How to Collect Eggs
Ideally, wait until the hens leave their laying spots to collect eggs. They’ll typically be happy to hop off the nest if food is involved, so collecting eggs right after feeding can be a good strategy. Gather eggs in a basket, a cloth sling, or any other container that won’t put pressure on them.
When to Collect Eggs
You’ll want to collect eggs every morning; hens cackling loudly are a sign or clue that they’re laying. I usually have another look in the evening as well. Some hens lay in the morning and others in the evening.
Cleaning Chicken Eggs
Avoid washing farm-fresh eggs if you can; wipe with a dry, rough cloth. Eggshells have a “bloom,” a natural coating that protects the egg from bacteria. If you wash the eggs, it removes this protective layer, and you need to put them in the refrigerator. Otherwise, the eggs can be stored on the counter for up to a month or stored in the refrigerator; it’s a personal preference.
If the eggs have a little manure on them, remove it. To keep your eggs clean, keep their straw fresh and pick out any large pieces of muck as best you can, but the eggs may inevitably have a little muck on them. Just wipe with a damp cloth for small spots.
A really dirty egg can be submerged and scrubbed with a vegetable brush. Always use warm water (warmer than the egg); cold water will make the egg shrink inside the shell and will draw in bacteria. If you wash the eggs, be gentle and quick. Let eggs air-dry thoroughly before putting them away.
Storing Chicken Eggs
I put my eggs in dated egg cartons and store them in the fridge on a shelf—not the door, where they will get jostled with every opening/closing. For partial cartons, I mark each egg in pencil with the day it was collected. Refrigerate between 32- and 40-degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh eggs are good for a month in the refrigerator.