Chicken Science with a chicken scientist. Dr Brigid McCrea

Chicken Science with a Chicken Scientist!

Yeah, you read that right. Chicken scientists are real, and we met one!!! 🤩 Dr. Brigid McCrea is a Small Flock Poultry Extension Specialist with Alabama Cooperative Extension, and an adjunct in the Auburn University Poultry Science Department. She is a microbiologist wizard who knows all the important things about backyard birds and their eggs. 

So what do you do when you meet a poultry all-star? You ask the buzzard burning questions you've been dying to ask, like:

  • Should you wash your eggs before you eat them? 🍳
  • Should you wash your eggs before you store them? 🧊
  • and how does a chicken scientist wash eggs? 👩‍🔬
To hear the answers to those questions and more, go ahead and click on the video below. Or if you like reading, find yourself a cozy spot and get ready for some learning!  👍

Should you wash your eggs before you eat them? 

Dr. McCrea: "Absolutely. I'm trained as a poultry microbiologist. So I know what evil lurks on the shells of eggs and it's not fun stuff. 🦠 You would rather not get sick from what can grow on the outside of an egg shell and depending on how you crack open your eggs, you can occasionally force those contents into the edible interior. Nobody wants that." 🙅

Should you wash your eggs before you store them?

Dr. McCrea: "What are you using your eggs for? If you're planning to use your eggs to hatch out chicks, there's not necessarily any need for it. Now, if your eggs are for eating and not going into the incubator, yeah, go ahead and wash them, 💦 and stick them in the refrigerator. ❄️ And then, the high, high quality of those eggs that your chickens put forth on a daily basis is going to be maintained. Don't waste your chickens hard work by letting them sit on the counter where the interior quality deteriorates every single day. 🥚 Put those eggs in the refrigerator, preserve your harvest and preserve the hard work of your hens."

Something really interesting I learned from Dr. McCrea is that yes it's safe to leave eggs on the counter unwashed for an extended period of time, but the quality of that egg continues to diminish every single day. For comparison, the quality of an egg that is washed and stored in the refrigerator will take 2 weeks to deteriorate to the quality of the same egg not washed and left on the counter for one single day! So if you have the fridge space, wash and store your backyard eggs as soon as you can to keep those eggs as fresh and high quality as possible for as long as possible.

How does a chicken scientist wash eggs?

Dr. McCrea: "Well, I bring them in, in a wire egg basket and I set them down into the sink. I'll take them out of the basket and rinse them. 💦 Check them. (I) look to see if there's any adhering foreign material. 💩 And then I'll use my GoodEgg brush to get any adhering foreign material off. And then I let them air dry on an egg tray sitting right next to the sink. So they go from basket, to sink with a GoodEgg brush, and then to drying on the countertop."

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