!

    Here's a little known secret of the egg industry folks. Those so called "farm fresh" eggs you see in your grocers dairy case are anything BUT farm fresh. The FDA stipulates only that an egg must be sold within 45 days of "PACKAGING"! Not 45 days from date of laying. Egg producers typically keep an inventory of eggs for up to six months in cold storage. It is not until the egg is placed in a carton with the "sell by" date on the end of it, that the egg industry and the FDA start the clock ticking! Yes, there are exceptions to this general rule of egg handling, but by and large it is the norm. And yes, each of those eggs has been washed and treated with the mineral oil to slow the progression of gas exchange. About the only exception you're going to see to this practice will be things like the "Trader Joe's" brand and possibly free ranged eggs. [I've even heard of members incubating and hatching TJ eggs! [​IMG]] But I digress.

    The bottom line on cleaning eggs for long term storage, or simply for daily eating is that cleaning them is harmless, and far preferable to keeping poo covered eggs in the fridge. My mother did it, my grandmother, my great grandmother and I would assume her mother as well, all washed their eggs. Taa Daa!! I'm still here! [​IMG]

    Now then, if you're collecting the eggs to incubate, then that's an entirely different proposition all together. You want that bloom on the egg! As others have said, it's natures first line of defence to the egg against outside contamination. It also regulates to a certain degree the rate at which the egg "breathes". And yes, eggs and the young developing inside of them, need to be able to breathe! For incubation purposes, I usually just use my fingernail to scrape off as much of the offensive matter as I can. If it's really that messed up, wash it off and put it in the fridge for human consumption. You don't want something that heavily contaminated in the incubator anyhow. If you are collecting for incubation, you'll also want to store those eggs around 45-55 degrees until you have the number you want to incubate. But bring them up to room temperature slowly before placing them in the incubator or you'll likely end up with cracked eggs or eggs heavily coated with condensation. Either way, not something you want your hatching eggs going through!

    On the subject of double and the occasional triple yolker: Young pullets in their first few weeks of laying are notorious for laying double and triple yolk eggs. This is all simply part of Mother Nature's way of gearing that young girl up to go into full production. After the young lady in question has been laying for about a month, you'll begin to see fewer and fewer multiple yolk eggs. Usually about the same time as her egg reaches it's normal size. I wouldn't recommend trying to incubate one of these eggs. Even though it has been achieved by others, it's not something for the faint of heart, or the novice to attempt.

    Often times, only one of the chicks will survive to hatching. And on the even more rare occasion of a twin hatching, they almost always need help from their humans. You will never witness a broody hatching out a multiple! She'll either kick the egg out of the nest long before the 21 days are up, or she'll eat it outright. She knows it doesn't have a hope in Hades! There simply isn't enough room inside of an egg for two! [​IMG]

    As for how to keep the eggs from becoming fouled with feces in the first place.....it sounds like you've taken nearly every step you can to assure that the eggs have a clean area to be laid. What you haven't mentioned is how many laying girls you have, how many nest boxes you have, and how often you are collecting the eggs. This will all have an impact on the quality of the environment in which the egg is deposited.

    I can't speak for others, but for myself, this is my typical daily routine. I collect all eggs first thing in the morning that were laid in the wee small hours. Yes, I always have hens that delight in being very secretive with their egg laying and will only do it under the cover of darkness. [​IMG] Next, I go through each and every nest box and sift out any piles, clumps or pieces of poo that I encounter. Come on! It's just poo! Do you have children? Do you not remember cleaning up dirty diapers? Personally, I'd rather clean up after chickens! TYVM! It's much smaller and doesn't stink anywhere near as bad as a human bowel movement! [​IMG] Anyhow, after doing the collecting and the cleaning, I will upon occasion, refill the nest boxes with shavings as needed. This helps to keep the litter deep enough to cushion the eggs in between total coop cleanings. The daily cleanings assure that the environment is the very best that I can make it for my girls.

    You're always going to get dirty eggs from time to time, no matter how clean you keep your coop, or their outside environment. And the more chickens you have, the more likely you are to get the odd dirty egg here and there. It's just a fact of nature!

    I hope this advice has been more of a help than a hindrance to you. Good luck with all of your future egg collecting. And just remember: What doesn't kill us, simply makes us stronger! The trick is in avoiding those things that will kill you!! [​IMG]

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