What To Do In Your Chicken Coop In September

What To Do In Your Chicken Coop In September

September is here…..which means it’s time to think about what to do in your chicken coop in September!

 

It’s pumpkin season, and there’s lots you can do in your coop this month! Help your flock stay healthy and keep your coop in top shape with these tips!

 

If it gets cold early in your area, do a final deep clean before cool weather sets in.

You won’t want to do it when the ground is frozen and you need 3 sets of gloves to stay warm. If you live in a temperate area, now is still the time to deep clean your coop before the days get shorter and you run out of time.

 

You can also decide if the deep litter method is for you.

silkie pullet backyard chicken

Double check windows/doors for tight seals during chilly fall nights

When the wind is howling and there’s freezing rain, those tight seals can mean the difference between life and death. Just double check all your windows and doors seal well, and if not, fix it.

 

Offer your flock pumpkin and/or pumpkin seeds every week. They’ll love the treat, and it’s super healthy for them!

Pumpkin is full of vitamins and minerals, and chickens LOVE to peck at it. The pumpkin seeds might (repeat, might) help your flock rid themselves of worms (studies are inconclusive, but it’s can’t hurt), or at the very least, provide a yummy distraction since bugs and leaves are dying off.

 

You can also make a pumpkin planter like this one, and offer it to your flock when you’re done with it. Just be sure not to paint it!

 

If you have chicks, double check your coop stays the right temperature at night.

This will depend on the age of your chicks – if they only have down or are partially feathered, they will need your help to stay warm.

 

If not, either fix it or come up with a plan to keep chicks warm enough until they’re fully feathered. Remember that heat lamps get very hot and can cause a fire, so avoid them.

 

Hang some fall wreaths or add fall flowers to window boxes

Fall is all about color – and adding a wreath or flowers to your window boxes can brighten up your surroundings and help your flock feel pampered.

 

Backyard chicken coop window

 

If your coop is painted, do a fresh coat before cool weather sets in so your coop looks bright and colorful when the leaves are gone.

Ditto above. When fall’s colors fade, you’ll be glad you made the extra effort to repaint your coop so it looks cheerful even when it’s grey outside.

 

Start adding even more protein to your flock’s diet with mealworms, black soldier fly larvae, or Fluffiest Feathers Ever!

If your flock is molting, a high protein diet will help their feathers regrow. High protein diets also make sure flocks are in great shape to battle the cooler weather. You can feed a high protein diet or treats full time, or just during the molting season.

 

Make a plan for how you’ll keep their water from freezing

It’s bound to happen if you live in a cool area – so now is the time to decide how you’ll prevent freezing, or at least keep fresh water consistently available.

 

Here’s my best ideas for keeping your chickens’ water from freezing.

 

Spend more time with your flock – soon, the weather will be cold and you won’t want to be outside as much.

Nuff said. Here’s a great treat you can make – it includes pumpkin seeds, sage, and more!

 

Add a light to your coop if you want eggs all winter.

As the days get shorter, your hens might stop laying. This is natural, but it’s okay to still want eggs all winter. If you do, then add a light to their coop.

 

If you don’t have power in your coop, you can use a solar generator or a battery powered light. The bulb should stay cool and be a daylight simulator. You can also use a timer to turn it automatically on and off.

Coccidiosis in Chickens

Coccidiosis in Chickens

If your chickens are affected with bloody droppings and are showing a failure to thrive, they might be affected by coccidiosis. This intestinal parasite is common in chickens but can be devastating to a flock, especially in younger chickens that haven’t developed effective immunity against the parasite. The good news is there’s treatment available. 

What Is Coccidiosis?

Coccidiosis is a disease caused by an intestinal protozoa, which is a type of intestinal parasite. When it enters the gut, the stomach acids break down the hard coating around the parasite, basically activating it. Coccidia oocysts then invade the lining of the small intestine and can cause bleeding and prevent the chicken from absorbing nutrients properly. Coccidia can then be spread in your chicken’s feces, going on to affect other chickens in your flock. 

Symptoms of Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis can affect a single chicken or a flock of chickens quite quickly, as the incubation period is only a few days. Depending on the chicken and the level of infection (a few organisms or many), symptoms can appear over many days or occur suddenly. There are even cases of a chicken looking perfect normal on one day and then being dead the next. 

