Wash Eggs Like A Boss, Baby.
Winter time is not a clean time on the farm. Just yesterday, as I was out throwing kitchen scraps to the pigs, I nearly face planted into the muck after my rubber boots got stuck in the deep sludge. There were slurping noises. And waving arms. And perhaps a word or two that I'm not too proud of. Luckily, with my crazy ninja balancing skills, I was able to keep myself from totally falling into the poo/mud/straw soup. Though, sadly, my coveralls did not make it out unscathed.
The poo soup made it's permanent mark on my farm gear, just to remind me of how messy it is this time of year. And this year especially! More rain than documented in the last 25 years. While I'm thankful that our desert environment is getting the deep drink of water that it needs for a healthy spring and summer, it's caused some serious havoc on the farm.
Fresh bedding is put down almost every day. Only to be mushed around and swallowed by the great slurpy poo kings. The pigs and chickens are fairing the worst.
Even though our chickens have a gigantic run in which to roam, they've insisted on staying in the teeny little enclosed coop while the snow and rain permeate the soil. The ducks are the only ones brave enough to venture out into the run. Well, them and the head rooster – Sir Henry, who makes the round and inspects the run each day. 30 chickens and 3 ducks crammed into a coop all day. You can imagine the deliciousness.
Let's couple the poopy run with the fact that we're in the far North and are currently averaging daylight from about 8:00 am to 4:15 pm. Count 'em. That's only about 8 hours of daylight A DAY. Egg production? What's that? Fu-get-about-it.
We're only averaging about 3-4 eggs per day at this point – a disappointing reality for this farm family that can easily eat a dozen a day. Regardless, it's the name of the game this time of year. Poopy eggs. And very few of them.
As hard as I try to keep the nesting boxes full of fresh straw, because they're spending so much time in there, it's nearly impossible! Chickens. Poo. Wherever they want. The gangsters.
Poopy eggs are an every day occurrence now, so I've had to take to washing them. Wash eggs. Repeat. Wash eggs. Repeat. Normally I don't – they simply sit on my counter, at room temperature, until we use them. But when, literally, they're smeared with poop, I've got to make an exception to my routine. However, did you know that how you wash eggs matters? Some methods drive bacteria INTO the egg! We don't want that. I'd love poo free eggs, please. Poo bacteria included.
How To Wash Eggs
– Acquire poopy eggs. This shouldn't be that hard this time of year… especially if you're anywhere near the Pacific Northwest. Here's a photograph of my poopy eggs:
– Get you a sponge, super fine grain sand paper, or other scrubber. Scrub the poo from the eggs. This method leaves the bloom (the exterior coating that prevents oxygen and bacteria from entering the egg) intact, which means that the egg can still be kept at room temperature. Did you forget what a sponge looks like? Here you go:
However, some eggs are too poopy for the dry method, which works best for smaller, drier, chunks of poo. Enter the warm water method.
WARM WATER METHOD
– Acquire poopy eggs. Did you forget what they look like? Here you go:
– Fill a bowl with warm water. Cold water will cause the bacteria on the surface to be driven into the egg. Don't use cold water. Just don't. DON'T I SAID. Place the dirty eggs into the warm water, if only for a few seconds, the utilize your sponge or a wash rag to gently scrub the poo from the shell. This is pretty easy, unless a hen has broken an egg over the other eggs. Dried egg is like cement. But poo is pretty easy.
See what sort of valuable information I bring to your life?
– After washing the egg, place it on a towel, give it a little rub dry, and place it in a bowl or a carton. Washed eggs have lost the bloom and must be stored in the refrigerator. I always use them before using unwashed eggs because the shelf-life decreases significantly once, ya know, they're washed and stuff.
Pretty easy, huh? But certainly a nice method to know so you don't end up with poo or feathers in your omelette. Cough. Not that that's every happened to me. Cough.
From my farm to yours – I hope your days are full of fresh straw bedding, clear water troughs, and unstained coveralls!
And clean eggs.
Cathy J. Kelley (White Frost Farm)
GREAT BLOG! and advice!
Good morning Shaye.
