The other day I saw geoff Lawton washing eggs in one of his videos. We've never washed our eggs. I might want to start selling eggs next year, which is another can of worms, but I'd probably want to wash them if we were to do that.
I'm surprised Geoff washes them! The eggs come out of the chicken wet (perhaps you've seen this) and that wetness is an anti-bacterial coating. If you wash them, you wash off that special protection. When I give them away I do explain to people why I don't wash them.
Selling probably involves rules specific to your locale and you'll have to look them up.
My project thread Agriculture collects solar energy two-dimensionally; but silviculture collects it three dimensionally.
Location: CT zone 5b
posted 4 years ago
Right. I know about the bloom, which is why I've never washed them. I think you can see him washing them in the chicken tractor on steroids video.
When we give eggs to friends or family, we also explain why they're not washed. My parents are freaked out by it, but no one else seems to care.
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
posted 4 years ago
We buy eggs from a variety of local individuals.........I don't think anyone washes except the person who takes them to the feed store to sell. Here it is whatever you and your customer are comfortable with. This state stays out of 'cottage industry' here for the most part. I prefer no big blobs of poop and feathers and straw attached. We have a couple who sell there eggs that way and use the 'but you are not supposed to wash them' as an excuse I think others at least wipe off the excess. I prefer unwashed but also ungarnished........when we had chickens I thought it was pretty easy to keep the laying nests clean and the eggs fairly poop free.
I think the whole unwashed egg issue was more important back when folks were trying to keep eggs much longer than they do now. The egg shell is more permeable with change in temperature I thought, so that if you have cold eggs that have condensation on the surface in a warmer place and then some poop on the surface, I always wondered if that was entering the egg? It didn't make me not eat the egg....just wondered???
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
My hens have a few customers so I've got it worked out like this:
I keep the nests clean and dry. During wet weather I lay down some extra shavings or hay in front of the coop and nests so they can dry their feet before they go to lay. Any eggs that are poopy I keep for home use. Usually I wash them as I need them. All other eggs are not washed. Eggs don't last long around here so I almost never refrigerate them unless the weather is really hot and humid. Anything that gets frozen in winter or cracked is immediately designated as pig food.
I'm realizing from all your comments that I have an added complication- one duck lives with our chickens. Being a duck, she likes to get the eggs wet. They're often really poppy when I collect the eggs. In the spring we're planning to completely change things, and separate the species.
Are the nest boxes on the ground? My chickens like to lay in boxes that are up off the ground a few feet even though they have some boxes that are right on the ground. My ducks haven't begun to lay yet but I was under the assumption that they layed in nests on the ground and wouldn't bother trying to get into a nest off the ground. I have Cayuga ducks and they are very inclined to stay grounded. Too fat to fly... even a little. Any way, you may try adding some boxes up higher if you don't have some already. The ducks and chickens might separate themselves accordingly and solve your muddy egg issue.
My problem us I built the coop before I ever got the chickens. Followed some plans I found online. The nest boxes are too small for my silver laced wyandottes. And are about 12" from the floor of the coop.
The wyandottes have always laid on the floor. When we got a couple other breeds- one here, one there- they just laid where the wyandottes did. Then when we got the duck, she was too fat to fly, and she lays first (before daylight) and so they all egg dump in the same floor nest. It makes collecting eggs a pain.
When I get a chance to get some plywood, I will fix the nest box issue, and the chickens are moving out next year into a paddock shift. We'll get another duck to keep this one company.
If you sell eggs and go through the gov channels/regs/licensing to do so, washing is required. I was just looking into this a couple of days ago but for my state Missouri. One thing I did read (and this is actually VT extension services)was.......
Never cool eggs rapidly before they are cleaned. The egg shell will contract and pull any dirt or bacteria on the surface deep into the pores when cooled. Try to keep the temperature relatively constant until they are washed.
Wash eggs as soon as you collect them. This helps limit the opportunity of contamination and loss of interior quality.
Wash eggs with water 10 degrees warmer than the egg. This will make the egg contents swell and push the dirt away from the pores of the egg. If you have extremely dirty eggs, a mild detergent approved for washing eggs can be used.
Never let eggs sit in water. Once the temperature equalizes the egg can absorb contaminants out of the water.
Cool and dry eggs quickly after washing. Store eggs, large end up, at 50-55°F and at 75% relative humidity. If eggs sit at room temperature (75°F) they can drop as much as one grade per day. If fertile eggs are kept at a temperature above 85°F for more than a few hours the germinal disc (embryo) can start to develop. If fertile eggs are kept above 85°F over two days the blood vessels of the embryo may become visible.