Children handling the eggs at Carmel Mountain Preschool
By: Erin Tessier

It’s time! The chickens have started laying eggs, and we are so excited. They are ahead of the game since usually chickens start laying around 5-7 months, but our chickens started laying eggs at 4 months. Lucky us =). We now have 6 hens. We had a lot of roosters to rehome hence why our total number of chickens went from 14 to 6. We are now rooster free, and the ladies are ruling the roost. The kids have been enjoying feeding the hens extra treats, and collecting eggs.

Learning about the eggs

It’s always best to collect eggs daily since chickens have a tendency to accidentally break them, and then will get a taste for eggs just like us. Then they might start intentionally breaking them to have a snack. Naughty chickens! So we are looking for willing families or individuals that are interested in collecting eggs on weekend days. As of right now we are regularly getting 3 eggs daily and there will be more to come I’m sure. Two eggs are usually laid earlier in the day, and one mid-morning. So if you’re available and want fresh, organic eggs then please sign up in the office on the clipboard. I will send reminder emails to those that write their email addresses next to their names.

Looking at the fresh organic eggs

Some people have asked about cleaning eggs. The answer to that question depends on who you ask. People are generally split on whether or not to wash and the reason is typically because eggs naturally have a protective coating on them that helps prevent microbes and bacteria from entering the egg. Here are some main points about egg handling and storage, provided by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension: Tips for Safe Home-Produced Eggs

Cleaning:

  • Washing eggs isn’t consistently recommended by all sources. However, eggs may be exposed to contaminants such as Salmonella so commercially eggs are cleaned.
  • Eggs should be cleaned before being refrigerated. If you collect eggs on a very hot day, then bring them inside and let them sit for a while prior to washing.
  • Washing can be done by wiping, spraying, pouring or dipping, but soaking eggs even for a small amount of time is dangerous because it allows microbes to enter the shell.
  • It is VERY important to wash eggs with water that is about 90’F (or 20’F warmer than eggs). If eggs are washed with water that is cooler than the eggs, it will force the egg to contract and pull water and microbes through the shell into the egg, causing contamination.
  • You can purchase specific egg cleansers, or simply use distilled white vinegar, diluted half with water.

Storing:

  • Eggs should be placed small end down into cartons/flats.
  • Do not reuse cartons that are not washable.
  • Eggs should be stored at 45’F.
  • Throw any cracked eggs away.
  • Eggs lose quality quickly after being washed. Farm fresh eggs do not last as long as commercially produced eggs since no sanitizers or oil is applied to them.
  • Shelf life for fresh eggs is considered to be 5 weeks.

Please feel free to ask Erin any egg or chicken questions you might have. We really hope you’re able to join us in enjoying our delicious organic eggs!

Looking at the eggs at Carmel Mountain Preschool
Fresh organic eggs at carmel mountain preschool