How to collect and clean chicken eggs
It’s not quite as simple as just going to the nesting boxes and collecting the eggs each day. Here are a few tips to save time and keep the eggs clean.
1. Find out what time the last chicken lays her egg. For me, most of the girls lay in the mid-morning, but I have one that lays around lunch, so I go out after lunch to do all the collecting. The benefit is that you get all the eggs in one outing, and you don’t leave any eggs overnight for rodents or snakes. Also, you don’t want your chickens pecking at the eggs, and becoming egg eaters. They do love to eat the eggs if they develop a taste for them.
2. It’s a good idea to keep the nesting boxes clean. My coop actually has a convenient system that has the nesting boxes partitioned, with a slanted floor that allows the eggs to roll under to keep them clean and away from the chickens. It uses an artificial turf type plastic mat floor that is easily removable, so you can shake it out to clean. The traditional method is just using straw for bedding, and changing the bedding as needed.
3. Sometimes the chickens will lay in the run, or in other areas of the coop you don’t want. I had a few issues now and again, until I placed a wooden egg in each box. They got the picture, and put the eggs where I wanted after that. I just got a couple of cheap wooden eggs, and drilled a hole through them, and zip tied them to my nesting box mats. This way they don’t roll under like regular eggs do. You can just place one in traditional nesting box setups.
4. After you collect the eggs, you will want to inspect them for dirt and manure. The best way to clean them is to use a very light scouring pad that will gently scrape away any dirt. If you wash them with water, it can get bacteria into the egg, especially if you use cold water, because washing eggs will also wash off the natural protective bloom. The bloom’s function is to seal in moisture and seal out bacteria. An egg is actually clean when it comes out of the chicken. It gets dirty, by being stepped on, pooped on, or just a dirty nest. So keep your nest clean, wipe off your eggs, and don’t wash them with water.
5. Finally, they are ready for the refrigerator. I use regular egg cartons from neighbors for storage. I typically will use and re-use the container for about 3 weeks or until it gets dirty, then I toss it and get a new one. The fat end of the egg should be placed up in the carton.
Nesting box can be accessed from outside Eggs on removable mats
Egg collection basket and light scouring pad
***By the way the color of the eggshell makes absolutely no difference to the taste of the egg.