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Caring For Your Eggs

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:

~Eggs must be sold in clean, unused cartons.

~Eggs must be labeled with the following statement:

     “SAFE
HANDLING INSTRUCTIONS: To prevent illness from bacteria: keep eggs refrigerated,
cook eggs until yolk   

      are firm, and
cook foods containing eggs thoroughly.”

~The carton must display the packed on date or the sell
by date.  The “sell by date” is
30 days after the packing date.

~Displays a grading statement based on your personal
preferences.

~Packaging must also include the seller’s name, address
and phone number.

~All lettering should be 3/16″ or larger.

You can choose to grade and size your eggs or not.  If you are like me and do not grade or size
your eggs, then your carton should state “Not graded, Not sized” or
“Nest Run”.  Grading is done by
candling and sizing is done by weight. 
You can find more information about sizing and grading your eggs here
and here.

Finally, stating that your eggs are organic is not
permissible unless you have officially been certified organic.  This is an incredibly rigorous process and if
you are interested in becoming organically certified you can look here to start.  We label our eggs as “organically
fed”.

Selling your eggs is a great way to meet people, meet a
demand in your community and teach children about math and running a small
business.  It is also a great way to turn
people on to keeping a flock of backyard chickens for themselves.  This happens all the time after people taste
the difference between store bought eggs and eggs that come from happy backyard
chickens.

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Published on Aug 22, 2012

Grit Magazine

Live The Good Life with GRIT!