Being a farmer is not an easy job though it could prove profitable in the long term, especially if you work with chickens and other birds. If you want to make sure your birds live a long and happy life and provide you the best meat and fresh eggs daily, you’ll have to look after their wellbeing and consider installing portable chicken fencing.
This will keep them away from the off-limits zones of your property but will also help them enjoy fresh air, daily sunlight exposure, and wandering around the farm on a daily basis. Add some quality feeding and a comfortable place to sleep at night, and you’ll keep your egg laying chickens happy.
However, helping your birds to produce eggs daily is only one of your concerns as a farmer since these eggs need to be handled delicately before they’re on their way to farmer markets and supermarkets. Here is how you should clean them properly.
If you’re new in the field of collecting eggs from chickens and cleaning them up, you might want to refrain before submerging them in water all of a sudden. Using water on freshly farmed eggs will remove some of the “bloom” on the shell and allow it to attract bacteria inside the egg, so we recommend starting with a dry cleaning process.
The first step you should take is inspecting your eggs. Look for any signs of breaks and cracks on the shell and, if you spot any, it would be best to toss those eggs away. A cracked shell means bacteria have already entered inside and it wouldn’t be safe for you or others to eat that egg. If the shell doesn’t show signs of dirt and looks rather clean, you might want to leave that egg alone until later.
However, some people don’t consider farm eggs should be cleaned at all simply because the eggshell acts like a protective cover that won’t allow the inside to be contaminated with dirt, excrements, feathers or bacteria. We don’t recommend leaving the eggs exactly as they are, especially if there are some obvious signs of dirt on them or you plan on giving them to your friends and family members.
Most dirt you’ll come across is superficial and can be easily removed using a piece of loofah or a sanding sponge. Take each egg into your hand and rub the loofah gently on it until getting rid of all the dirt. Be careful not to damage the shell of the egg in the process.
You can also use other products to clean the eggs, including emery cloth, sandpaper, steel wool or a simple toothbrush. If you choose the toothbrush or the sponge, don’t forget to sanitize them before each use to prevent transferring bacteria from one egg to another.
You shouldn’t rule out entirely the possibility of washing and sanitizing the eggs. Sometimes this is necessary, especially if you cannot remove all the dirt through dry cleaning and without damaging the shell. This is usually the case when one egg is stuck to the contents of another cracked shell.
As we previously mentioned, cleaning eggs using water might remove the “bloom” out of the shell and allow bacteria to infiltrate the egg. However, unwashed and dirty eggs might pose a health hazard if you don’t plan on cooking them right away. If you do intend to save some of the fresh eggs for a delicious omelet in the morning, removing the bloom with water won’t make too much of a difference.
Selling your eggs to local farmer markets and supermarkets is a little bit more complicated, so make sure to follow the state rules and regulations for properly cleaning, transporting, and processing farm eggs.
For the next step, you will need to fill two bowls with hot or warm water. In one bowl, add a few drops of a cleaning agent (an unscented dishwasher is a good option or an egg cleaning agent). In the other bowl, use a small amount of bleach.
Make sure to always use rubber gloves to prevent skin irritations and infections. If you’re not keen on the idea of washing your eggs with chemical substances, you can skip the dishwasher and replace the bleach with a solution made of one part water and another part distilled white vinegar that acts as a natural bleacher.
After you prepared the solutions, you need to make sure the water used is warmer than the internal temperature of the egg to kill bacteria. Keep in mind that finding the right temperature for the water is an important part of the cleaning process unless you want bacteria to contaminate all the eggs.
Ideally, the water in which you wash the eggs should be around 20-22 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the egg itself. Therefore, you should go for temperatures between 90 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot water causes the egg contents to expand, pushing the bacteria and germs out of the shell and providing a clean egg, suitable for eating or storing.
Sanitizing the eggs
After you established the right water temperature, you have to take each egg and dip it into the first bowl of water containing hot water and detergent. Use a small scrub brush or your fingers to get rid of all dirt residues.
Rinse the egg in hot water to remove all traces of detergent, and then dip the egg into the second bowl containing the bleaching agent. After sanitizing, you can place the egg on a clean paper and allow it to dry naturally. Repeat the process with all your eggs. However, if you’re dealing with more than one dozen eggs at a time, don’t forget to refresh the water bowls to prevent contamination from previous eggs.
Storing the eggs
After all the eggs are cleaned and sanitized, you should consider the proper way to store them, especially if you plan on selling them. Put them in a clean carton with the narrow end, which is usually softer, pointing downwards. Don’t forget to date stamp the carton or each egg individually. You can use other date identification systems as long as you know exactly what they stand for.
Although most fridges come with special egg containers located on their doors, we don’t recommend storing the eggs there as this part of the fridge is usually warmer and might cause the eggs to alter faster.
Instead, try placing them in the main part of the fridge, at temperatures up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t want them to absorb the flavors of other foods, keep the eggs away from fish, onion or garlic. If you follow all these instructions, your eggs can stay fresh for up to one month.
However, if you notice any strange colors or odors coming from your eggs, you should throw them away immediately. Don’t insist on cooking with eggs that are not fresh as they can cause allergies, rashes, and even affect your liver.