The most common sign of coccidiosis is blood in your chicken’s droppings, but you don’t want to get this confused with cecal droppings, which can be a reddish color. If there’s any question, your veterinarian can examine the stool, performing a diagnostic test called a fecal floatation, which can identify coccidia oocysts. 

Other symptoms of coccidia include: 

  • Ruffled feathers
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Listless chickens
  • Pale comb and/or skin

These symptoms can occur at the same time as or instead of blood in the stool. 

Treating Coccidiosis

The good news about coccidiosis treatment is that it is available over the counter. You should isolate sick chickens from the rest of the flock to help minimize its spread but to also prevent the healthy birds from picking on the sick ones and preventing them from getting nutrition. As far as treatment goes, all of your birds need to be treated to ensure that you clear up the problem.

Amprolium is a commonly used coccidia treatment, also referred to as a coccidiostatic medication. It doesn’t kill the coccidia but blocks the parasites ability to multiply and cause further health issues. The medication is often added to your chickens’ water supply, but you may need to give it orally to sick chickens that aren’t drinking or eating much to ensure they get an effective dose of the medication. Treatment goes on for several days, usually seven. You may also need to give a vitamin B supplement to your birds after treatment, as the medication can affect their ability to metabolize vitamin B. 

When you are treating coccidia, you also want to make sure that your chickens’ living space is cleaned up. Clean out the coop thoroughly and wash all feeders and waterers to help minimize the possibility of transmission. You will want to ensure that these areas are clean and dry, as the protozoa thrives in warm, moist environments. If the area you keep your chickens in is damp or particularly humid, consider a second course of treatment to make sure that treatment is fully effective. 

Most chickens that are actively infected with coccidia will have decreased egg production or stop laying eggs altogether. While the medication has zero egg withdrawal time in most countries, you should consult with your veterinarian about whether the eggs should be eaten or not. Unfortunately, some young chickens develop intestinal scarring and fibrosis when they have chronic coccidiosis, which can result in them not absorbing nutrients from their food very effectively. These chickens are often poor egg layers as they develop. 

Preventing Coccidiosis

Coccidiosis is easily spread in chickens, as it is transmitted through the stool. It can be passed from chicken to chicken via contaminated water or food. You might even inadvertently pass it to your chickens from contaminated tools like shovels or even on the bottom of your shoes, which is one reason proper cleaning procedures and quarantine should be maintained especially when new chickens are brought onto a property. 

While most healthy chickens develop an immunity to coccidiosis over time, they will only build up the immunity to the strain that they are exposed to. If they get exposed to another strain, such as if you bring in chickens affected with a different strain of coccidiosis, it is possible for your chickens to get sick, even if they have overcome an infection previously. 

If you have chickens that keep getting coccidiosis, you should work with your veterinarian to try and identify a cause. Poor housing conditions or an underlying health condition may be to blame. 

Medications such as amprolium can be given to treat or prevent widespread coccidiosis infections within your flock, but using the medications too often or chronically can lead to resistant coccidia that are not treatable with medication. When you get chicks, check to see if they have been vaccinated for coccidiosis, although this is not always done as the chickens will only be protected against the strain they are vaccinated against. You might also consider a medicated started feed. Don’t use this if you have chicks that have been vaccinated, as it can cancel out the vaccine they received. 

Housing management is the best course of action for helping to prevent coccidiosis. Keep the environment clean and disinfected regularly. Make sure your chickens’ dishes are kept clean. Also make sure you don’t just toss food on the ground, where it will be easier for your chickens to become infected with coccidia. 

You should also ensure that your chickens have plenty of space. Each chicken needs a minimum of four square feet in its coop to do well. Overcrowding your chickens is a recipe for disaster and can ensure the parasite spreads quickly through the coop. 

If your area gets affected with deep freezes, that’s a great way to kill off coccidia. Unfortunately, however, many areas around the world feature periods of humidity and wet weather, where the coccidia thrives. 

In Summary

Coccidosis is a commonly chicken parasite that can be devastating to a flock. One of the most common signs is bloody stool. While treatment is available over the counter, you should check with your veterinarian to help get a diagnosis. 

How Cold is Too Cold for Chickens?

