Egg Facts

This info comes from our new egg lady, Mary:

Dozen eggs

Egg shells are porous because the chick needs to be able to “breath” as it develops. A hen (or hens) will lay eggs for several days/weeks until she has enough to sit on & hatch. To prevent the first egg/chicks from rotting while she fills her nest with enough eggs to set, the hen covers each egg as it is laid with a thin gelatinous film called the “bloom”. The bloom covers the pours in the shell. Washing removes the bloom. Without it, the egg is more susceptible to bacteria & evaporation. it helps  preserve the egg until the hen is ready to set the nest. Remove the bloom and eggs start to rot, so they need to be refrigerated. This is why most eggs in Europe are not refrigerated in the supermarkets, because they are not washed. Commercial eggs (even the organic ones) are washed in a disinfecting solution, usually bleach or teflex.

Eggs that I plan to sell are refrigerated as soon as I bring them in the house. When I pack them, I dry “brush” the ones that need it with a clean paper towel. Most don’t even get that treatment; which is why you may occasionally find tiny feathers attached. Personally, I have an “old fashioned wire egg basket” that I purchased at the dollar store. My eggs sit on my kitchen table because I like to have room temp eggs for baking. Eggs that have muddy hen prints end up in my wire basket for personal use. Eggs that have poop on them, I usually feed to the barn cats or my Farm Collie.

If you choose to wash the eggs yourself, I would suggest you not do that until right before you plan to use them. Then you should wash them in running water that is WARMER than the eggs. That way the water is less likely to be drawn into the porous shell.


9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Janice on March 7, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Thanks for the great information. I did not know that the “bloom” was put there by the hen!!! Cool! I am looking forward to your fresh

    • I’m learning too. We wanted to have our own chickens this year, but we decided to focus on the upper garden and not spread ourselves too thin.

  2. Posted by Heather on March 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Great information. I sell eggs from my seven hens and provided most of this information to my customers. I didn’t know that most eggs in European markets weren’t refrigerated. How long can eggs be left out before they start to deteriorate and become unsuitable to eat?

  3. Posted by Mary on March 10, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Well I guess I am the “egg lady” now not just the “goat lady”. I was not really sure how long unwashed egg would last outside a fridge, so i had to look it up. Good old mother earth news had the answer. According to an article they did back in 1977, they are still good at 8 weeks and still ok to eat after 3 months!! I have never kept any long enough to find out. I do empty my basket every couple weeks just to make sure there are no old ones hiding at the bottom; so i know they last at least 2 weeks. Hope that answers your question.

    • Posted by Heather on March 11, 2010 at 7:03 pm

      That’s funny. I’ve been introduced as the “egg lady” myself. I guess it beats the previous “dragon lady” when I worked as a quality control inspector in a hatchery.

      Are your deep brown speckled eggs from Welsummer’s? I was thinking of getting a couple Welsummers and Marans this year. I’d also like to add some Barnvelders to my flock but they seem to be hard to find.

      Thanks again for the information.

      • Hey Heather and Mary, Great info and conversations. Thanks for participating on our blog. I love to share info and learn along the way. Su

  4. Posted by Mary on March 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Hi Heather,
    they are from Marans. some Black coppers, some Cuckoos and some mixes. the olive colored eggs are from hens that are half marans. I like the half breeds because i never know what colors i will get 🙂

  5. Posted by Heather on March 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Mary,

    I hope I’m not being too bothersome.

    I wonder if your half marans hens are marans/ameraucana crosses. As far as I know Ameraucanas or Easter Eggers are the only hens that lay blue or olive colored eggs.

    Do you have any idea where I might be able to buy Barnvelder chicks or hens? The double lacing pattern is so lovely and they sound very personable as well.

    • Hi Hesther,
      sorry for not getting back to you sooner, i don’t think i ever saw this post. yes you are correct. But the really interesting colors and patterns come from the ones that are really mixed up. Some of my best egg colors come from some hens that are 1/4 Speckled Sussex, 1/4 Blue Wheaton ameraucana, and 1/4 Cuckoo Marans and 1/4 Black Copper Marans. Those are the eggs that are the dark green & speckled ones 🙂 I wish i had a roo from that clutch of eggs, but i had no idea how pretty the eggs would be. And of course who knows if the egg color would breed true.

      If you want to see some pictures of my girls you can see them here:


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