Cleaning Eggs - a simple job
If you're raising hens, you'll eventually be cleaning eggs because eggs don't always come out clean, and they certainly don't stay clean if you leave them in the nests for a day or so.
Cleaning chicken eggs can by done by hand, or you can make yourself an automatic egg cleaner. If you're trying to clean several dozen at a time, an egg cleaner works well.
If you're only cleaning a dozen or so at a time, washing by hand is much easier and faster.
Sometimes you'll find poop, blood, or dried yolk on your chicken eggs. This is because sometimes:
- the hens will use the nests as homes and toilets as well as nest boxes
- laying an egg can be a painful and bloody "stretch" for the hen, but not very often
- weak shells, high traffic and hungry hens can break eggs
Thankfully, eggs are easy to clean. Here is the process.
The first step for cleaning eggs is to rinse them with cold water. You can see that these eggs are relatively dirty. In addition to poop, there is probably some mud on these eggs as the girls don't mind walking all over them.
Gently massage them all around under a trickle of cold water. Hold them like they were a wind up egg timer in the shape of an egg. "Wind up" one end several times while you let the other end slip through your hands with gentle pressure that removes the debris. Turn the egg around and do the same to the other end, then give it a final rinse and set it aside to dry.
You'll be able to feel when the egg still has debris on it that needs to be removed. Sometimes a little fingernail action is required when cleaning eggs to remove stubborn dried-on gunk.
As shown on the right, place the eggs on a clean rag or towel to air dry. You might have to run a drying towel over the top of them to remove excess moisture.
For especially dirty eggs, you might soak them for a while in cold water before cleaning them. You can also use a little bit of dish soap to help lift the dirt off of them. One drop of dish soap lathered up on your hands should be sufficient for cleaning eggs a few at a time before going for more soap.
On the left you'll notice a white egg with stains. This is attributable in part to the environment and the texture of the shell. You don't see this type of staining on eggs in the store because those chickens are raised in commercial environments that are clean.
Commercial eggs are created in cages and pens and other enclosures that keep them out of the mud and other natural sources of dirt.
The stains don't look nice, but it can't be helped. You might schedule these type of eggs to be used at the next opportunity so you aren't storing them. Stains represent something unclean, so instead of tossing it, just use it soon instead of putting it in longer term storage.
Note: If the eggs are cold, let them warm up for a couple of hours before you run cold water over them, otherwise they might crack.
After cleaning eggs, dry them and then put them away in cartons in the refrigerator.
Done with Cleaning Eggs, take me back to Backyard Chickens