A great egg basket can be hard to find.
Picture this: you're out at the chicken coop, and you figure you'll just grab the chicken eggs while you're there. But there's one thing you forgot: an egg basket or some other way to carry the eggs. No big deal if you only have three or four eggs!
But if you have too many eggs to hold on one hand, you have to improvise a way to carry them and leave a hand free for opening and shutting the coop door or house door, right? How many eggs can you balance in one hand? Can you hold even more if you tuck your forearm against your ribs and lay eggs along that?
We've all probably tried to balance just an egg or two more than we could handle... which ends with a waste egg more often than not!
Then there's the hem-of-your-shirt-makes-an-apron method, which works really well unless said shirt is short or form-fitting and you have a dozen or so eggs. What you need is either an extra hand, a helper, or an egg basket!
My Favorite: Re-purposed Old Splint Egg Baskets
My favorite way to collect fresh eggs is with a couple small woven-splint berry baskets I picked up long before I ever had chickens.
I did some poking around online and these vintage egg gathering baskets might be older than I thought, with the darker one being a hundred or more years old (but I'm not a basket expert).
Splint baskets with wooden handles were commonly used a century ago to carry eggs, berries, farm produce, pies, picnics, and all sorts of really good things. These baskets have the solid history of a well-made tool and they are really pleasing to use.
Yes, I can juggle eggs with the best of them, but these little baskets (that I picked up for a dollar or two at a thrift shop or estate sale) just make the trip easier and more pleasing.
You can definitely find reasonably-priced baskets (or even free!) to use that are just the right size for your flock (large or small) in a craft store, a yard sale, or an antique shop. Find online baskets by searching "woven basket" or "splint basket" on Etsy and Ebay.
Check with your relatives as they may have some baskets tucked away from generations past. If an older basket is still in excellent condition, it's a safe bet that it's very well-made basket and will stand up to heavy-duty use.
Some baskets are collector items or really pricey antiques. Obviously, it's not really practical to use a valuable basket as an egg basket... but wouldn't it be neat to find a vintage basket super cheap and then find out it was valuable?
I do have two baskets, and even with two I still forget sometimes to bring them to the coop and I do the one-too-many egg juggle using my hands or my shirt. I think I need a couple more baskets to leave in the coop, and to make a habit of bringing one down every trip.
If you're feeling crafty, there's a kit for a DIY traditional woven egg basket for less than $20.
Wire Egg Baskets
Another egg basket you commonly see is the wire egg basket. This classic design has cute vintage style (usually made from stainless steel), allows plenty of air to circulate around the eggs (to cool freshly-laid eggs), and cradles them from breakage on the trip from the coop to the house.
Wire baskets are also heavy duty, and easy to find new, vintage, or antique. Lots of people also use vintage wire egg baskets for home storage (I think the term is farmhouse style home decor).
Tried and True: the Classic Apron
Some people prefer aprons to baskets. You can use an old-timey apron, or an apron with egg pockets. Keep a couple in the coop on a handy hook and shake out the dust before you put one on!
Or, if you don't clean or wash your eggs, I suppose an easy way to gather eggs is to put them right into cartons while you are in the coop.
While it can be entertaining to do the "one-too-many egg juggle," a good egg basket can save the day. So make your own improvised basket from a hand, an untucked shirt, or an apron, but keep your eye out for the perfect egg basket (or two!) to add to your chicken coop setup.
The one reason chicken keeping is so much fun is the egg collecting!
What do you use to collect eggs from your coop? Let us know in the comments below!
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