Caring for Your Eggs

January 2, 2012
caring for eggs
From the brown egg on bottom clockwise: eggs from Tilly, Oyster Cracker, Dolly, Fifi and Feathers
One of my favorite things is discovering freshly laid eggs in the nesting boxes.  It never seems to grow old.  Each egg is a gift from the girls.  In fact, if you pay close enough attention, you will soon be able to discover which hen has laid which egg.  Freshly laid eggs not only taste better but last longer if cared for properly.  Happy hens not only lay more consistently but also lay better eggs.  This starts with ensuring they have a safe place to lay their eggs, have access to layer food, fresh water and calcium.

You should get in the habit of checking for eggs at least twice a day; in the morning and afternoon.  This helps to keep the eggs intact and clean.  It also prevents hens from egg eating and can discourage broodiness.
Clean eggs should not be washed.  Prior to being laid, the hen coats the egg with a “bloom”.  The bloom is a protective antimicrobial coating that helps to keep the eggs fresher by preventing air from entering the egg.  The bloom also aids in keeping bacteria from entering through the porous egg shell.  If the eggs are badly soiled, they should be cleaned.  Do not immerse the eggs in water.  The water temperature should be at least 10 degrees warmer than the egg and constantly flowing.  This prevents bacteria from being pulled into the egg through the shell.  Be sure to quickly clean and dry each egg using the above technique.  Commercially available wipes are also available and specifically formulated to clean eggs.
Clean eggs should be refrigerated promptly and kept between the temperatures of 33 degrees F to 45 degrees F to prevent bacterial growth.  Egg should never be stored near any food that give off strong odors.  It is possible that the eggs can absorb the odor and the flavor of the egg will be affected.
If you are selling your eggs, here are a few federal regulations to be aware of:
~Eggs must be sold in clean, unused cartons.
~Eggs must be labeled with the following statement:

     “SAFE HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated, cook eggs until yolk are firm, and cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.”

~The carton must display the packed on date or the sell by date.  The “sell by date” is 30 days after the packing date.
~Displays a grading statement based on your personal preferences
~Packaging must also include the seller’s name, address and phone number
~All lettering should be 3/16″ or larger
You can choose to grade and size your eggs or not.  If you are like me and do not grade or size your eggs, then your carton should state “Not graded, Not sized” or “Nest Run”.  Grading is done by candling and sizing is done by weight.  You can find more information about sizing and grading your eggs here and here.
Finally, stating that your eggs are organic is not permissible unless you have officially been certified organic.  This is an incredibly rigorous process and if you are interested in becoming organically certified you can look here to start.  We label our eggs as “organically fed”.
Selling your eggs is a great way to meet people, meet a demand in your community and teach children about math and running a small business.  It is also a great way to turn people on to keeping a flock of backyard chickens for themselves.  This happens all the time after people taste the difference between store bought eggs and eggs that come from happy backyard chickens.
Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest
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Melissa

Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.

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33 thoughts on “Caring for Your Eggs”

  1. Oh, thanks for the pointers are SELLING eggs. When the hens start laying 6-7 eggs per day the kids hope to begin selling a few dozens each week. (We only need about 1 dozen for our use.) It's good to know what should be on the cartons to sell!

    Reply
  2. Thanks Kelsie! I am so glad you stopped in! I admit that I sometimes recycle clean egg cartons too for the eggs I use in my own home or I keep them in a large mixing bowl in the fridge.

    Reply
  3. Congratulations!

    We're actually quite fortunate to have a large barckyard. Chickens can freely roam around the place and we can pick out some of their fresh eggs whenever we need some for breakfast.

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  4. Thank you so much to rugosarosefarm, Auto Detail Doctor, The Literary Lioness, Elia Gwamaka, Callie Brady, Natasha, Ile Odarod! I am so glad that you stopped by! I hope you will continue to follow our journey and maybe start one of your own 🙂

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  5. I love reading about your chickens. If I lived in the country I would have chickens too. Have you seen the chicken "hen"bag? I think of you everytime I see it.

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  6. Is that really true about those federal regulations? I plan on selling my eggs, I have many egg cartons, and in an effort to be eco friendy I planned on repacking those egg cartons, and offering a discount to those who brought their own cartons…

    Reply
    • Hi there, unfortunately the USDA does not recommend recycling egg cartons for a few reasons. These include the possibility of
      being sued. All identifying data from the original egg carton's farm and egg information must be removed. If left on, it could be considered false advertising.
      Bacteria can spread to your eggs by reusing cartons.
      Each state varies on it's opinions/laws of recycling egg cartons. Most require new cartons. The USDA also recommends new.

      Reply
  7. Came across your post a couplr of years later. Just wanted to thankyou for sharing. My dad owns 50+ chickens here in Mexico and I hace to clean the eggs.

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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.