Washing eggs...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by hodor, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. hodor

    hodor Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    9
    58
    Nov 6, 2015
    Australia
    I have read that you should wash/clean eggs before incubating them. Today I read something saying they have a natural protective coating (?wax) and that you shouldn't wash them, this was written about duck eggs and not chicken however.

    So, should you clean both, neither or are they different?
     
  2. pa2chitown

    pa2chitown Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    7
    51
    Nov 28, 2015
    You should not clean them. They have a natural antibiotic. Washing can also clog pores, if material gets forced/rubbed into the pores.

    Try not to incubate dirty eggs because they can introduce bacteria.

    If you have to incubate dirty eggs, more than just a small spot or two, i would gently clean rather than putting a really dirty egg(s) into the incubator, in my opinion.
     
  3. HatchCraft

    HatchCraft Chillin' With My Peeps

    203
    17
    103
    Jan 15, 2011
    North Florida
    The great washing debate. I would say most don't wash their eggs as to preserve the bloom. I Sanitize mine in a solution of Tek-Trol disinfectant mixed with warm water. The solution is warmed a little over 100 degs and the eggs just soak about 60 seconds or so. This will remove most of the bacterial colonies from the shell of an unsoiled egg. I watched a video of a commercial pheasant breeder that uses a machine that vigorously scrubs the eggs with no attempt to preserve the bloom. In an article for the commercial chicken industry I learned for egg sanitizing to be truly effective it must be performed shortly after the egg is laid and before it cools. When the egg initially cool the contents contract creating a vacuum which draws in air and potential bacterial contaminates through the porous egg shell creating the air cell. That why washing after the air cell is formed may not be very effective. I just don't like Idea of setting eggs crawling with bacteria in my clean incubator as the incubator provides an ideal environment for them to multiply. Unfortunately, I have little experience with waterfowl and that may be completely different. Never set really soiled eggs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2015
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    19,563
    7,553
    546
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    HC, interesting debate. IMO, no right or wrong... dependent on hatch results. Can you tell me what your hatch rate is, what you're using for an incubator? I will say that I don't usually wash my eggs. (last hatch 22/23 eggs that made it to lock down) I don't set eggs with more than a tiny shade of dirt on them either. Have read a study that eggs soaked in Ascorbic acid prior to set had improved hatch rate, presumably associated with vitamin absorption through the shell. Now, if those eggs hatched at a better rate, (I'm assuming that the vit C did disrupt the bloom) that kind of blows the "never wash eggs" theory out of the water. (pun intended)
     
  5. pa2chitown

    pa2chitown Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    7
    51
    Nov 28, 2015
    Hi,

    If you do NOT introduce any bacteria to the eggs, when washing, and use an established protocol that doesn't clog pores, the "bloom" is not important.
    I think the trouble will arise if you wash the eggs, and then introduce bacteria or clog things up.

    The point is: No bacteria. No problems.

    Interesting point about the Vit C.. If it makes it through the porous shell and two membranes, AND is absorbed into the vasculature?? ...also, it could crystallize in the pores? Maybe the crystalization allowed O2 to enter by increasing the air space between shell and outer membrane? How recent in the study? It sounds like it could open the door for other aspects related to introducing small molecules into an egg prior to hatch?
     
  6. HatchCraft

    HatchCraft Chillin' With My Peeps

    203
    17
    103
    Jan 15, 2011
    North Florida
    I have not set any eggs recently as I am not keeping chickens at this time.Historically, using my own eggs, my hatch rate runs 85% to 90% of fertile eggs set. I'm talking chicken egg. Quail egg around 70% to 80% of all eggs set. The quality of the eggs set makes all the difference in hatch rate. Genetics , breeder flock health , nutrition etc. I make cabinet incubators and hatcher so I use equipment of my own design and construction. I don't necessarily like comparing what we do as backyard breeders to what the big commercial breeders do, but I am interested in the techniques they employ. They completely remove the protective egg cuticle during washing and rely on the residual antibacterial properties of the ammonium quaternary egg wash to protect hatching eggs. I haven't read anything about using ascorbic acid on hatching eggs yet.
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    19,563
    7,553
    546
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    It was a weak solution, so there would be no crystalization. The premise was that viability was increased simply by addition of the extra vitamin. This led me to my experiment of giving extra vitamins to my birds prior to collecting eggs for hatch. It ended up being a difficult hatch, IMO b/c the chicks grew too big and there were a lot of mal-positions. I hatched 19/24, as I recall. It was a fairly recent study.
     
  8. pa2chitown

    pa2chitown Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    7
    51
    Nov 28, 2015
    Hmmm. you had too many Popeye's? [​IMG]

    When I say "crystallize" i'm just referring to the vit C after the solution dries. If the solution worked its way through the eggs pores (easy enough) and
    dried around the inner opening of the poor, theoretically it could open the space and allow MORE oxygen to enter. Obviously, not by clogging the poor but by opening the space between the egg pore and the inner membrane. Bacteria can invade but Vitamins have to go though a lot of "passive" transport to get to the vasculature and be absorbed. Just thinking out loud.
     
  9. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    19,563
    7,553
    546
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    Yeah, Popeye's don't do too well when it comes to fighting their way out of the spinnach can. Ok, got it. Can't imagine any crystalization going on, but... who am I to say. I never did a repeat of that experiment, choosing to go the direct route by giving vitamins to the chickens instead, figuring that they would pre-filter anything going to the eggs. BTW, I had Poultry Nutridrench on hand, but instead used regular multi-vit, giving the equivalent of 1/2 tab mixed in feed to serve 16 hens. (Chose that route b/c I wanted to use something that more people would be likely to have on hand.) I'm guessing that the vit C would be very easily absorbed by all of the membranes in question. But, again... just guessing here.
     
  10. pa2chitown

    pa2chitown Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    7
    51
    Nov 28, 2015
    I did a quick search and found something very interesting regarding Vit C and O2.
    Quote: The study concluded that internally, increased O2 decreased Vit C transport from the blood. It seems that Vit C detoxifies, but excess O2 overcomes the need?
    Quote: I should just look at the article you referenced, but it seems like 02 would be more likely to produce the results than the Vit C, in an intact egg development...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by