How Cold is Too Cold for Chickens?

No matter how experienced you are in raising chickens, as the mercury begins to drop you might start second-guessing yourself and wondering, “how cold is too cold for chickens?”

This is a concern raised by chicken keepers everywhere, but especially those who live in cold, unforgiving climates. Luckily, chickens are pretty hardy creatures and can withstand the bitter cold much better than you might think. 

There are some conditions you’ll want to keep in mind, of course. For example, some chicken breeds aren’t as adept at withstanding the cold as others. There are certain precautions you can take, too, to help your birds shed the cold and continue to stay healthy.

Here’s what you need to know. 

How Cold is Too Cold For Your Chickens?

Your chickens are tougher than you might think. In fact, even though they aren’t wearing big, puffy coats like us in the wintertime, they have natural defenses against the cold that can keep them warm. 

Chickens have several types of feathers. There are wispy feathers and plumage feathers. The plumage feathers are the colored ones that are easiest to see when you quickly glance at your birds. The wispy feathers are similar to down in that they stick tightly to the skin and keep chickens warm, essentially creating an airtight barrier. 

Not only that, but chickens also have high metabolisms. They have higher resting temperatures than we do. While a human stays around 98 degrees, chickens are closer to 105 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, their hearts beat a lot faster than hours – up to 400 beats per minute. This helps your birds stay warm even when you’re running toward the woodstove.

Depending on the breed, most chickens can survive inside an unheated, uninsulated coop at temperatures that are well below freezing. There’s no hard and fast number on how cold is too cold for chickens, since there are so many variables that affect a chicken’s cold hardiness. Here are a few.

Breed

Some chicken breeds are naturally better at shaking the cold than others. Usually, chickens that are heavy and large will be better at staying warm. Some of the best breeds for winter weather include:

  • Barred Rocks
  • Salmon Faverolles
  • New Hampshire Reds
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Wyandottes
  • Jersey Giants
  • Australorps 
  • Welsummers 
  • Sussex
  • Orpingtons
  • Barred Rocks 
  • Delawares
  • Brahmas

Cold-hardy chicken breeds are those that have high body fat and don’t have any areas of exposed skin. Similarly, frizzles (or curly feathers) along with feathered feet can make chickens more sensitive to the cold. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid breeds like Silkies, which don’t dry out easily in cold, wet weather. 

Weather Conditions 

It can be tough to determine how cold your chickens can get because it’s not just the temperature you’ll need to keep an eye on. In fact, chickens tend to be more sensitive to humidity and moisture than actual cold. 

In almost all cases, chickens will handle cold, dry weather better than cold, wet weather. This is especially true if your coop has a tendency to hold moisture. A driving wind can also lower the ambient temperature and make it more difficult for your chickens to stay warm, too.

Age and Life Stage

Finally, consider how old your chickens are (and whether they are in any particular stage of life that would make them more sensitive to the cold). For example, young birds and those who are molting may not have as many feathers to withstand the cold. You’ll need to take a few extra steps to keep them warmer during unusually cold weather.

How to Help Your Chickens Stay Warm 

Avoid a Heater

The number one tip to remember when helping your chickens stay warm is that nine times out of ten, they do not need a heater.

Heaters are problematic for several reasons. First, with all that bedding, you’re inviting a fire. Chickens do not need a heater because they will huddle up together at night to stay warm. A well-ventilated coop with plenty of fresh bedding (and a proper ratio of roost bars to chickens) is all your birds need. 

Another issue with a heater is that, if the power goes out (or when your chickens venture outside) they will suffer from the fluctuation in temperature. Your chickens don’t have a hard time acclimating to the cold when it’s always cold out -but when they can’t adjust to sudden swings, that’s when health problems arise.

As long as your coop is well-ventilated, it doesn’t need to be insulated, either. In fact, too much insulation can be detrimental because it makes it difficult for moisture to escape. Believe it or not, chickens release a lot of moisture when they breathe, so a too-tight coop can lead to moisture build-up in the coop. This will chill your chickens much faster than the cold weather will. 

Try Deep Litter

Deep litter is a method of bedding that allows bedding material and chicken manure to build up over the year. By winter, you’ll have a foot or more of composting material on the floor of the coop. As you probably already know if you have a compost bin, the composting bedding will give off heat and will warm the coop naturally. You can clean it out come spring.

