With our wellies pulled high, everything is going to be a little bit muddy for awhile. This is going to make the job of keeping the inside of the Maggie's Dozen and the Maggie's Twenty Four (that our hens, ducks, guinea fowl and geese live in) clean and keeping the freshly laid eggs clean too, all the harder. Keeping the nestbox clean and and dry is probably one of the simplest and easiest ways to keep your eggs clean too, meaning you wont have to wash your eggs. However, you might find that no matter how hard you try, at this time of year, everything gets a little bit grubby.
If you have a small flock of a few hens pottering around the back garden, then a quick rinse under the tap will probably get the job done. What you should never do however is leave eggs to soak in water. The porous nature of the shell on a freshly laid egg means that if left to soak, it will draw the water into the membrane of the egg, along with any bacteria on it.
To ensure that you kill any bacteria or germs living on your eggs, then you will want to use an egg wash. Biolink Egg Wash, is a highly economical anti bacterial egg wash for use on eggs. For use in machines or hand washing, this highly effective liquid is a great wash for your eggs and proven to be highly effective at killing of bacteria (don't tell anyone because its a secret, but its on offer at the moment too at £6.49). Equally effective is Net-Tex Ready to Use Steriliser & Egg Wash. As simple to use as it sounds, its just a case of giving the egg a spray, leaving it and finally giving it a rinse off. Designed to kill even the hardiest of bacteria, it is a great little item to have ready in the cupboard.
If your passion for poultry has gone a little overboard (ours most certainly has) when it comes to cleaning your eggs in a machine, Chicktec Egg Wash Powder. A combined egg wash and bacterial powder, it is perfect for use in an oscillating machine or for a hand wash.
DEFRA does have rules about egg washing, and while most of it doesn't apply to us humble backyard chicken keepers, it is good information to know. EC Egg Marketing legislation does not allow for Class A eggs to be washed, the feeling behind it being that eggs of this quality should be clean enough to begin with. Class B eggs and those for processing are ok to be washed.
Clean eggs are important for a mess of reasons. If you are incubating your eggs for a new generation of chicks, then if you have not sterilised the shells, you will find more often than not the chicks either do not survive for very long, or are very sickly. Leaving bacteria and poo on the outside of the egg is hardly desirable if you have your eggs on display (and why wouldn't you?) and of course you do not want it left on the shell, as over time it will permeate into the egg.