Ever wondered what egg farmers in Canada feed their hens? Or what is the difference between brown and white eggs? We’ve got answers to your questions and many more!
Egg farmers work with nutrition specialists to ensure their hens eat a balanced and nutritious diet of grains, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. And of course, water is always on the menu! A balanced diet is vital for maintaining the hen’s health and also plays an important role in the quality of eggs produced.
Canadian egg farmers follow feed regulations set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Steroids and hormones are not approved for use in Canada. This means that the eggs you buy at the store do not contain steroids or hormones. Learn more.
The newest infant feeding guidelines from Health Canada, the Canadian Pediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada now recommend introducing whole eggs starting at six months of age, or as soon as your child starts eating solids. Experts no longer recommend delaying the introduction of common allergens to twelve months. In fact, research shows that introducing whole eggs early can actually help to lower your baby’s chance of developing an egg allergy. Learn more.
There are three main things that determine Grade A quality of an egg: the condition of the shell, the position of the yolk, and the size of the air cell inside the shell. If the shell has no cracks, the yolk is centered and the air cell is very small – it meets Canada Grade A standards. These are the eggs you buy at the store.
Yes, it is ok. It’s rare to see as less than 1% of eggs will contain a blood spot. Normally during grading these eggs will be separated, however sometimes an egg will slip through as it’s harder to see blood spots in brown eggs.
Blood spots are caused by the rupture of a blood vessel during the formation of the egg. These tiny spots do not indicate a fertilized egg. If desired, the spot can be removed with the tip of a clean knife prior to cooking.
Egg size is related to the age of the hen -- as a hen gets older, she lays larger eggs. Eggs are sorted at the grading station based on weight, not circumference, and packaged accordingly into the following sizes: pee wee, small, medium, large, extra large or jumbo. Learn more.
A hen will naturally lay on average, an egg almost once a day.
Eggs that are sold as organic are produced under specific standards laid out by the Canadian General Standards Board and certified by a reputable organic certification board. All certified organic eggs in Canada are produced in free range operations and the hens are fed certified organic feed. Visit the Canadian General Standards Board’s website for more information.
With the technology that’s available now, there is constant monitoring of feed consumption, barn temperatures and more, along with warning systems in place, but farmers still rely heavily on a daily barn check.
An average of 650 million dozen eggs are produced each year by registered egg farmers.
The day on the farm starts when the lights go on in the barn. On Susan Schafers’ farm, this is 6am. Floor eggs at her free run operation are gathered at 7am, which is an opportunity to walk through the whole barn.
Following that, she works on paperwork and record keeping for the national Start-Clean, Stay-Clean™ program and Animal Care Program including water, humidity and temperature checks.
Next up is egg gathering which takes about an hour, followed by a break. A second egg gathering and barn check happens later in the morning, and for the rest of the day the hens can do what they like. A third barn check happens in the afternoon with more record-keeping, and her day ends with a final barn check around 7-8pm.
As a hen ages, the eggs that she lays get gradually larger. However, the calcium content deposited in the shell remains the same despite the size of the egg. So, the eggshells become thinner as the hen ages.