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#88887 - 04/09/10 07:39 AM How to Correctly Wash Eggs
Saraa Offline
New Egg

Registered: 08/24/08
Posts: 9
Loc: Minnesota
Can anyone tell me the best and safest way to wash chicken eggs? I'm a bit grossed out by our eggs because they sometimes have a little poop on them. I read that washing them incorrectly can let bacteria into the egg. So I want clean eggs, but I don't want bacteria in my eggs!

And advice is appreciated.

Sara

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#88889 - 04/09/10 09:17 AM Re: How to correctly wash eggs [Re: Saraa]
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Water warmer than the egg is the important thing. After that, it is up to you: detergent, just warm water, other disinfectants? Egg shells are porous but have their own pressure within, and cold water can penetrate, warmer water will not (we are told).

I scrape off any poop when collecting eggs. (Several hens always lose a bit when the egg is laid. It's just their system's way.) I know those hens. Most eggs are clean and lovely, and I seldom wash an egg. But I crack them carefully so contents do not spill over the shell. Not to worry--a cooked egg can do no harm. CJR

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#88890 - 04/09/10 09:17 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Saraa]
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
I wash mine with really warm tap water. When I was selling eggs for a friend of mine, I would add some bleach to the water and then rinse them with very warm clean water.
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Rhea Dean

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#88898 - 04/09/10 05:55 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Rhea Dean Carter]
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
Yes, absolutely, warm water! Not because "we are told," but because we can see! This is really basic physics.

When you wash with warmer water, the egg contents, as they heat, expand slightly, putting pressure out through the pores so water (and bacteria) won't enter. Also, if you have an invisible crack, it will open up as the contents expand, making the crack visible.

When you wash eggs in cold water, the contents shrink, sucking the water (and stuff) in.

I use one of those green hard nylon scrubbies with the warm water.

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#88899 - 04/09/10 06:01 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: IPF]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I recently washed a pullet egg in warm water to observe the outcome. I didn't scrub it, just soaked it for a short while, then I swished off the poop with my hand. I set it aside for 5-6 days at room temp, and yesterday I broke it into a glass. The yolk looked fine, but the white had cloudy patches in it. I presume rather than know that this was bacteria. The white had a watery look to it as well. I conclude, therefore, that it is very important to wash with bleach in the water and then rinse clean.

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#88914 - 04/10/10 07:24 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Foehn]
IPF Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 466
Loc: Canada
I'd like to know if the cloudy eggs were actually bacteria-infected before concluding that they were. Newly laid eggs are often cloudy because of the CO2 content that later dissipates, but that varies enormously from hen to hen, and also with storage conditions. Cloudiness per se isn't necessarily an indicator of infection.

I never soak my eggs (it seems to me to be asking for trouble?); I wash under warm-hot running water and scrub off the icky bits.

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#88916 - 04/10/10 10:53 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: IPF]
Morcar Offline
Chick

Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 17
Loc: California
I just E-mailed my county extension office the other day about guidelines for this exact topic. He replied that they DO NOT recommend washing eggs and this is why:

Wash water temperature needs to be at least 20F warmer than the interior content of the egg. Many home owners would not know how to comply with that. In addition, the handling of washing eggs can create cracks that would not be detected.

He did say it's fine to wipe off any noticeable "soil" with a damp, not wet, rag or paper towel.

Even after receiving this answer just days ago, I have had a difficult time NOT washing my eggs in hot water with a little soap (naturally mildly antibacterial) or dish detergent.

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#88918 - 04/11/10 01:56 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Morcar]
Foehn Offline
Administrator
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/08/06
Posts: 1968
Loc: New Zealand
I should have photographed it, IPF. It didn't look at all normal. Soaking was but a few seconds.

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#89713 - 06/11/10 09:22 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Saraa]
Poultry Doc Offline
Feather

Registered: 06/11/10
Posts: 37
Loc: Idaho
We wash pheasant eggs before we store them, and we get very good results. The idea is to follow the dilution recommentation of the soap manufacturer and to wash the eggs fast. We use both hand washing and automatic, and I would say the eggs do not get soaked for more than 1 minute. After that put your eggs into storage at 55F for a max of 15 days prior to setting.