Feed at Night

Feed your chickens at night during particularly cold spells. If you give them high-energy foods, like cracked corn, they’ll stay warmer overnight as their stomachs work to digest the food. 

Keep Them Occupied

Make sure your chickens are kept entertained during the day – the activity will boost their metabolisms even further, helping them stay warm. Ideally, you should let your chickens out of the coop to roam around during the day, but you might find that, when it’s super snowy, your chickens don’t want to venture outside (although the cold does not bother them, they aren’t fond of walking in heavy snowpack). 

If your chickens can’t be encouraged to go outside, consider hanging a head of cabbage by some twine in the coop. This will entertain your chickens on the darkest days of winter.

Harness the Power of the Sun 

Consider adding a sunroom to your coop. You can do this in several ways. 

A coop with plenty of natural lighting is best, as this will help warm the coop during the day (and the coop will hang on to some heat at night, too). You can also build a cold frame-style addition to your coop or run by covering a section with clear plastic. This will give your chickens somewhere to relax in the sun during the day – and as a side bonus, it will usually stay free of snow, too. 

Don’t Forget the Roosts

Chickens don’t need a heater! Again, they just need a place to roost. The key to warm chickens is a good roost set-up. The roosts will not only keep chickens off the cold ground (ideally, two to three feet off the ground) but they will also allow the birds to huddle together. When chickens are able to roost properly, they’ll be able to use their feathers and bodies to cover up their cold-sensitive feet, too. 

Guard Against Frostbite

As long as your coop is well-ventilated, you shouldn’t have to worry about frostbite. However, in the coldest winter climates, some chicken breeds who have large wattles and combs may develop frostbite. Luckily, it’s nothing serious – it will just cause some discoloration on these parts of your birds. 

However, you can protect against it by dabbing some petroleum jelly on the wattles and combs. It forms a moisture-resistant barrier. 

Plan for Laying Declines

Your hens’ laying patterns will naturally decline during the winter – that is only to be expected. It is caused not only by a reduction in natural daylight hours but also the fact that your chickens are spending more calories on staying warm than they are on producing eggs. 

If you’re really concerned about a drop in egg production, you can add a light to the coop. This is really only for your benefit, though – the chickens don’t necessarily need it. 

Water is Essential

Your chickens will naturally eat a bit more during the winter months, since they don’t have access to fresh forage and they need to eat just to stay warm, too. Make sure they have consistent access to feed and remember – without water, the feed is pointless.

One of the biggest challenges of raising chickens during the winter is having to deal with frozen waterers. Consider using waterers with heated bases to help prevent the waterers from freezing. Don’t forget to refill often – eight chickens need at least a gallon of water per day. 

Chickens: They’re More Cold-Hardy Than You Think!

When it comes to raising chickens during the winter, you’ve got to give them some credit – they’re tougher than you might think! While there will be some extra work involved when you are raising chickens during the winter, ultimately, the stress will be on you and not on them. Collect eggs a few more times during the day and make sure the waterers stay thawed out. Otherwise, your chickens will hardly even know that it’s winter outside!

Best Hatcheries to Buy Cinnamon Queens

Best Hatcheries to Buy Cinnamon Queens

First and foremost. The Cinnamon Queen really isn’t made of cinnamon. It’s a chicken, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t made of everything nice. Cinnamon Queens have made quite a name for themselves as amazing layers. These 6 pound hens produce a plethora of lovely brown eggs whose production starts early on in a hen’s life. What’s even better is that they are sex-linked, so even when they are downy little handfuls of fuzz, you will know what your batch will be: layers or roosters. These reddish brown chickens are quite friendly and are solid additions to any flock. Best of all, the abundance of eggs ensure that anyone wanting a self-sustaining diet will be most pleased. 

So where can one go for these spicy girls? Below is a list of some of the most available locations where Cinnamon Queens can be found. 

