Collecting your fresh eggs is one of the greatest joys and excitements of backyard chicken keeping. They’re just so darn tasty, and the kids and I love the anticipation of going to the nesting boxes and seeing how many we’ve got that day.
We hope the chickens are done laying by the time we feed them breakfast. Then suddenly we hear the hens cackling loudly as a sign or clue that they’re laying in the afternoon and the idea of once a day egg collecting goes down the drain.
So, how often should you collect eggs? How often is enough? How often is too much?
Well, the optimal frequency to collect eggs is at least once a day, every day, for a number of reasons.
Discourages egg eating:
If the eggs are left in the coop for too long, sometimes an overly inquisitive chicken might peck at it. This can lead to the incredibly annoying habit of egg-eating! Collecting the eggs every day minimizes the egg-eating opportunity for your flock.
Another habit that hens can develop is broodiness, where they will sit on eggs and try to hatch them. If the eggs are left in the nesting box, there’s more chance the hen will sit on them. She’ll be quite moody when you do come and try to take the eggs away from her!
Less chance of damaged goods:
The longer the eggs are in the coop, the more of a chance the chickens might accidentally step on or crush them accidentally. So collecting the eggs frequently really does minimize risk!
Poop and Bacteria:
The longer the eggs remain in the nest box, the more chance that someone may poo on them. Other yucky bacteria can be carried into the nest boxes by the chickens, especially on their feet. Since bacteria can't be seen by the naked eye it is not easily removed. The longer the eggs sit there…the more hens visit the nest….the more chance of bacteria and poo getting on the egg.
The shells of eggs are porous and can absorb whatever coming into contact with the outside of the egg.
To help keep nesting boxes clean you can use these awesome liners that you can just take out and hose off when they need it.
Predators generally remember where they got their last free meal, so if the neighborhood snake or raccoon finds them once they will be back! The day might come when they come back and there are no eggs…..then they will look to chicks or even attempt a full-grown hen! Other predators like opossums, foxes, skunks, and rats also like eggs.
Collecting the eggs every day also helps you keep track of which are fresh, especially if you go through eggs as often as we do! There’s nothing worse than mixing them up and finding that you’ve let one go bad!
If you can only get to collect your eggs once every few days, why not try these awesome Rollaway Nest Box Insert?
It slides under the nesting box so that when your chickens have laid their egg. It rolls away from where their prying beaks and eager feet can get to them – leaving them safe and clean waiting for you to collect eggs at your next convenience!