The advice hub Egg Hygiene

We all like to tuck into a nice freshly laid egg, whether it’s scrambled, fried or poached. Whilst eggs are a fast, safe and healthy food it is worthwhile taking a few precautions to protect you and your family.

The main concern with eggs is normally in relation to Salmonella. However, the surface of a contaminated egg may contain other harmful bacteria. The first important way to maintain clean, safe eggs is to keep your chickens in a clean environment. This means making sure they have access to fresh food and water which is replaced daily.

Nest hygiene is the best way to reduce contamination on eggs. It is best to use shavings in nests rather than straw and dropping can make straw messy very quickly. Never use hay as it goes mouldy very easily. Sprinkle some Chicken Vet Dri Bed in the bottom of the nest box then put the shavings on top. Clean out the nesting material regularly. Encourage the birds to roost on a perch and not in the nest. Having the perches higher than the nest box will really help with this issue.

Feeders and drinkers should be regularly cleaned and disinfected using Chicken Vet Disinfectant. Ensure your chicken house is cleaned and disinfected regularly and your chicken run is kept clean and mud free where possible to reduce mud on the chicken’s feet being taken into the nest.

Rodents and wild birds can carry several diseases that can infect both you and your chickens. Never feed your chickens outside and keep all feed in a secure place with no access for wild birds and rodents. Keep grass and weeds around your chicken house and run cut down, as long vegetation provides the perfect place for vermin to hide.

Any dirty eggs are unsuitable for human consumption, or hatching for that matter!

Always ensure you keep your own hands clean and wash them after handling the chickens or collecting eggs each day. We recommend Intersoft N for this purpose.

Never be tempted to wash dirty eggs as this will spread the bacteria around the shell. Even clean eggs should not be washed as they are coated in a waterproof cuticle which protects them from bacteria entering in through the tiny pores on the surface of the egg shell. Washing eggs removes this protective cuticle.

Ideally, eggs should be stored in a cool place such as your larder and not in your fridge.

Always use eggs within three weeks of being laid. You can use a pencil to mark the date once they have been laid.

Finally, always ensure your eggs are cooked properly before eating them.