1. The Georgia Mad Hatcher (hyperlink name of hatchery to http://the-georgia-mad-hatcher.mybigcommerce.com/day-old-cinnamon-queen-pullets-hatching-may-30th/)

Cinnamon Queen Pullets: $5.00

The Georgia Mad Hatcher is based in Hawkinsville, GA, and provides a number of selections of the finest fowls under the sun or moon. Being based in the south, they provide high quality service and correspondence with famed Southern hospitality. They have been in the hatchery business for over a decade whose expertise runs the spectrum of chickens and a number of water fowl. Although they are based on the south side of the East Coast, they are a fantastic source of all chicken needs, considering they ship to ALL 50 States!

Advantages

  • Substantial bulk rates.
  • Free shipping on hatching eggs. 
  • Live poultry available for pick up during first 72 hours of hatching
  • 100% healthy guarantee. 
  • Ships to all 50 States.
  • No minimum order limit.

Disadvantages

  • Live chickens are pick-up only. 

2. Cackle Hatchery (hyperlink name of hatchery tohttps://www.cacklehatchery.com/cinnamon-queentm-chicken.html)

Cinnamon Queen Female Chicks Price: $3.81

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, water fowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source for supplies and book. Cinnamon Queens are available only as baby chicks, and they are a very seasonal bird, available only early March through July

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male or not-sexed day-old chicks.
  • Vaccinations available.
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds).

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability. 
  • Sold as baby chicks only.

3. Purely Poultry: (hyperlink name https://www.purelypoultry.com/cinnamon-queen-chickens-p-375.html)

Not Sexed Day-Old Cinnamon Queen Female Price: $4.53

As a family-owned business, Purely Poultry has some of the best customer service around. They pride themselves on their knowledge of their products, selection, and how-to details related to everything they offer, including ducks, chickens, geese, and lots of other birds! 

Located in Durand, WI, they guarantee live birds with every order, which is a good promise, indeed! 

Advantages:

  • Each order backed by live arrival guarantee.
  • Small order minimum on chicks with discounted shipping on bulk orders. 
  • Other kinds of poultry offered, too.

Disadvantages:

  • Not a huge advantage to buying multiple chicks – discounts are minimal.

4. The Chick Hatchery.com (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://thechickhatchery.com/home/cinnamon-queen/)

Average Straight Cinnamon Queen Chicken Price: $2.85

The Chick hatchery is Michigan’s “premier source for superior quality poultry.” With a creed that revolves around the sharing and joy of raising chickens, they operate in no-kill facilities. They raise their chickens humanely, with any unsold chicks going to Amish farms. Much of the experience of raising chickens is the awareness of the individual chicken and the relationship between food and our own health.

Their Cinnamon Queen Chickens are available from February to September. 

Advantages

  • Ships a minimum of 3 of each sex.
  • All poultry guaranteed live delivery.
  • Offers discounts on orders of larger quantities of birds*. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited availability – February to September.
  • Does not ship to Hawaii or outside the USA.

5. Valley Farms Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://www.valleyfarmshatchery.com/online-store/Black-Australorp-Chicks-p112829153)

Average Straight-Run Cinnamon Queen Chick Price: $2.45

Valley Farms Hatchery is located in Alabama and is one of the few large commercial chick hatcheries located in the southern United States. If you live in the south, that’s one good reason to give Valley Farms a try – you won’t have to ship your new Cinnamon Queen chickens long distances, which can cut down dramatically on shipping stress.

You can buy fertile hatching eggs along with Cinnamon Queen chicks from this hatchery. You’ll find some of the lowest price, here, too, with a minimum order of just three chicks. If you buy males, interestingly, the order minimum is just one bird. Buying in bulk poses several advantages though, especially if you can buy more than 50 birds at once – you’ll get significant savings.

Advantages:

  • Each order is backed by a 100% live delivery guarantee, no matter where you live.
  • One chick minimum order if you’re buying males.
  • Optional Marek’s vaccination.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited shipping dates

6. The Chicken Depot (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://thechickdepot.com/products/cinnamon-queen)

Unsexed Cinnamon Queen Chick Price: $2.58

The Chicken Depot is a one-stop poultry shop that boasts the largest variety of poultry and fowl in Michigan. With its location in Gladwin, right in the middle of Michigan, it gives founder Roberta a great location through which to share her love of chickens with others all throughout the USA. When not taking and fulfilling orders, the staff is busy interacting with the abundance of fowl on the farm. 

