Last week, I heard an interesting story on NPR's Morning Edition about the natural defenses that keep eggs bacteria-free. Apparently, eggs have three lines of defense: the shell, the membrane inside the shell and the white, which contains microbe-fighting proteins. These three layers are very successful at keeping almost all nasty germs out of the egg. I kind of already knew this, but it's nice to hear again since certain chickens (Tina) have a bad habit of pooping in the nesting boxx.
According to the story, contaminated eggs are usually made that way by contaminated chickens. As a backyard-chicken keeper, this makes me feel pretty smart. As long as I keep my girls healthy and happy, I know the fresh eggs they lay for me are salmonella-free. And because my flock has enough space and clean food and water, they're less likely to get sick than chickens crammed into cages in a musty warehouse. In fact, the microbiologist quoted for the NPR story has a backyard flock of his own.
Food security: another great reason to have backyard chickens.
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