With Spring now sprung, my guess is that you are getting lots of fresh eggs!
The longer daylight hours and new crop of spring greens to eat, boost a hen’s egg production. Chances are, you have been enjoying fresh eggs on the menu, but still have lots of extras.
Sharing your bounty of eggs is a wonderful way to make someone’s day!
Eggs are freshest when UNWASHED.
If you look at an eggshell up close, you will see hundreds of tiny holes. These are called pores. Pores on the eggshell actually allow tiny bits of oxygen inside the egg, therefore keeping the chick fetus alive during incubation. To ensure these pores leave out unwanted bacteria, the hen coats it in a “bloom.” The bloom is actually a layer of protein that coats the entire eggshell during the very last moments of being laid. It quickly dries, keeping the contents of the egg safe and clean inside.
Farm fresh eggs with an intact bloom can be shared, in fact this is the best way to ensure the cleanliness of your product! Unwashed eggs have a much lower risk of salmonella and can be keep on the counter for up to 2 weeks.
If an egg has too much fecal matter to lightly remove with a dry paper towel, it may be best to just toss it.
Unwashed, fertile eggs will not develop.
I’ve had some friends in the past who were afraid to take any of my flock’s eggs since we had a rooster. The fear was that an unwashed, un-refrigerated egg could start turning into a little chick if fertile. This is actually not the case. A fertile egg can remain at the starting point of development, ready to go, for a couple weeks. It does not start to develop until it is put in an incubator at the temperature of 99.5°F.
A developing chick is totally different from a blood spot or meat spot.
All eggs, whether from your flock or from a large scale, industrial setting, will occasionally have these bizarre, tiny brown or red spots. They are harmless and just a bi-product of the egg making process in hens. Hens that lay darker eggs tend to have more of these. (But that’s a whole different blog post! Haha!) Over time, a meat spot will either turn white, or be reabsorbed. The fresher the egg, the higher the chance of SEEING one of these spots. Just educate your friends, and they will feel more comfortable taking your eggs.
Washed eggs must be refrigerated.
If you do indeed decide to wash your eggs, they must immediately be refrigerated and kept at least 40°F or below. They must also be kept at this temperature during transit to and from whosoever’s home you are sharing them with. Without the protective bloom, eggs run the risk of absorbing unwanted bacteria during the journey.
Take them to work or school.
To wash or not wash is your choice. There can be a stigma of unwashed eggs being dirty, when in reality they are the cleanest. Just be sure to keep washed eggs refrigerated at all times in a fridge or cooler with ice. Unwashed eggs can be left on a counter or table for friends to pickup as they leave work. Invest in some good, clear plastic egg cartons that can be washed. Ask your friends to please return the cartons when they are done and you can wash and re-fill it back up for them!
Set up a roadside stand and ask for “donations.”
Sharing eggs, and actually selling eggs at your home from a roadside stand is legal in most states. Each state has differing laws, so be sure to read up on them. Once you know the laws, you can create any type of box, stand, or cooler to put your eggs in. Just be sure it is in a shady area that doesn’t get too warm for the eggs.
To avoid the rules and regulations of actually selling eggs, simply leave a sign asking for donations. You likely will not get rich from selling eggs. Some people will pay your donation or more, and if someone takes the eggs without any cash, chances are they really needed them anyway.
Contact local food banks.
Many food banks would be thrilled to accept your flock’s extra eggs! What better way to share, than to share with those in need. Your farm eggs would be a nutritious blessing to someone who needs them. Contact your local food bank for exact information.
Share with your pets!
One of the easiest ways to share your eggs, is to share them with your furry or feathered friends! We feed our dogs raw eggs all the time. Although it is usually recommended to cook them first, chickens and dogs both will quickly gobble up some eggs, shell and all. Eggs are just as beneficial to us as they are to other animals, so don’t forget your loyal compadres!