Q & A: On the Farm
No, antibiotics are not used in laying hens in Canada. Canadian egg farmers follow feed regulations set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
In addition, eggs in Canada are always free of added steroids and hormones.
Our farmers are responsible stewards of their animals and responsible animal husbandry is a top priority. Farmers follow a national Animal Care Program based on a national code of practice. The Code of Practice is developed in consultation with Canada’s top veterinarians, scientists, as well as representatives from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies, industry and government. Egg Farmers of Canada actively funds independent research at leading universities on welfare and farming practices and we are committed to mobilizing this knowledge throughout the industry. Learn more.
Canadian eggs are produced according to some of the highest possible standards to ensure the eggs you buy at the store are fresh, high quality and of local production. Here are two important programs farmers follow today:
Canadian egg farmers take part in a national Animal Care Program and comprehensive on-farm food safety program, called Start-Clean, Stay-Clean™. These programs set out comprehensive and rigorous standards, based on the latest science and information, and were developed by Canada’s leading experts. Farms are inspected by trained field inspectors—and these programs work because farmers are committed to providing exceptional care for their hens, and keeping eggs safe and fresh for all Canadians.
Once eggs have left the farm, they go through the grading station to be washed, graded and packaged. After this they are on their way to your local store. Eggs are shipped in refrigerated trucks and when they arrive are immediately put in the cold storage or in a refrigerated display case to help preserve freshness. Across Canada most eggs travel from the farm to the store in less than a week! Learn more.
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.
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 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.
The food a hen eats affects the yolk colour of her eggs. Generally speaking, if she eats a wheat-based diet, she lays eggs with pale yellow yolks. Feed that contains corn or alfalfa produces eggs with medium or darker yellow yolks. Learn more.
Free run eggs are produced by hens that roam in open-concept barns with slat or litter-covered floors equipped with nests and perches. Free range eggs are produced in a similar environment to free run eggs but the hens have access to outdoor runs as well. Due to the severe Canadian climate, outdoor access is only seasonally available.
There are no differences between the nutrient content of these eggs and classic shell eggs.
An average of 650 million dozen eggs are produced each year by registered egg farmers.