I’ve been enjoying your blog posts for about a month, just before your Toby passed. I think your special love of him is what hooked me into wanting to read more of your farm life. I’ve had furry children through my life too. They were always members of my family, never “just animals”. Letting them go is never easy,
I don’t lead a farm life anymore. Your post today about chickens and eggs brings back many memories of teenage years caring for cows, chickens, pigs (and always only one sheep at a time, for some reason). I wasn’t always happy about my chores but it was good life experience and far better food source than anything I currently buy from supermarkets.
Thanks for freely sharing your family and farm, joys and struggles.
Thank you very much 😊 I was looking on how to clean poo from my eggs 🥚…
Thanks it is always great to get
Good advise from a knowledgeable
How did you know this was something I needed to read? Our ducks started laying two weeks ago. Yay! Dirty, poopy, somewhat smelly eggs in the rain. Eww! They refuse to lay in the nice, clean, warm duck house. They prefer to lay in the gravel, rain, and outside areas. Oh, silly ducks. It’s a good thing the eggs are so scrumptious.
Do you find the duck eggs are a bit harder to get clean in comparison to the chicken eggs? Also, when you have larger quantities of eggs coming in, do you have a trick for storing so you rotate your eggs to use older first? Thanks for always making me smile, teaching me something new, being humble, and sharing your love for our Lord.
We box in egg cartons ( we get the from friends/family) and just stack from old to new. Use the carton on the bottom of the stack 😉
Thanks it is always great to get
Good advise from a knowledgeable
Perfect timing!! We have had crazy rain here in texas too…and a rogue chicken that likes to sleep in the nesting boxes….stinker.
We are experiencing this in Illinois too. Rain and more rain while my children are crying for snow 🙂 Just a thought for you. . .search solar powered chicken coop on youtube. You can put up a solar panel and a light in the coop for about $100. Then you add more daylight by having the light turn on for a few hours each morning. More daylight = more eggs. God’s blessings to you!
What breeds of chickens do you have? Especially the one who lays those beautiful dark brown eggs?
Hey Shaye! I don’t know what bedding you’re using in your coop, but have you considered sand? It dries the poop up shortly after it lands, which means less poop on the eggs! We use it in our coop and only put hay in the nestbox itself. You won’t get all perfectly spotless eggs, but we noticed immediately when we switched from hay to sand that the eggs were cleaner!
In my area we just have snow from Oct/Nov – April. So our dirty egg season is at it’s worst in Spring and late Fall. I always forget whether warm or cool water is best for washing eggs. Thanks for the reminder!
Same here Shaye. Though at least yours nest in the boxes. I’m on an egg hunt every single day. Then there was the time we put the garage door down and a peacock egg flew out at me. Barely missed getting egged.
Thank -you! I’m not the only one with massively poopy eggs! ….and thank-you for sharing your homespun life so transparently! If only we were neighbors! 🙂
This post was great! I absolutely hate washing eggs, but like you said in the winter it is almost impossible to keep from it. Good point you made about using warm water instead of cold water. We are lucky that our chicken eggs still come out fairly clean, but our duck eggs now that is a mess since they tend to lay them anywhere. Still we have been able to get enough eggs this winter to keep from buying any. That is always a plus in my book!
Eggs in winter?! Whats that? I have only three hens right now (a weasel cleared my hen house) and they are on laying hiatus. Cold winter days and no sunlight makes for non productive chickens.
I just love your great attitude about everything – even the unpleasant things.
Such an attitude of gratitude is uplifting for all of us to read.
I purchased 25 ISA Brown day old baby chicks in July via mail order from Sauder Feeds in Graybill, Indiana. They included one extra just in case, so I had 26. All 26 lived. They are very hardy. They started laying eggs at 4 months and are still laying through the winter. I gave 8 chickens to a friend – he get 6 to 8 eggs every day I get 15 to 18 eggs per day. I sell most of them to my local feed store. They are large brown eggs and taste delicious. I keep my chickens in my greenhouse during the winter, feed them produce, crumbles and scratch. I give them treats of mealworms and even meat sometimes. They are a bit spoiled but I get organic fertilizer for my greenhouse in return. I live in the high mountains of Colorado and can only grow veggies in a greenhouse. I consider the chicks and the greenhouse a worthwhile investment. I highly recommend ISA Brown chickens and the folks at Sauder Feeds are super nice!