Poultry Doc

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#89795 - 06/15/10 05:23 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Poultry Doc]
TTC Offline
Feather

Registered: 04/17/10
Posts: 26
Loc: Thailand
From what I've read, washing really isn't a good idea, but each to their own I suppose. Having said that, all my eggs seem to be spotless, so I've not yet had a need to wash them.

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#89803 - 06/15/10 10:20 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: TTC]
Poultry Doc Offline
Feather

Registered: 06/11/10
Posts: 37
Loc: Idaho
Dear TTC,

For 14 years, I also had that notion that there is no need to wash eggs but when I got to experience doing it to all pheasant eggs we collect daily, I found it helping in coming up with outstanding hatches. Both fertility and hatchability performances are more than 80 and 92% respectively for 10 hatches! And the resultant chicks for these 10 batches only recorded 1-3% mortalities for the 1st 7 wks. Really terrific!

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#89810 - 06/15/10 09:59 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Poultry Doc]
Rogo Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 469
Loc: Arizona

My hens are good housekeepers, there's rarely anything on the eggs. Might have something to do with the birds roaming free instead of being confined. The hay in the nest boxes only needs changing after they hatch eggs. So I've never washed eggs.

I usually don't refrigerate eggs unless the air conditioning isn't working. (I know folks who have had eggs on their kitchen counter hatch!) As an experiment, I left some eggs in the fridge for one month. Took them out, let them warm up to room temperature, and placed them under a setting hen. They all hatched.

All eggs hatch here (lots of roosters roaming with the hens), but I had heard about storing eggs in the fridge so had to try it!

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#90534 - 07/21/10 03:07 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Rogo]
Squid Offline
New Egg

Registered: 07/20/10
Posts: 3
Loc: SE Wisconsin
I have also heard that NOT washing them is better because it removes the protective coating around the eggs as it is hatched.

But on the other hand, we cannot sell unwashed eggs according to what I've read on the WDATCP site.

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#90599 - 07/25/10 11:19 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: TTC]
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Wow, according to Morcar's county extension officer, most people must be dumb as posts. We can't figure out how to wash eggs in warm water and detect cracks? The person quoting this rubbish has obviously never washed an egg.(the extension officer who is paid to read from reference books but certainly not paid to think) A hairline crack in an egg that I cannot detect with my eye does become visible when placed in very warm water, it bubbles. What's that old saying, where there's bubbles, there's a crack.

I wash eggs since I would not feel right sending off dirty eggs with my customers. I also keep stained or cracked eggs for myself, badly cracked go to the dog. I have never used soap, nor bleach, but bleach my little washing cloth and the designated wash bucket after each use. Air dry the cloth so no contamination happens from one day's eggs to the next.

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#92876 - 11/25/10 06:51 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: TTC]
Smooth Mule Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 637
Loc: Missouri
I think cleaning by washing should be reserved for eating eggs. I run warm water over them and use a scratchy pad to wash off the entire surface, dip in a warm bowl of 10% bleach water then rinse well and I set mine on a rack to dry before putting them in clean cartons then in the fridge....as well as inspecting for cracks.

Does anyone here fumigate eggs for hatching? I've seen so many differing opinions on washing the eggs and I don't doubt some work but if the nest boxes are kept clean, there should not be a massive amount of filth on them anyway so flicking off any large chunks of poop should be all that's needed. That said, if the hatching eggs will be stored for several days, the temps for storage are also good temps for the growth of some bacterias so some manner of sanitation should be considered.

For storing hatching eggs before incubating, I have wondered if fumigating would be better? Anyone use this method? and where do you get your solution (formaldehyde etc) ?
You can also fumigate your equipment using this same way which interested me as well as I'm always concerned about thoroughly cleaning but the areas that shouldn't get wet don't get the good wash they need.

Below are some articles I thought were worth reading, regarding fumigation as well as hatching failures and some about washing. I think we all need to do what works best for our own but I am always interested in learning and may try some different techniques and make notes.

