Caring For Your Eggs

| 8/22/2012 1:28:05 PM

Assorted eggs from backyard chickens 

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 gives 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:

9/23/2012 1:19:01 PM

How long are fresh eggs safe to use?

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