Question for chicken keepers - egg storage problems

laura_nash

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Hi

We have three free-range chickens, had them about 3 months now and they are doing very well and giving us a couple of eggs a day. The problem is that the eggs seem to start going mouldy within a couple of days. I've never had this with shop bought eggs and I'm not sure why it is happening - they are kept in a wooden "egg house" with a mesh front (not in the fridge). I do often wash them after collection as one hen has a habit of pooing and then laying on it, but I always dry thoroughly afterwards with some kitchen towel.

The "mould" looks like spots within the shell, the egg inside seems to be fine although I am worried about eating it. I've tried googling but they all seem to talk about mould as an actual substance on the surface of the egg, whereas this seems to be more within the shell. Is this actually something else / something normal and not something to worry about? It is easiest to see on the white eggs (from our Light Sussex) but appears on all three kinds.



Can anyone put my mind at rest?

Thanks for reading
 
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Are you sure it is not thin patches on the shell, are they aged hens, are the shells thin, young hens [21 weeks to 12 months] should have thick shells.
Store the eggs point down in a cool place.
Feed them oyster grit if they don;t get any. The feed should provide calcium.
There is no way a mould can get inside in my experience.
If washing, use dilute anti bacteria washing up liquid and dry with a paper towel.
 
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EQUIDAE

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Looks like thin patches in the Shell to me. In my experience this shows the eggs are infertile. Ive never had an egg like this hatch, but near 100% success if they don't.

To test if the eggs are OK put them in a jug of water. If they lie flat they are fresh, if an and lifts a bit they are still good but won't make nice neat poached or fried eggs, if they float they are bad.

Eta - eggs are still fertile 2 weeks after laying. 4 weeks and they will still be ok. Even 6 weeks is fresher than some supermarket eggs (happy eggs)
 

jrp204

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Pretty sure it is just the shell, not mould. Try to avoid washing eggs, dry wipe them, shell is porous allowing water and dirt into the egg which can cause problems.
What are you feeding them? If you have them on corn I would put them onto a layers meal.
 
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MotherOfChickens

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that isn't mold, its indicative of an infection in the hen. could be viral or bacterial and they could well be asymptomatic, latent or recovered by now. You'll probably never get rid of that effect on the shell though. It wont hurt you. make sue they are getting enough protein and calcium plus maybe an immune booster in their water-I really like Orego-Stim.
 

laura_nash

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Thanks everyone

They're not aged hens, they were bought as pullets. They're fed layers pellets, plus whatever they scratch up in the field. They have a container of oyster grit. They certainly aren't showing any signs of infection, very bright and active.

The shells are good and thick (thicker than shop bought ones) and the eggs sink immediately in water and appear very fresh when cooked (which they are of course). They are definately infertile eggs as no rooster!

The odd thing is that the patches aren't there immediately, it appears after 2-3 days, so that doesn't seem right for thin patches in the shell?

I will try dry wiping instead of washing.
 

Clodagh

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Do you know for sure they are young hens? Were they POL when you got them?
It is really bad to wash an egg, you wash the bacteria into the egg, thruogh the natural protective membrane. If you must wash them use warm water as apparently it seals the shell a bit.
Young hens should not poo while laying, that is an old hen trait, IMO.
Do the hens sleep in the nest box? Are you sure they don't have any mites?
 

PorkChop

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I don't wash our eggs, and I don't refrigerate them either, they are good for a couple of weeks.

Not sure what is causing the mottling though.
 

splashgirl45

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my friend keeps chickens and she was told by an experienced chicken breeder not to wash eggs before storing. might be worth trying and if you feel they are too dirty just rinse them off immediately before using.
 

laura_nash

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Do you know for sure they are young hens? Were they POL when you got them?
I don't know absolutely no, though the seller lives locally and is well thought of. Yes, they were POL. We did get one egg a day from the start, so I guess its possible the one that tends to poo and lay was older and was the one laying from the start.

Do the hens sleep in the nest box? Are you sure they don't have any mites?
Yes, they have taken to sleeping in the nest box recently. They have a seperate area with a perch and used to sleep in there for the first couple of weeks we had them, but these days they are usually in the nest box when I shut them in. I assumed this was due to the weather, it has been very windy.

I haven't seen any evidence of mites, I shake out or replace the bedding in the nest box every day so presumably I would see / feel something? The hens feathers are all in great condition, no bare bits etc.
 

Lacuna

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jrp204

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Yes, they have taken to sleeping in the nest box recently. They have a seperate area with a perch and used to sleep in there for the first couple of weeks we had them, but these days they are usually in the nest box when I shut them in. I assumed this was due to the weather, it has been very windy.

I haven't seen any evidence of mites, I shake out or replace the bedding in the nest box every day so presumably I would see / feel something? The hens feathers are all in great condition, no bare bits etc.
Is it possible to block off the nesters when you shut them in, you would have to unblock them later on once the hens have perched and settled.
Run your finger along the bottom of the perches, if it comes up red you have red mite.
 

Clodagh

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If I have gens that sleep[ in the nest box I do as jrp24 says and block the nest boxes off mid afternoon (or whenever handy after they have all laid). Then they have to sleep on the perch. When I shut them right in for the night I unblock the nestbox so they can lay first thing if they want to. It gets them back in the perch habit and keeps the eggs cleaner.
 
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