There seems to be no true consensus regarding whether or not to wash hatching eggs so that indicates to me that it may not be significant whether you do wash or don't but the issue of keeping a clean environment for the nest boxes and carefully choosing eggs for hatching is universal to prevent the spread of infection. I would say that if I had a large number of truly dirty eggs and they were important or rare enough to do everything possible to hatch them, I would think that incubating those eggs, after washing or fumigating or left dirty should be done in a separate incubator from the clean eggs. I don't think I'd bother if they were average chicken eggs so I'd scrub those, disinfect with bleach, rinse, air dry and put them in the fridge for breakfast then start cleaning my nest boxes and identify reasons they were getting too dirty to hatch in the first place.

http://msucares.com/poultry/reproductions/poultry_fumigate.html

http://msucares.com/poultry/reproductions/trouble.html

http://www.poultryhelp.com/uc-pfs22.html

http://www.poultry.msstate.edu/extension/pdf/hatching_chicks.pdf

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#92879 - 11/25/10 07:21 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Smooth Mule]
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 1047
Loc: Wisconsin
If anyone wants to put dirty eggs in their incubators,more power to them. It's a great place for disease organisms to grow. I have been washing my hatching eggs for at least 25 years. I don't scrub them, just gently wipe them off in warm disinfectant water, let them dry, and pop them into the incubator. When eggs get extremely dirty, it doesn't pay to scrub them, as that WILL affect their hatchability. Keep your pens clean so the chickens are not tracking manure into the nests in the first place. If you do get really dirty eggs on which the manure is dried, wash them off and feed them back raw to your pet dogs or cats over their normal food. Or you can boil them, mash them whole with the shells on, and feed them back to the chickens. They are a great source of protein and calcium for the layers. You can do the same with infertiles if you candle them within about 7 days or so of setting. This has worked for me for many years. Also, the commercial hatcheries do disinfect their eggs, and I'm sure they don't set dirty eggs either. Some things are learned better through experience than books.


Edited by Bushman (11/25/10 07:24 AM)
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Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1st John 5:11-12

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#92889 - 11/25/10 11:48 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Bushman]
Maria Ricardo Offline
Past Moderator
Coop Keeper

Registered: 03/26/05
Posts: 434
Loc: Hawaii
Don't feed your dog lots of raw eggs; something about biotin not being absorbed.

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#92902 - 11/26/10 12:03 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Smooth Mule]
Wieslaw Offline
Moderator
Classroom Professor

Registered: 09/18/09
Posts: 3769
Loc: Denmark
My piece of advice:try on your own what works for you. Personally I always wash bought eggs in antiviral/antibacterial liquid. Collect your hatching eggs while the weather is dry.
No matter how clean your coop is, if your birds roam free in the garden while rainy weather, it's nearly impossible to keep eggs clean, unless they lay in nests, where the eggs roll down under the nest floor. You can't hang a sign 'don't step on the eggs with your dirty feet' or 'Wipe off your feet before entering', can you? Or maybe you can , but it will not work.

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#92903 - 11/26/10 01:41 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Wieslaw]
Bushman Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/25/07
Posts: 1047
Loc: Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: Wieslaw
Collect your hatching eggs while the weather is dry.


Good advice. Or keep them locked up in pens with lots of dry pine shavings when it is wet outside.
_________________________
Pilgrim in a foreign land and true believer.
1st John 5:11-12

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#92936 - 11/28/10 03:22 PM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Maria Ricardo]
Rogo Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 12/05/03
Posts: 469
Loc: Arizona

=== Don't feed your dog lots of raw eggs; something about biotin not being absorbed. ===


The only thing I've heard about biotin and eggs is when folks eat only the whites of the eggs and not the yolks, their hair can turn to straw. Biotin is only in the yolks.

For years I've fed excess raw eggs to my poultry, pigs and dogs and haven't had any problems.

My grandma always had gorgeous skin and she attributed it to eating raw eggs. It works! Wouldn't eat raw store bought eggs though.

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#92944 - 11/29/10 02:23 AM Re: How to Correctly Wash Eggs [Re: Rogo]
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
A waste to feed RAW eggs to dogs. Problems?, no, just whites not absorbed--not so for cats, people. Dogs don't know this. CJR

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