Advantages

  • Ships a minimum of 3 female or unsexed, or a single male!
  • Live arrival guarantee and replacement policies. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited availability.
  • As of 7/14/2020, no longer booking shipped orders due to postal delays. 

7. Hoover’s Hatchery: (hyperlink name to https://hoovershatchery.com/cinnamonqueen.html)

Unsexed Cinnamon Queen Chick Price: $3.21

Hoover’s Hatchery is a massive poultry production hatchery located in Rudd, IA. Hoover’s supplies many farm and garden supply stores in the United States with their chicks, making them a smart choice if you want to skip the middleman and order from the hatchery directly.

Plus, Hoover’s offers free shipping on practically everything you order. You’ll have to buy at least 15 chicks; so Hoover’s might not be the best option if you live in a city with chicken restrictions. However, as long as you’re willing to buy in bulk, it’s a smart choice. You can even mix and match your order by adding other birds of other chicken breeds along with poultry species like pheasants, turkeys, guineas, ducks, and more. 

Advantages:

  • Excellent guarantee and refund policy in case of shipping problems
  • Hatches chicks during the winter, one of the few hatcheries to do so
  • Discounts on increased orders up to 25+.

Disadvantages:

  • Large minimum order (15 to 20 depending on size)

8. Country Max (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.countrymax.com/cinnamon-queen-chicken/)

Cinnamon Queen Chick Price: $2.99

If you are in New York State, chances are that Country Max, whose headquarters is in Victor, NY, is the place for you. They have 17 conveniently-located stores primarily in Central to Western, NY to help make all of your pet supply dreams come true. In addition to a diverse selection of chickens, they are home to hundreds of products relating to pets and homes, form dogs, to lawn and gardens, to horses. They got their start as a small farm supply and feed store in 1985, and have since branched out tremendously. It truly is a one-stop shop for all your out-of-house needs. 

Advantages

  • Offers a 30-day full money back guarantee. 
  • Free shipping for orders over $49.99. 

Disadvantages

  • Minimum order of 6 units. 
  • In-store pickup only. 
  • Limited information about their poultry. 

9. Mill Valley Chickens (hyperlink name of hatchery to https://www.millvalleychickens.com/chickens-for-sale.html)

Sexed Cinnamon Queen chick: $19.99

Holistic and humane, Mill Valley takes pride in the love they raise their chickens with. Indeed, they ensure that all bedding is devoid of metal wiring, that their chickens receive only the highest quality organic feed, and ensure plenty of natural lighting. With all this care and attention, they have a single goal: to get you the highest quality chicks in the best possible health. From their headquarters in Marin County, CA, they not only raise chickens, but they design coops, and offer courses on raising chickens. 

Advantages

  • All chicks are a flat rate (unless otherwise noted). 
  • Provides a number of hatching dates. 
  • All chicks come vaccinated for Marek’s Disease. 
  • Offer a 90% sexing guarantee for all chicks.

Disadvantages

  • Cluttered product web page. 
  • Pick up or limited shipping. 

10. Abendroth’s Hatchery (hyperlink the hatchery name to https://abendrothshatchery.com/birds/cinnamon-queen/)

Straight Run Cinnamon Queen: $1.95

Since 1965, starting with a single incubator and dreams of 4-H success, the Abendroth Hatchery has been producing high quality chicks. Then, in 2000, the hatchery really took off in the form that it is now, located in Waterloo, WI. Chickens have become the heart of multiple generations of the Abendroth family, and with this, they provide tremendous customer service and scads of knowledge to help answer all of your chicken questions. 

Check out their pdf (https://abendrothshatchery.com/wp-content/themes/Hatchery/assets/images/ABENDROTH_CATALOG_final.pdf) for information about all of your family’s poultry needs. 

Advantages

  • All hatchery information is conveniently available in a single downloadable pdf. 
  • Guarantees that all birds will arrive alive and healthy. 
  • 95% sexing accuracy. 
  • Ship all over the USA.

Disadvantages

  • Closed on the weekends. 

How To Clean Fresh Eggs (And When Not To)

How To Clean Fresh Eggs (And When Not To)

How to clean fresh eggs was something that didn’t concern me for years.

 

After all, we were the only ones eating them, so if there was a spot on them or a bit of dirt, it didn’t bother me.

