From Farm to Table

What Do Egg Farmers Feed Their Hens?

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Whether you take them boiled, poached or over-easy, eggs are a snap to cook. But making sure they are always nutritious? That takes work. That’s why egg farmers work with nutrition specialists to ensure hens receive a balanced diet consisting of grains, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals.

Wheat, corn, barley, rye and oats in the feed provide energy, and are also sources of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Legumes (like soybeans and peas), and oilseeds (like canola and flax), are more concentrated sources of dietary protein and fat.

Some feeds used in Canada contain a small amount of products like dried eggshell, meat and bone meal. These are safe and nutritious sources of energy, protein, calcium and phosphorous. Fats from vegetable or animal sources provide energy, while calcium and phosphorus from various sources help maintain strong bones and support daily eggshell formation.

Regardless of the mix of ingredients, feed for laying hens in Canada is always free of added steroids and hormones. And, antibiotics are not required for egg production. Egg farmers across the country follow feed regulations set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Did you know that the hen’s diet can change the colour of the egg’s yolk? For example, wheat-based diets, which are more common in the western provinces, make pale yellow yolks. While corn-based diets make for a darker coloured yolk. How neat is that!

The Journey of the Egg Chapter 4

The Journey of the Egg continues:

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