Do I need to worry more about coop cleanliness?


9 Years
Oct 3, 2010
Newcomer to the forum. Please forgive me if this has already been covered. I have kept laying hens almost all my life. Hens run in barn, peck around in cows and mules waste for undigested grain. There are certainly mice, rats and roaches in the barn. I make sure the eggs we eat are fresh and I wash them well, but (until recently) never really worried about the lack of maintaining a sanitary environment for my layers. Now with all the talk about the salmonella thing and the discussion in the papers about the fact that there were insects, manure, and rodents in proximity to the layers and the implications of all that, I am compelled to rethink my rather laid back approach to the subject. I have never gotten sick from a bad egg but I do give eggs to some more elderly people who may have reduced immune capacity. And my daughter is on chemo and has very little immunity presently. I would welcome thoughts on whether I need to get more serious about making sure my hens live in a more sanitary environment. Thanks.
I don't have the answers to all your questions, but remember that the samonella outbreak happens in bird trapped in tiny cages, in their own filth with poor immune systems. If your birds are healthy and your eggs clean, I would imagine that your eggs are much better than store eggs. That being said, I would probably still make sure they have some clean places to go lay their eggs.
First of all, if you cook all eggs thoroughly (no runny yolks, etc.), all eggs are safe to eat even for people with compromised immune systems. Be careful about cross contamination issues too. Wash your hands after coming in from the barn before you touch anything else, leave your shoes at the door, etc. Wash your hands after cracking the eggshells and before you touch any other foods. These are just good, standard food handling practices.

After saying that, your own chickens are much less likely to be salmonella carriers than the eggs for sale at the grocery store. You probably don't have millions of gallons (yes, you read that right) of poultry manure festering out next to your barn, and I'll bet your barnyard isn't littered with the decomposing carcasses of dead animals. That's how bad things were at the poultry farms at the center of this recent recall.

The scale of production is just mind boggling. The DeCosters outfit produced 2.3 million dozen eggs...a week. That's a lot of chickens crammed together in unsanitary conditions.
Your chickens are probably just fine. Like the above posters said, their conditions in egg "farms" is deplorable, and it sounds like your chickens are living normal happy and natural lives. I would never eat any egg raw though, no matter where it came from!
I agree. all my birds have space and can go outdoors. I think battery cages are petri dishes and breed bacteria. I also believe happy birds are laying birds. That's just my opinion, but even my quail are all in cages with access to fresh air. I think fresh air and ventilation go a long way toward keeping disease to a minimum. I think these diseases are a result of poor hygiene.
First of all --
-- glad you are here.

I am of two minds when it comes to cleanliness -- I like things to be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy. That said, I think a barn should be clean enough to where the animals are not wallowing in feces if the daily chores go undone a day or two. They can't clean up after themselves and count on us to keep them safe, disease-free and comfortable. The food we put out for our animals should be safe and ready to consume -- for this reason I think all feed should be closed up and tightly capped. (rodent poop was in the feed of the infected poultry facilities.)

As for washing eggs -- I am of the understanding that washing eggs can force bacteria into the egg via it's pores. What I've read on here suggests wiping of the egg with a dry cloth if necessary, otherwise it's fine. Occasionally an egg with slip into the poop and need a bit of wiping from a damp towel, but not aggressive cleaning. If the nest box is poopy then cleanliness is next on the list of things to do.

Better conditions are better for animals and people alike -- if people stop by your place to buy eggs, they are more likely to become regular customers and to tell friends all about you (in a good way) if your barnyard is considered clean and healthy. From that point of view, cleanliness is a marketing tool.

These, of course, are just my opinions and... everybody's got an opinion.

But again,
, glad you're here,
Couldn't of said it better!

ETA: Ooops!!
Glad you're here! Sounds like you have a lot of practical knowledge to share too. Lot's of great people on this forum, I hope you stick around.
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