 

Since eggs automatically have something called a “bloom,” which is a natural coating on the shell that helps keep out bacteria, washing them for your own use isn’t really necessary (unless they’re super dirty).

 

Egg shells are naturally porous to allow for an exchange of oxygen as the chick grows. From an evolutionary standpoint, the purpose of the bloom is to keep bacteria out of the egg so the chick embryo can have a safe environment to grow. Learn more about the insides of chicken eggs.

 

Because of this, washing fresh chicken eggs isn’t always advised.

 

READ NEXT: 10 WEIRD EGGS & WHAT THEY MEAN

 

In fact, it can be harmful because when you wash chicken eggs, you simultaneously remove that protective barrier as well as push some bacteria in through the pores of the shell, potentially contaminating your eggs.

 

However…

 

Once we decided to buffer our homestead income by selling eggs, however, worrying how to wash fresh eggs became quite the priority.

 

In our state, we’re allowed to sell fresh eggs from our homestead to other families, but since not everyone appreciates feathers and dirt, we had to figure out how to clean fresh eggs.

 

How to clean fresh eggs

 

When it comes to how to wash fresh eggs, if your chicken eggs are not really dirty, in other words, there’s no poop or other gross stuff on them, then just wipe them with a dry cloth, which leaves the protective bloom intact.

 

If there’s manure on your eggs, and you want to wash them, then you first need to make sure you wash them in water that’s not a drastic difference from their temperature.

 

This is to prevent cracking.

 

If the eggs are cold, use cool water. If it’s hot out (or they were just laid), and the eggs are warm, use warm water.

 

If it’s winter and you only want to use warm water to cut down on potential bacteria, then sit your eggs on your kitchen counter until they’re at room temperature.

 

To wash the fresh eggs, simply dampen a rag and wipe the egg until it’s clean. It will then need to be refrigerated because the bloom is gone, and bacteria can easily get inside it.

 

If you would like to go with something more involved, you can use a commercial egg washing solution.

 

If you don’t want to actually wash your eggs, but still want to remove manure, you can try using a very fine grain sandpaper.

 

Gently scrub the manure off, but don’t do it for too long and remove the egg shell accidentally.

 

The bloom will still be removed in those spots, so you will have to store them in the fridge.

 

READ NEXT: HOW TO TELL IF YOUR HENS ARE LAYING

 

But…

Now, when it comes to eggs, the best thing to do is make sure they don’t get dirty in the first place.

 

Make sure you keep your nesting boxes clean, using shavings and/or straw to keep them fresh, and changing the bedding frequently. This will also cut down on diseases and potential pathogens. Learn more about nesting herbs here.

 

Another way to prevent dirty eggs is to put your nesting boxes lower in the coop than your roosting bars, and to keep the nesting boxes away from your roosting bars.

 

Chickens like to rest on the highest point in a coop, so if your nesting boxes are the highest spot, guess where they’ll roost?

 

Also, if your nesting boxes are kept under the roosting bar, then your chickens will likely poop all over them.

 

Chickens don’t have bladders like mammals, so they poop whenever and wherever they get the urge – avoid gnarly eggs by encouraging your hens to only lay eggs in their nesting boxes and to not use them as a bathroom.

 

Make sure you collect any fresh eggs from the coop frequently.

 

Check your nesting boxes at least daily, if possible, and remove any eggs.

 

The more frequently you check them, the less likely they will be pooped on.

 

In extreme weather, this is especially important.

 

Embryo development starts to happen when the internal egg temperature is 99.5 degrees, making leaving eggs out in summer heat a cause for concern.

 

In very cold weather, you eggs can freeze and crack.

 

Storing your fresh eggs

 

To properly store eggs, after you’ve washed them, place them in a carton with the pointy side down.

 

I store my eggs in a carton and not in the egg holders built into the refrigerator. Since opening and closing the door means the temperature fluxuates frequently, this can cause bacterial growth in your eggs.

 

Just store them in a carton on a main shelf in your fridge.

 

READ NEXT: 5 CHICKEN BREEDS TO RAISE FOR COLORED EGGS

 

If you don’t plan to use the eggs in near future, write the date you stored them on the carton so you don’t forget how old the eggs are, and you can make sure to use the oldest eggs first.

 

If you’re not sure how old the eggs are, or if they’re good to eat, you can do the egg float test.

