Seeing poop on eggs does not mean chickens have worms, no. It’s possible the hen does have worms, but this is not why poop is on the egg. It’s more likely due to how clean their living conditions are.
How Can You Tell if a Chicken Has Worms?
Seeing poop on eggs is not a sign that a chicken has worms. Worms can - and often will - transfer from one bird to another via their poop, however.
Chickens are susceptible to various types of worms. They can have worms at any time without showing any symptoms or suffering any ill-effects.
If you’re concerned that your flock may have worms, the most obvious symptoms to look out for include:
- Increased appetite but loss of weight
- Pale or drooping combs
- Lethargic behavior or loss of activity
- Reduction in egg production
- Blood in their poop or diarrhea
If you’re seeing any of these symptoms, you should worm your flock to be on the safe side. You can find out more about how to worm your chickens and which dewormer to use in this post.
Why Is There Poop on My Chicken Eggs?
Without going too deep into the anatomy of a chicken, to put it simply; everything comes out of the same exit on a chicken.
Eggs, poop, and urine (which is in the form of crystals in their poop) all come out of a chicken’s cloaca, which we also call the vent.
A chicken doesn’t poop and lay an egg at the same time. In fact, the tissue of their uterus extends when they’re laying an egg to create a sort of “inside-out trick” so there is minimal contamination.
But sometimes, it’s possible for a bit of poop to find its way onto the outside of an egg. Or, the poop might even come into contact with the egg once it’s been laid.
Either way, chickens are pooping and laying eggs in close proximity to each other. It’s not that uncommon for a bit of feces to come into contact with an eggshell.
The important thing here is that it’s not a big deal, honestly. It’s gross, I get that. But you can easily wipe it off and the risk of disease, worms, or anything else is minimal.
Related - How do chickens pee?
How Do You Keep Chickens From Pooping on Eggs?
If you’re finding poop on your eggs on a regular basis, there are some things you can do to try and stop this from happening.
Make sure your hens lay eggs in their nesting boxes - Good nesting box habits are key to finding clean eggs. If they aren’t already using their nesting boxes, take steps to ensure they are.
Make sure they have enough boxes in quiet pots within the coop. You can even place ceramic eggs in there to help associate this as being the place to lay eggs.
Don’t allow them to sleep in their nesting boxes - Chickens poop a lot overnight. This is one of the benefits of having them use a roosting bar.
Not only is it natural for chickens to roost up high, but you can also place the bar somewhere you can easily clean up underneath. Just look at how much poop is under the roosting bar, they really do poop a lot overnight!
If you think your chickens are sleeping in their boxes, put a stop to it. The easiest ways to do this include;
- Blocking access to their boxes overnight
- Making their roosting bar more appealing
- Physically popping them up on their bar
Collect eggs regularly - The less time eggs are sitting in the coop, the less time there is for them to get dirty. I collect any eggs in the morning and evening when filling up their feeders.
Have plenty of fresh bedding out - A nice layer of fresh bedding goes a long way in keeping eggs clean as they’re laid, and the transfer of dirt to a minimum.
Related - 5 Reasons why chickens sleep in their nesting boxes (and what to do about it)
Is It Ok To Eat Eggs With Poop on Them?
Yes, it’s fine to eat eggs with poop on them. I know it might be a bit gross, but a bit of poop on the shell isn’t affecting the egg inside the shell.
In fact, eggs come with a natural antibacterial coating called a bloom. If there is some poop on an egg it more than likely means it’s a fresh farm egg. This means it hasn’t been washed and still has that protective film on it.
If you wash the egg with water and cleaning agents, you’ll remove the bloom. You should refrigerate the egg if you do wash it and want to store it.
This is why store eggs are refrigerated; they’ve been washed as part of the process of preparing them for sale.
Interestingly, this is also why eggs sold in Europe are not kept refrigerated in stores. In Europe, they keep the protective bloom on the eggs to keep bacteria out.
Either way, you can wash an egg before cracking it, or wash and store it in the fridge. Don’t be put off by a bit of poop!
Related - How to properly clean and store fresh eggs.
Should Fresh Eggs Be Washed?
As I mentioned above, when eggs are laid they have a protective coating (that we can’t see with the naked eye) that protects eggs from bacterias like salmonella.
The bloom is a powerful coating. Eggs can last at room temperature for a couple of months if this coating is left intact.
If it’s washed off, however, you need to refrigerate eggs to keep them fresh for as long as possible. They should still say good for 5-7 weeks if refrigerated.
It’s up to you which method of storing eggs you prefer. Personally, I like to just give them a dry wipe over and keep the bloom intact. This is how nature intended, and I think it keeps them fresher for longer.
If there is poop on the egg, however, sometimes you may have to give it a good wash to clean it. I can understand that, and it’s not a big deal as you can just put them in the fridge.
As long as you’re aware of how to properly store eggs, how long they last, and how to check they’re fresh before eating them, there is almost no risk of food poisoning.