If you want to raise your own chickens for their eggs, ensuring the quality and safety of both chickens and eggs is most important. Chickens are known to carry bacteria that transmit diseases to humans. At times, even eggs that appear perfectly normal can contain harmful microorganisms. To ensure the health of your chickens, keep them in an enclosed shed that you keep clean at all times. Don't overcrowd the shed and make sure your chickens have enough room to nest [source: Bunning and Avens]. We will now tell you how to collect the eggs and how to handle them properly.
- Collect eggs at least twice a day, especially in hot weather. The first collection should be before 10 a.m. Start by collecting those eggs with no chickens on them. Then carefully lift up those hens sitting in nests, quickly remove any eggs from the nest and put the hens back on their roosts.
- Don't leave eggs in the nest for long periods of time, as they will get dirty and can break.
- Use a clean coated wire basket or plastic container to collect eggs, to avoid rust stains getting on the eggs, which can be hard to clean.
- Never stack eggs more than five layers high. Anything higher than this will increase the chances of breakage.
- Keep your eggs at a constant temperature until you wash them. Cooling down eggs before washing can cause the egg shell to contract, and any dirt or bacteria on the egg can seep into the egg through its pores.
- Wash eggs as soon as possible after collection. This will limit the chances of contamination.
- Wash the eggs in water that is 10 degrees warmer than the temperature of the egg. This will cause the egg to swell a bit and push dirt away from the pores. If the eggs are very dirty, you may need to add a mild detergent.
- Remove the eggs from the water as soon as the egg and the water are the same temperature. Do not let the egg soak in the water.
- Cool the eggs immediately after they are washed dry [source: Clauer].