Why no washing/disinfecting eggs?

kathyinmo

Nothing In Moderation
10 Years
May 14, 2009
24,538
307
426
(SW MO) Nevada, Missouri
My Coop
My Coop
Quote:What you're doing is very close to the way the commercial hatcheries do and you seem to be having similar success. Which is what I would expect. insert little mental happy-jumping dude.

Anybody can incubate any way they want, but I hate to see people being warned against washing when it not only doesn't hurt but could help a lot.

Very interesting! I am gonna have to consider this, for sure.
Thanks for this thread!
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,677
885
436
Syracuse, NY
Allow me to weigh in.

Lord knows I read far too much about chickens, eggs and health and I am not a fan of blanket statements such as "its a myth that backyard flocks don't have salmonella", without siting where this information came from. That said I subscribe to Back yard poultry magazine and after the recent outbreak of salmonella in the news, the author of an article had her birds tested and found she did not have salmonella in her flock. Unfortunately I can not keep every issue or I'd have no room for chickens. Lord have mercy! So I can not site the issue though it would have been in one of the last two. One thing is certain, salmonella can be prevented or at least the risk held to a minimum by proper husbandry.

Now as far as washing eggs, I suggest an experiment, in a setting of washed and unwashed eggs. MY last hatch yielded 25/25 chicks. 5 of those eggs I had washed and only 3 of those had viable embryos on day 8. I can't say how many of those hatched due to the fact that I took them out of the turner and they were lost in the shuffle. 4 of these 25 chicks that hatched did have to be culled for problems. Whether it was due to heredity or something else I don't know. There are so many variables to hatching it would take a whole library to hold all the research needed to say what and why eggs don't hatch. The recent issue of Practical poultry states that age can decrease the hatchabilty rate in hens older than three years. Since I have 4 of such hens it may have been that or the washed eggs, or the gene pool or, or, or maybe the momma hen didn't show them enough love. Sorry please excuse my sense of humor.

Now as far as hatcheries go, videos I have seen show the attendant pulling out a drawer and there seem to be alot of unhatched eggs. Knowing the business end of things, I know that hatcheries can afford to set millions of eggs and toss alot of unhatched eggs and still make a profit. My point being yes they wash their eggs but that doesn't mean they are getting better hatches than you are at home. I am basing, of course my opinion, on videos I have seen, not specific research. I had one hen hatch 2/2 this time last year and hatch in the dead of winter, below zero temps. Either she never got off to eat and poop or there was a secret heater I couldn't see in the nest box and I did find pizza delivery boxes in the coop. (sorry) I did feed her bits of bread on occasion. (There are some who don't think it's ok to give chickens bread btw).

Finally just FYI a recent reading of the Alberta site, gave information about an outbreak of AI in a hatchery in the Manitoba area and possibly more than one. This resulted in a government conducted and overseeing of a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the hatchery. It seems to me whether it is beneficial or not to wash eggs hatched in an incubator is entirely an personal one, though I have never witnessed any of my broody hens washing her eggs before commencing to brood them. When I do maybe then I consider washing her eggs too.


Wishing us all successful hatches whether washed or unwashed.

Rancher
 

HHandbasket

The Chickeneer
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
3,319
41
241
El Dorado County, California
Quote:I've never hatched any eggs myself, but when I have such a query, it all comes down to this for me: How on earth did the species ever propagate itself before humans stepped in with their egg washers and electric hatching equipment? Do chickens disinfect their eggs in the nest?

Again, take this all as it is because I don't hatch eggs, so perhaps there are different requirements when using artificial (man-made) incubation and hatching equipment. Having read the pros and cons that others have posted here, though, there is certainly a lot to think about should the time come for me to ever decide to try hatching some of our own chicks! Thanks for posting this question & I am enjoying reading everyone's thoughts on both sides.
Just another reason to love BYC.
 

BlacksheepCardigans

Songster
9 Years
Oct 11, 2010
507
44
139
Southeast NH
When the species was propagating itself without human intervention, it was without human intervention.

In other words, you can't say "Well, hens don't wash their eggs," because jungle fowl hens don't live in 4 square feet and step on other birds' poop and have no ability to choose a "virgin" nest spot. The way we keep them is the reason they're exposed to so much bacteria. We can't change all the things we change and then expect their natural defenses, which were never designed to be effective against that kind of concentration of bacteria, to work.
 

BlacksheepCardigans

Songster
9 Years
Oct 11, 2010
507
44
139
Southeast NH
Quote:There are MANY studies that show salmonella in backyard flocks. That shouldn't surprise us, since salmonella is everywhere.

http://www.jstor.org/pss/4099148 is one study, but if you look at these search results you'll see that it's everywhere, all over the world. Salmonella and chickens go together.

Now as far as hatcheries go, videos I have seen show the attendant pulling out a drawer and there seem to be alot of unhatched eggs. Knowing the business end of things, I know that hatcheries can afford to set millions of eggs and toss alot of unhatched eggs and still make a profit. My point being yes they wash their eggs but that doesn't mean they are getting better hatches than you are at home.

