My friend Paris recently posted an amusing anecdote on Facebook that should ring familiar with many chicken owners: “Egg in my pocket, egg in my pocket. Oh, look! A baby goat! Broken egg in my pocket.”
Paris, who owns Gannon’s Hobby Farm in Indiana, had me literally laughing out loud with her post. Not because I found it hilarious that she had to launder her clothing, but because I’ve been there so many times. We’ve all been there. We wander outside to watch our birds’ antics or to refill a feeder and we notice an egg in a nestbox. If we’re lucky, we remember we slipped that egg into a pocket. If we’re not, time to run the washer! Or worse, we find the egg intact but not for a year or longer, as my friend Sarah did.
On the opposite side of the egg spectrum are the times we dash out, expecting to find only one or two eggs. Surprise! Suddenly we’ve converted our shirts into carriers for the countless eggs we’re trying hard not to drop.
Whatever we do with our found treasures, we’re out of luck if our eggs arrive cracked or worse. To ensure that we don’t scramble ourselves out of business (or breakfast) while collecting eggs, it’s vital to have a trusty system to transport our daily dozen. Check out these three suggestions for safe and secure egg collection.
1. Coated-Wire Basket
This container for collecting eggs features heavy-gauge wire molded into a sturdy tapered basket. A thick latex or plastic coating covers the wire, providing cushioned protection for your eggs. The coated wire gently grips the eggs in place, preventing sudden shifts that can lead to collisions and cracks. The wide pacing of the wires allows for these baskets to serve double-duty as egg-washing baskets if you dunk or spray your eggs to clean them. Coated-wire baskets come in a variety of sizes, perfect for both the backyard microflock keeper and the hobby farmer.
2. Traditional Basket
The time-tested method of collecting eggs: While any basket can serve, look past those that are appealingly rustic and select one featuring a tight weave in the sides and floor. The tighter the weave, the lower the possibility of the basket itself cracking and shattering your eggs. Already have a basket you love but worried about eggs rolling around inside it while you walk? Outfit the interior with non-slip shelf liner, which will help immobilize your eggs. Be sure to shake out your basket after each collection to keep it clean, especially if yours does double-duty as décor.
3. Egg-Gathering Apron
A vast improvement on the clothing pocket, the egg-gathering apron features a dozen or more individual pockets, each designed to carefully cradle an egg. If you sew, knit or crochet, you’ll find plenty of patterns for egg-gathering aprons online. If you’re all thumbs at needlework, like me, you can purchase an egg-gathering apron at a number of Etsy stores. The negative side to an egg-gathering apron for collecting eggs is that it can hamper your mobility once you’ve pocketed an egg. To avoid crushing your harvest, wrap up all your farm chores before you start collecting. This way, if a baby goat distracts you while you have eggs in your apron pockets, just untie the strings, preferably before scrambling occurs.