Yup, it’s true. A chicken’s egg comes out of the same opening as the poop. That’s just the design and it’s why eggs that you get from your own chickens or even from a farmer’s market are probably going to have some poop staining on them.
No matter how hard you try to keep your nesting boxes clean, poop is going to happen. It’s one of those facts of chicken life.
What is amazing to me is some people’s reactions to this “dirt.” I’ve had some people look at the stained eggs from our girls and turn their heads in disgust saying “no thanks.” They’d rather have the cleaned and sterilized (and nutritionally deficient) eggs found in the supermarket than those from our backyard raised flock.
“Yuck,” is the common reaction I get from those people.
I’ve also seen older neighbors who look with glee at our eggs which remind them of growing up with chickens. When I specifically mentioned the poop stains on our eggs once to a neighbor who was raised with chickens in her backyard, she said that it was “no big deal. That’s the way eggs come out.”
“You just use common sense and wash your hands after handling them,” she told me.
Initially it’s that’s oil coating, the bloom, covering the egg right before it comes out of the hen that protects it and makes it impermeable to the chemicals and bacteria of the outside world. This is why many of us don’t rush to clean the eggs until we’ve gathered enough to make it worth our time, the bloom keeps the egg’s interior protected. Take that bloom away and eggs become porous, potentially allowing chemicals and bacteria to pass to the inside of the egg.
This is why all eggs that have been washed then need to be refrigerated. A lower temperature slows down (but doesn’t stop) any sort of bacterial growth.
I’ve heard of people using chemicals (usually acidic) in order to clean (really clean) their eggs. Some use Apple Cider Vinegar in the water while others use commercially prepared cleaning products. The problem with using chemicals, however mild, is that once that oil bloom is washed away, the egg’s insides can then absorb what the outside of the egg is exposed to.
This can includes perfumes and dyes from soaps.
In our desire to make our chickens’ eggs “presentable” we may be inadvertently introducing chemicals that should never be found in any egg.
If you ask 5 different chicken owners how they clean their eggs, you’re likely to get 5 different answers. Everyone has their preferred method. Some want their eggs pristine and swear by the ACV or store bought chemicals. While others, like me, are fine with removing the obvious dirt by dunking the egg in warm water, lightly scrubbing it with a soft sponge, and then storing the eggs in the fridge.
How about you? What’s your preferred way to clean your eggs and do you use different methods for various customers?