Hatchability in commercial facilities is around 90% for broilers and I believe somewhat higher (93-94) for layers. All are on "shipped" eggs, since the commercial broiler and layer strains are bred in different facilities and then trucked to the hatchery. So they do, on average, seem to be doing better than we are.​
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,677
885
436
Syracuse, NY
Quote:There are MANY studies that show salmonella in backyard flocks. That shouldn't surprise us, since salmonella is everywhere.

http://www.jstor.org/pss/4099148 is one study, but if you look at these search results you'll see that it's everywhere, all over the world. Salmonella and chickens go together.

Now as far as hatcheries go, videos I have seen show the attendant pulling out a drawer and there seem to be alot of unhatched eggs. Knowing the business end of things, I know that hatcheries can afford to set millions of eggs and toss alot of unhatched eggs and still make a profit. My point being yes they wash their eggs but that doesn't mean they are getting better hatches than you are at home.

Hatchability in commercial facilities is around 90% for broilers and I believe somewhat higher (93-94) for layers. All are on "shipped" eggs, since the commercial broiler and layer strains are bred in different facilities and then trucked to the hatchery. So they do, on average, seem to be doing better than we are.​

I disagree with all your statements, but of course you are entitled to believe what you want.

Rancher
 

HHandbasket

The Chickeneer
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
3,319
41
241
El Dorado County, California
Quote:You make a number of valid points that I had not considered. Thank you.


That's why we come here and have these discussions--there is always something to be learned from another person's experiences.

Oftentimes in this day and age, however, even in modern henhouses, chickens do propagate without human intervention and without washed eggs. Just more food for thought.
I guess one would definitely have to take various factors into consideration, as you mentioned, with chicken poo and other bacteria being brought in on their feet, etc.

I'm glad you responded. Gives me lots to consider. DH is making all kinds of noise about getting brooders and bators/hatchers, etc. I'm not lettin' it happen until we have more space, either way. We are at capacity here now as it is.
 

BlacksheepCardigans

Songster
9 Years
Oct 11, 2010
507
44
139
Southeast NH
Quote:Oh, absolutely they do. I'm not saying that no eggs hatch or anything like that.

What I'm saying is that we seem to have certain "rules" or assumptions - like don't wash hatching eggs, or a 50% hatch is what you should expect - that don't stand up to the science. Why should we be OK with a 50% hatch? Why shouldn't we be trying to push it higher? Why are we OK with so many early and late deaths? The commercial egg industry, which is far from perfect, does do us a huge favor because it researches EVERYTHING. Millions and millions of dollars go in to maximizing hatchability and minimizing transmission of disease from generation to generation. We who have backyard flocks, it seems to me, should be using every bit of that to our advantage. It's free and available and why not use it. We have the huge privilege of being able to keep our chickens in reasonable conditions, which they can't do, but sometimes I think we assume that because our birds are not in a giant breeder building we can ignore everything else. Just pick up the dirty egg off the floor and throw it in the incubator, as though because the poop is in our backyard it's not poop anymore. Receive dirty eggs from across the country and incubate them in un-santizeable styrofoam, as though that feather stuck to the egg you just got through the mail can't possibly have Marek's because you saw a picture of their coop on photobucket.

I am about the least germ-phobic person in the world, when it comes to normal use. I WOULD crack the floor egg into a pan and cook it. I'm talking specifically about incubating/hatching, and about the oft-repeated rules like "as long as you don't wash off the bloom you'll be fine."
 

HHandbasket

The Chickeneer
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
3,319
41
241
El Dorado County, California
Lots of good things to consider when the time comes for us to engage in hatching and raising chicks.


I agree, I think we should go into this with the intent to hatch as many healthy birds as possible... I also agree in that I don't think a 50% hatch should be acceptable, but then again, I am only learning at this point.

I'm very grateful for whomever started this thread and for all the people who have responded. I had never even thought about whether or not to wash hatching eggs, but I'm sure it is something that would have come up when we ARE ready to try hatching. At the present time, we do not wash the eggs we eat until it is time to eat them, though I will gently wipe them off with a dry paper towel before putting them in the fridge--and I have gotten OUT of the habit of reusing my egg cartons for that very reason. We are now using compostable egg cartons anyway. Besides, the eggs are never around long enough to get old or go bad.
 

deerman

Rest in Peace 1949-2012
11 Years
Aug 24, 2008
9,491
63
293
Southern Ohio
Ok main thing clean nest boxes , healthy brood stock disease free , worm free...set only clean eggs....yes disinfect , but i dont use soap or anything .


Why does so many think the big hatchery are doing thing wrong....yes most get in the 90% and better. no its not shipped eggs per say, they pick up and truck the eggs themself...BIG different than going thru the mail. Hear all these crazy thing about hatching eggs...lot of bull like eggs can't be layed on their sides....disinfection eggs does help......

Hear people talking about 100 % hatch rate....then find out it was 10 eggs wow.. get a 100% hatch on 200 eggs that was placed in the incubater. not after candled. That may prove something.
 
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