Backyard Eggs Are Safer

It’s become cliche to write about how delicious fresh eggs from backyard hens are. By now you’ve also heard, (probably several times over) how the nutritional profile of eggs from free-ranging hens is better than that from chickens confined in factory-like facilities. It is also true that eggs from backyard flocks have more natural defenses against bacterial diseases, like salmonella, than eggs from the large production facilities. I’ve written about this before, and the details are in this FAQ.

There’s yet another reason why eggs from your own hens are safer, one that isn’t as well known. Eggs in the supermarket look clean, perfect and hygienic. Looks are deceiving. I read poultry industry newsletters. They’re eye-opening. One researcher, who is marketing a new system for cooling eggs, had this to say,

Traditionally, eggs are at more than 100 degrees when placed into a carton. (Eggs are put through a hot disinfectant bath before packing.)Thirty dozen eggs are then packed in a case, and 30 cases are stacked onto pallets and placed in refrigerated coolers. The eggs in the middle of the pallet can take up to 142 hours – nearly six days – to cool to 45 degrees.

He went on to state that a 2005 US government report showed that if eggs were cooled and stored at 45 degrees within 12 hours of laying, there would be about 100,000 fewer salmonella illnesses from eggs in the nation each year.

Think about that. Then, breathe a sigh of relief, go out to your coop, collect your eggs, and thank your girls.


  1. My daughter was always worried about the temperature of the eggs that our broody Buff sets on during the summer. This information definitely puts our minds at ease!

  2. Great info Terry..I always feel so bad for those poor birds that are forced to pump out eggs like a machine.

  3. My grandfather (1892-1986) would drink a glass of raw eggs from his hens.

    • Just egg? Would he beat it up or slurp them down whole? Ick! I’m working on an egg nog recipe. Now that’s egg in a form I can drink :)

      • Egg nog…yum! That’s something that should be a year round thing, not just a holiday drink.

      • He’d just slurp the eggs down whole for stamina. In summers his day started at dawn tending family veg garden and fruit trees. Early on they even had a pig. Then he worked all day as an electrical contractor. He kept chickens into his 80s. My mother told me they weren’t allowed to pick the corn for the dinner table until the water was boiling on the stove. Now that was fresh!

      • which Cary Grant film was it that he took a sip of a glass of egg-nog and remarked
        ‘too much egg, not enough nog’ ?
        Rather alarming too to see the ‘jumbo’ eggs in your photo – here the RSPCA a good few years ago asked people not to buy large eggs as they were getting so big as to be damaging to the normal-sized hens bred to lay them. Prolapsing is a huge problem with rescued battery hens.

  4. I know that certain egg producers have been fined for “recycling” eggs…taking outdated returns from stores and putting them into new cartons…back to the store for another three months. Also, those eggs that are properly returned for outdates, and those that are recalled for salmonella and other things are, as I understand it, sent to the “breakers”…those manufacturers that break eggs and turn them into those pre-cooked or processed , healthy..ahem…liquid egg replacer products, mayonaise, salad dressings, and dried for pancake, cake and cookie mixes, ice creams…among others. I am thinking of making my own small batches of mayo when needed, and already make my own batters with fresh eggs, and fresh ice creams. Just because they need to make a profit, the companies play with our safety. The public is kept in the dark.

  5. Hi Terry,
    Have you heard the lastest news about how eating egg yolks is as bad as smoking cigarettes!? I’m having a hard time believing this garbage. Of course I have a problem with all medical studies but this one is so ridiculous!

    • It is ridiculous. Studies that are based on what people say they ate are riddled with errors. Many other studies, where people are actually fed eggs and monitored, show no increase in risk of heart disease. Perhaps the people questioned don’t also remember eating white toast and margarine with the eggs?

      • Plus this study was only concerning blocking arteries. What I’d like to know is how many people got lung or throat cancer from eggs! I bet there haven’t been any.

  6. Well I’ve got my own study going. Both of my maternal grandparents lived on a farm. They raised and ate all of their meats and veggies. They enjoyed a lot of free range eggs too! Grandpa lived to be 94 and Grandma was 96. They never had any diseases either! And how true that these tests are riddled with errors. I love my eggzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

  7. “Wow, Whuuuu” I say as I breathe a sigh of relief and head to the henhouse to gather eggs from my eight darling ladies! This latest info makes one rethink the safety of so many products that list eggs as an ingredient. We just may start making our own mayo around here too!

  8. Great info and not something commonly known- thank you for sharing!! Gathering those eggs with even more joy today :)

  9. Wow!!! I thank “my girls” every day when I collect eggs! It just confirms my belief that the Agribusiness is out for profit at whatever cost! I wish more power and success to the smaller farmers! Support local agriculture!!!

  10. yikes — new creepiness in huge egg production land. Having chickens has really opened my eyes to the natural rhythms of egg laying, and I appreciate the summer bounty a lot more since I now also experience the winter rarity. My husband is rather blase about buying chicken prison eggs when our girls are in low production mode — I am going to show him this information in an effort to convince him to Just Say No and make do with fewer eggs in winter. Thanks for passing this along.