Poultry Feeders and Egg Hygiene
Fresh eggs are simply delicious and a wonderful benefit of keeping chickens on your property. Eggs are extremely nutritious and a healthy food for the whole family. Keeping chickens and eating the eggs they produce is earth friendly as your eggs require no transportation or packaging. Fresh eggs are fabulous but they can also carry bacteria on their shells.
The primary concern with poultry and eggs is salmonella. This can cause you to become seriously ill and can result in serious long term health issues. Eggs can also contain other harmful bacteria and so it worth taking a few simple precautions to guard against infection.
The Coop, Poultry Feeders and Chicken Drinkers
It is essential to maintain a clean environment for your chickens. The should be cleaned regularly and then disinfected. Your should also be cleaned regularly and both food and water should be replaced daily. Feed your chickens inside the coop if possible to ensure that wild birds do not have access to the food.
Rodents will also seek out the food and can be carrying diseases. If there is vegetation around the chicken house then keep it cut down so there are no places for vermin to hide.
Change your chicken bedding at least once each week to ensure that the birds have somewhere clean to lay their eggs. Dirty eggs are not fit for human consumption and should be discarded.
Handling Your Eggs
It is best to collect eggs as soon as possible after they are laid. This is
because the longer they are in the nesting box, the more chance there is that they will be stepped on by chickens. This raises the risk of more bacteria being transferred onto the shells.
If you touch the chickens, their bedding, the poultry feeders or the eggs then always wash your hands using sanitiser. Do not put your hands near your face until they have been cleaned.
Don't Clean Your Eggs
Do not be tempted to clean your eggs until you are ready to use them as this will merely spread bacteria. Even eggs which are not dirty should not be rinsed as they may still be carrying bacteria on their shells. Eggs have a waterproof cuticle or bloom which prevents bacteria from passing through the shell to the eggs. If you wash the eggs then you will weaken this protective bloom and bacteria will be able to pass from the shell to the egg.
Storage and Cooking
Store your eggs in a cool place but not in your fridge. You should prevent the eggs from coming into contact with other foods. Use the eggs within three weeks of being laid. You can help yourself to keep track of the dates by marking the eggs using a pencil. Do not use eggs with damaged shells and always ensure that your eggs are cooked through thoroughly before you eat them.