I posted a picture on Friday of a pile of freshly washed eggs on my Face Book page and after posting it the questions started flooding in as to why I washed them.
I've read all about how eggs stay fresher if unwashed. Eggs have a natural antibiotic or bloom applied to the outside while being laid which keeps Bactria from entering the egg and causing it to spoil. When washing an egg you can feel the bloom being washed off, as soon as the egg gets wet, the bloom has a slick feel to it.
When we are holding back hatching eggs to fill the incubators we keep them in a air conditioned room, in labeled cartons, unwashed for 1 week. Every Monday night we put the cleanest, biggest, darkest colored eggs in a tray and into the incubator. If eggs are to small, to dirty, rough textured, or misshaped they don't make the cut. Those eggs are held out and if useable, they are for consumption. We do wash a few hatching eggs from time to time if we really need them for chicks and have found it doesn't hurt them at all. One thing is for sure, a dirty egg will not hatch.
Hatching eggs are gathered in these two baskets and each breed is labeled on the carton so there are no mix-ups when we are selling and shipping hatching eggs through the mail or filling the incubator trays.
An Olive egger chick can hatch out looking just like an Ameraucana or a Black Copper Marans and always need to be kept separate here on the farm. Gathering eggs takes about 30 to 45 minutes each evening.
We are now finished putting eggs in the incubator until spring and won't be selling hatching eggs until November, so I'm just gathering the eggs into a basket all together, I love to see all the colors like this. It makes egg gathering a little more interesting.
Now to get to the question of why did I wash all of those eggs.... I'm finally to the point in this egg season where I can share a few eggs with my family and friends and I want to send them the cleanest prettiest eggs possible. The family and friends I share my eggs with, most have never raised chickens and are of the understanding eggs should be clean and refrigerated so I do this for there benefit. They use up the eggs very quickly so there really isn't a question as to how long they will stay fresh once they are washed. Now as for myself, I wash the eggs when I'm ready to use them, they are also kept unrefrigerated and I've found they are just fine for up to two weeks.
So should eggs be washed? Well I'm no eggspert but I say no, unless your giving them away or selling them at a farmers market. Wash when ready to use.
Have an eggcellent day!