Just curious– I don’t have chickens– (YET!! 🙂 but how do you know if the bloom has been removed? Love your blog!!!
You’ll have to ask whoever you go the eggs from! If it’s from a store, assume the bloom as been removed.
It is nice to read that we aren’t the only ones with a healthy harvest of mud! The North Carolina Sandhills have also gotten more than normal with our pigs and chickens enduring the most of anything on the farm. Stay strong fellow homesteader and thank you for the fellowship!
When I lived in Kansas, my chickens would go out every day…even in the snow! But here in upstate New York (think northern Adirondacks, Canadian border…NOT Buffalo or Albany!) the chickens prefer the coop…yes, the ducks go out! Thank you for your pleasant take on the muddy/poopy mess!
Love the information about the bloom… I was wondering how you take the shells off for deviled eggs. Store bought eggs are easy to peel, my farm fresh eggs are extremely difficult! I have tried steaming , boiling, using eggs with the bloom and ones without….please HELP!????
I add my ages to boiling water.
Boil 10 min.
Turn off the heat for 10 minutes and let sit in the hot water.
Dump all water and let sit in fresh cold water for 10 min.
Rarely have a problem with shelling the egg duck or chicken fresh or old. Hope that helps😊
Let the eggs get some age to them before you cook/peel them. The fresher the egg the harder it is to peel.
I’ve also recently found that trying to hard boil room temp eggs will make them hard to peel. I wash a bunch, throw them in the fridge, then use the instant pot to hard boil them the next day. Ive had success with this method even with day old eggs.
You’re just awesome. The end.
Found you via Pinterest and greatly enjoyed this read! My ducks move their nest everytime I find it…and it is always outside, unless it is directly under the goats milkstand in the soupy poopy soggy hay/straw/sawdust mess of this ultra wet no longer in a drought winter we have had in northern California. I prefer it outside… When it’s under the milkstand the eggs are almost ridiculous because then the hens have to lay there too and the goats are up above pooping and then the hens are pecking through the straw and pooping plus stirring up the rabbit poop and pee and the ducks are in and out with their watery poo too and next thing I know the eggs I get look like mudballs!! Glad to know that I am not the only one who also slips skids and falls in the soupy muck! Have a great day!
First off I love your blog! We are planning on moving out of the city later this year and you have really helped us to start preparing. How long are the eggs good for? Both stored at room temperature and in the fridge?
Weeks in the fridge and a solid week on the counter!
Why dont you use some kind of disifectsnt like soap? Just cuz im a germaphobic just rinsing the poo off doesnt seem clean to me.
Ah! This was so timely 🙂 We’re dealing with lots of bird poop over here, and I’ve just been storing them dirty and washing when it’s time to use them. I’m so glad that I won’t have to be refrigerating duck poop any more 🙂
It’s so refreshing to have someone be real about a working farm. “Eggs should never be dirty. You need to keep your coop cleaner. I dust mine every day.” Mm, sorry; nope. Better things to spend my time on! Poop happens and I’m not going to fight a useless battle!
Had to leave a comment – just discovered your blog via Pintrest and this one in particular made me howl! We are about to embark on our first farm together, I lived in the family farm till I was 6, so don’t remember much about collecting eggs from the bantums and geese, but this has prepared me for when we get our running ducks when we move to Scotland, won’t be long now! I look forward to having the dilema of removing poop from eggs and remembering which ones need to be eaten first.
Your writing style is very much like how I speak – made me laugh at the similarities! Please continue, I look forward to visiting your pages more and hearing about your farm life!
Well welcome Ebony!! Thank you for reading :)!!
Thanks for the advice.
I am preparing to raise chickens starting in the spring of 2019. This was valuable and well written. I like your sense of humor! Makes learning so much more fun!
I’ve owned chickens forever. Literally my whole life. Recently we have grown our farm enough that I am selling my eggs a lot. We have also expuerienced record rains and my chickens are getting the eggs so muddy AND POOPY! City people like fresh eggs but not poopy muddy ones. So I washed them and popped them into the fridge. I noticed in the older ones so.e.of them were turning neon green! Eew! I have NEVER seen that in our eggs before I started washing them. Hmmm. Turns out its because of the sulfer in our well water. I was using cold water. Allowing the sulfer bacteria into the egg. Go figure!