 

 

I’d like to hear from you!

Did you know how to clean fresh eggs? Will you try any of the ideas above? Leave a comment below!


Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more! Click here to learn more.


 

Egg Float Test: Is That “Fresh” Egg is Good Or Bad?

Egg Float Test: Is That “Fresh” Egg is Good Or Bad?

Not sure if that “fresh” egg is good or bad? Try the egg float test!

 

Why do you need to know about the egg float test? Chickens are masters at hiding their eggs if they want.

 

Every so often, I come across a nest of “fresh” eggs on the homestead – and I have no idea how long they’ve been there, and if they’re good or bad.

 

Chickens like to hide their eggs in dark, tight places.

 

Why?

 

It’s an evolutionary thing – eggs that are hidden are less likely to be snagged by a predator.

 

At the same time, if a chicken wants to hatch eggs, which requires sitting for long periods of time, a dark place is best – she’s more likely to be left alone.

 

But let’s say you come across a nest, and aren’t sure how old the eggs are, and whether you should just toss them.

 

Want to know how to tell if eggs are good? That’s where the egg float test comes in!

 

If you’ve never tried the egg float test, it’s a great and visually easy way to tell if eggs are fresh.

 

Also, if you have store-bought eggs in your fridge that are expired, it’s worth trying the egg float test to determine if they’re okay to use.

 

Try the egg float test to see if your eggs are good or bad. Come across a nest of eggs and don't know if they're good or bad? Test them! From FrugalChicken

 

So, how do you perform the egg float test?

 

The egg float test is easy.

 

First, grab a cup of cool (not ice cold and definitely not hot) water.

 

If you want to try the egg float test using a mason jar, make it easy on yourself, and use a wide-mouthed jar so you can get the egg out easier.

 

A cup of water works well, too.

 

To complete the egg float test, just gently insert your egg into the water.

 

According to the egg float test, if your eggs rise to the top of the water, they’re too old to use.

 

But if they sink, they’re fresh and still good to eat.
Of course with anything there’s a catch.

 

What does the egg float test mean if your egg sort of floats, but sort of sinks?

 

If your egg suspends on one end, it’s technically still okay to eat, but you need to use it soon. 

 

Personally, I usually toss these eggs to my pigs, since there’s typically fresher eggs available.

 

I know the pigs appreciate them.

 

And remember…

 

Once you’ve put the egg in water, you’ve stripped off the bloom, which means air can get into the egg quicker. (Learn more about cleaning eggs here).

 

So, if the eggs sink, you’ll probably want to use them sooner rather than later. (Learn more about how long eggs stay fresh).

 

So, what’s the science behind the egg float test?

 

Good question.

 

Egg shells, as you might know, are porous, meaning they let air into them. (Learn more about the anatomy of an egg here).

 

So…

 

The fresher an egg is, the less air it has inside of it, so it sinks.

 

Old eggs, however, have more air in them because oxygen has had time to permeate the shell. So, they float.

 

Because of all this, the egg float test is considered an accurate way to test your whether those eggs you found are okay to eat, or if you should just toss them.

 

Other “Freshness” Tests: How to Tell if Eggs are Good

 

There are a couple other ways besides the egg float test to tell if the eggs you found are fresh.

 

One option is to candle the eggs, just as you would if you were to hatch them.

 

In this test, you’re looking to see how intact the yolk is (the more intact the more likely it’s fresh).

 

And, similar to the egg float test, you’re looking to see how much air is inside the egg (the more air space, the older the egg is).

 

Another test is to hold the egg up to your ear.
If you hear a lot of movement, the egg is said to be old, but if you don’t hear anything, then the egg is fresh.

 

Personally, I prefer the egg float test, and I have more experience with it.

 

Now that you’ve determined your eggs are fresh using the egg float test, how about some egg recipes to help you use them up?

 

I’d like to hear from you!

 

Do you think you’ll try the egg float test? Email me at [email protected] or comment below!


More Chicken Egg Articles:


Chickens: Naturally Raising A Sustainable Flock is my best selling book about raising healthy hens! You’ll learn how to handle sticky first aid situations, raise baby chicks with the week-by-week checklist, how to give the best care even in the worst weather, and more!

Click here to learn more.