Having chickens means you will get eggs. Since chickens are not the cleanest animals on the planet, you will get dirty eggs. That means you will be spending time washing chicken eggs.
But, what is the best way of washing chicken eggs? How do you safely clean them? Or does it really matter?
Let’s start with the egg being freshly laid. When the chicken lays the egg, it is laid with a protective layer over the shell called the “bloom”. This bloom would protect the developing chick from outside bacteria from entering and destroying it. This is nature’s way of keeping the egg fresh as well.
The best way to keep the egg fresh is to make sure the nesting boxes are kept as clean as possible. That may mean weekly, or even daily, adding of fresh bedding and removal of soiled materials from nesting boxes. Our chickens used to try and roost in the nesting boxes, dropping manure in them all night long. We had to cover the nesting boxes up at night when the chickens went to bed to keep them from doing that.
If you have a soiled egg that you want to use right away, you can easily run it under a bit of cool water with a soft towel and remove manure that way. The easiest way is to gently run the egg under the water, run the towel over the dirt and gently wipe away.
If you want to store the eggs for a bit, and they are not that dirty, it’s best to leave them be until you get ready to use them. This is especially true if you store them on the counter. The bloom will remain intact, protecting the egg. If you wash the eggs off with water, you will want to put them in the fridge to store. This is because the water will wash the bloom off, leaving the porous shell open to bacteria entering.
Another way of washing eggs from your chickens is by using the “dry” method. This is often a fine grit sandpaper that is gently used to remove dirt and manure from the egg. You want to use the finest grit you can find. Too rough and it can open the shell and allow bacteria in. Gently rub back and forth until the dirt is gone.
You can also use the way of washing chicken eggs by using egg cleaning cloths.(affiliate) They are useful for smaller flocks that may have trouble keeping nesting boxes clean. This happened more often when we had smaller tractors for our coop versus the larger barn type coop.
Some other things to keep in mind when washing eggs:
- If the shell is cracked in any way, it’s best to not use the egg. Compost completely.
- If the shell remains greatly discolored after washing, it may be best to feed the egg (cooked) to your dog or cat.
- If you wonder if the egg is fresh, float in a bowl of cool water. If it sinks to the bottom laying flat, it’s fresh. If it “tilts” on it’s side, but remains on the bottom, it’s safe to use only if cooked thoroughly first. If it “bobs” on the surface of the water, compost the egg. Do NOT feed it to your animals, as it may not be safe.
What methods do you use for washing eggs? Do you prefer the “wet” or “dry” methods? Be sure to pin this for later!