Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Egg-spert Egg Handling

When purchased from the store, the eggs are all pristine, packaged in containers and ready to buy and take home.  We put them in the refrigerator and think nothing more about them.  When you have hens, like we do, its a totally different matter.  Besides the normal chicken chores, I have to go out each day and collect the eggs.  I do check twice a day, and the girls are generally finished laying by around 3pm around here.  Each young hen can lay once every 22-24 hr period, and as they get older, they may only produce 3 or 4 eggs a week.  And no, they don't all lay their egg first thing in the morning!  That would be way too easy and predictable for their handlers!
Vintage Egg Grader
Eggs come propelling out of the hen because of a thin coating called "bloom", which is natures way of helping to make egg laying more comfortable for the hen.  It is slick when the egg is ready to pop out, and it also protects the egg from dirt and germs.  It quickly dries as the egg is sitting in the nest box and completely encases the egg.  Sometimes wood shavings or straw will stick to the egg when I lift it up, and all I have to do is brush it off and put the egg in the refrigerator.  Other times, if the hens are settling in the nest box, their feet might be a little dirty; as they leave the nest and brush against the egg, it might get soiled.  Again, I brush off the egg and it's okay to refrigerate.  If the soiling doesn't come off readily, I can use slight pressure with sandpaper.  Sometimes, the egg might need to be cleaned with water, which quickly washes off the "bloom".  At times like that, the "bloom" should be replaced with something, and I will warm food grade mineral oil and wipe the clean egg down, and remove the excess oil; the egg is now protected from germs again.
Pullets "belly-up" to the bar!
If you choose to wash your chicken eggs, use water closest to the same temperature as the egg.  Colder water can push the germs to enter the egg, thereby contaminating it, so use care when handling those eggs.

Have a Happy Day -
the Chicken Wrangler


^..^Corgidogmama said...

I'll be darned....this is very interesting. You're tutoring us, maybe this will encourage more of us to take the plunge and raise eggs.

varunner said...

We don't wash ours either. I do lightly write the date on the bottom of the eggs in pencil. I'm always going so many directions that I'm afraid we'd end up w/ an egg that was a year old if I didn't keep track of them, lol.
For some reason, our chickens like to lay later in the day. It's not unusual to hear one laying as late as 5 pm around here. Strange birds!

Becky K. said...

I never thought to put oil on the eggs after we wash them. We wash ours just before they go into the fridge, otherwise I leave them out for hours or even up to a day on the counter. Once washed they don't keep as well, though.

Becky K.

Jane said...

I always learn so much whenever I come to visit your blog. Before arriving on your blog, the most I knew about eggs was how to scramble, poach, and hard boil!


Jane said...

I always learn so much whenever I come to visit your blog. Before arriving on your blog, the most I knew about eggs was how to scramble, poach, and hard boil!


Chatty Crone said...

We all should be eating only organic eggs from people/farmers like YOU! sandie

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Sweetie...
You have an egg scale. I have so always wanted one. I keep looking, so if you see any around let me know. I don't want to pay a fortune for one, I just want it because Grandma always had eggs, and it is for memories most of all. I love it.

Love the girls today. They sure are happy. Just look at them.

Thanks for the lesson today about Bloom. I had no idea, and I love a lesson. I guess we ate ours so fast at Grandma's we never worried about it. (I know I didn't have to. Grandma did I am sure.)

Oh thanks for the visit today. I so enjoyed myself as usual sweetie. You are a doll face. Many thanks and so much love, Sherry

kim said...

We usually wash ours in cool water, thanks for letting us know about the oil.

Angela said...

Hey Chicken Wrangler!

I learned something new today! I thought you had to wash them and them put them in the frig!


Debbie said...

Our eggs never lasted long enough to worry about the germs. When hubby was competing in body building, he ate a dozen egg whites a day! Good thing we had lots of laying hens!