Sometimes your chickens can lay much more than you need or can use. However, it is very important to continue to collect the eggs regularly for a variety of different reasons.
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When Should You Collect Chicken Eggs?
It is recommended to collect eggs twice a day – once in the early morning and again in the early afternoon or very late morning.
If you hens are cackling (singing the egg song), it is probably a sign that they are still busy laying. Collecting soon after laying is optimal.
If you own lots of hens and notice that there are eggs in the late afternoon or evening when you lock them in for the night, you may want to add a third collection time to your schedule.
Collecting eggs sooner rather than later is far better than leaving them.
Why Is It Important To Collect The Eggs Regularly?
There are a number of reasons that collecting the eggs often is best for the chickens and for you:
Hens that have laid eggs are more likely to sit on them and go broody which will prevent them from laying more eggs.
If you want to keep those eggs coming, it is recommended to collect them as soon as possible. Hens are also less likely to lay eggs in a full nest and will start looking for other, less suitable places in the hen house where they can lay.
Keeping them cool
Eggs that remain in the hen house for too long in hot weather are likely to start rotting and there is nothing quite like the smell of a rotten egg to put you off for a while.
Collecting early in the morning will prevent the heat of the day from spoiling the eggs quickly.
Keeping them clean
Hygiene is important in the hen house and their nests should be cleaned out regularly and kept dry. It is a good idea to do this while you are collecting your eggs.
Remember to wipe down your eggs with a damp cloth after collecting to remove any chicken poop and other dirt before you store them.
Be careful not to break the coating on the outer layer called the bloom of the egg while cleaning them for storage. The bloom is there to protect the eggs from bacteria.
However, you may want to give the eggs an additional, proper (gentle) scrub before cracking them open and using them.
Keeping the eggs away from the hens
It is a surprising fact that hens love to eat eggs, and if given a chance some will crack open eggs to suck out the yolk and the white.
Chickens are opportunistic feeders and are quite aware when an egg has been left laying around for them to eat.
To prevent a bout of egg eating in your flock, remove any cracked eggs and shells immediately and dispose of them to discourage hens from eating the eggs in the first place.
You may also want to remove nesting materials such as hay or shavings that have yolk on them as well.
Keeping away pests
Regular egg collections will also prevent pests and other opportunistic eaters from being attracted to the hen house.
Mice and rats are common in hen houses as are some bird species, rats, ferrets, stotes, snakes and other larger predators that are not just after your hens.
Pest carry diseases and parasites that could be harmful to your brood and transmittable to you. So keep your hen house pest free.
It is however not recommended to use toxins or poisons to deal with a pest problem in the coop as they are also toxic to chickens! Rather use traps or exclusion techniques to reduce the risks and hazards that using chemicals can pose for you and you hens.
Collecting eggs is a simple task and should not take much of your time or energy unless you have a large brood. Using a roll away nesting box is a great way to reduce the amount of time the chickens have access to the eggs, and makes it much faster for you to collect them.
Taking the time to collect at least twice a day will ensure that you get a maximum amount of eggs and minimum wastage. Your eggs will also be cleaner and less likely to be covered in chicken poop, dirt and bacteria if you collect them soon after they have been laid.