Many chicken keepers collect eggs in a wire basket. Not only are the wire baskets cute but they serve a purpose for egg collection.
Wire baskets are beneficial when collecting eggs for the following reasons:
- Convenient transportation
- Prevents spoilage
- Allows fresh eggs to cool
- Prevents breakage
- Easier to keep clean
Keep reading to find out if you should be using a wire basket to collect eggs from your chicken coop.
1. Convenient Transportation
The number one reason why many chicken keepers use wire baskets for their eggs is that it makes it easier to transport several eggs.
Wire baskets come in several sizes, from small (can hold 2 dozen eggs) to large (can hold 8 dozen eggs). However, most backyard chicken keepers don’t need something that can hold 8 dozen eggs since we have relatively small flocks.
After collecting eggs from the nesting boxes, I can carry about 3 or 4 eggs in my left hand and only about 2 in my right hand (since I need a hand to open and close doors). That’s at most 6 eggs, but I have 10 chickens that lay between 7 to 9 eggs every day (except during the summer, when they will lay far fewer eggs).
By using a wire basket, I can collect all the eggs in one trip. I use this small wire basket that I found online. It can easily hold 3 dozen eggs without any of the eggs breaking.
Sometimes the wire basket I use is out of stock online, so this red small wire basket is comparable to mine.
Don’t forget that eggs need to be collected every day (check out this post for 5 reasons why). A larger basket is not necessarily needed but it is helpful when you need to carry in more eggs than you can hold without risk of dropping a few.
2. Prevents Spoilage
A wire basket allows air flow around eggs, preventing any of the eggs from getting too hot, especially during the summer.
During the summer months, eggs that are left in the chicken coop can get very hot. Hot eggs are not generally a problem unless they get extremely hot or stay hot for more than a few hours.
Typically, there is no air flow around eggs if you use a cardboard box or a plastic bucket to collect eggs, which is not a problem if you are bringing the eggs inside immediately after collection. However, if you collect eggs and then don’t bring them inside immediately, they could be getting too warm, increasing the rate at which the eggs will age.
An egg that is stored at room temperature will age the same amount as a refrigerated egg ages in a week.
Steven and I used to keep eggs out on the counter and would eat them in FIFO (first in, first out) order. Before too long, we had a surplus of eggs and we had a few go bad. From that point onward, we starting placing the eggs in cartons after bringing them inside and once the carton was full, we placed it on the bottom shelf in the refrigerator.
In general, eggs are safe to eat as long as they don’t have an odor. If you don’t plan on eating the eggs within a few days it’s best to refrigerate.
3. Allows Fresh Eggs to Cool
On average, a hen’s body temperature is 106 degrees F. When she lays an egg it will come out warm to the touch. One of my favorite parts about collecting eggs is getting to them when they’re still warm (or better yet, when they are still damp from the bloom!).
If you will be placing the fresh eggs in cartons right away, you need them to be cooled a bit. Placing warm eggs inside a cool room raises the chances of condensation forming on the eggs. This can be problematic because you don’t want moisture on your eggs since it increases the possibility of bacteria entering any of the tens of thousands of pores on the shell of the egg.
I like to collect my eggs in the wire basket and then place the basket in the kitchen for a few hours to let the eggs cool completely. Once they are no longer warm, I will place the eggs (pointed end downwards to keep the yolk centered) in the egg cartons and then put the full egg cartons in the refrigerator. This seems to work best for my routine and keeps the eggs fresh, without risk of them getting sweaty from rapid changes in temperature and humidity.
4. Prevents Breakage
Wire baskets usually have wire on the bottom of the basket too. This design serves a purpose for egg collection: it helps to prevent breakage of the eggs. (Avoid wire baskets that have a solid bottom since they don’t have the same benefits of using a basket that has a fully wire design.)
Eggs are most firm from the pointy tip of the egg to the rounded tip. When squeezing an egg from this direction, it takes about 9 pounds to break the egg. This is why eggs don’t break when a chicken lays them (the eggs are laid with the round end hitting the ground first).
If you are collecting eggs in a container that has a solid bottom and solid walls, there is no room for the midsection of the eggs to flex out of the container and prevent breakage.
Another way wire baskets prevent egg breakage is due to the wire design preventing the eggs from rolling around in the container and banging against each other. When eggs play bumper cars in the container, they are more likely to end up broken.
5. Easier to Keep Clean
A wire basket is easier to keep clean than other forms of containers.
If you have an egg break in a wire basket, the yolk can run out the bottom of the basket instead of pooling at the bottom of a cardboard box or plastic bucket. This can happen if you inadvertently collect an egg that has a crack, either from a hard landing in the nesting box or from a chicken pecking at the egg.
Another way egg baskets are easier to clean is that any dirt and feathers will fall out the bottom of the basket. It would be a mess to have both a broken egg and dirt in the bottom of a basket.
Wire baskets are used by chicken keepers to collect eggs for several good reasons. I bet you never knew there were so many benefits to using a wire basket to collect eggs!
[…] will drop an egg when we get them out of the nesting boxes (this is when we forget to bring our egg basket to collect eggs). The best thing to do when an egg is dropped, is to get rid of the evidence right away. If you […]