Q & A: On the Farm
Registered Canadian egg farmers take part in a national Animal Care Program and comprehensive on-farm food safety program, called Start-Clean, Stay-Clean™. These national programs set out important guidelines, based on the latest research and information, and were developed by Canada’s leading experts. Farms are inspected by trained field inspectors and audited against Egg Farmers of Canada’s national programs. Learn more.
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.
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.
An average of 650 million dozen eggs are produced each year by registered egg farmers.
Free run eggs come from hens that roam the entire barn floor. Some of these barns may be equipped with multi-tiered aviaries.
Free range eggs come from hens that roam the barn floor and when weather permits, go outside to pasture. Outdoor access is only seasonally available in Canada.
There are no differences between the nutrient content of these eggs and classic shell eggs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In Canada, egg farmers use a variety of different systems to house their hens. Each system provides a clean environment, access to fresh food and water, and protection from natural predators. Most hens are housed in temperature controlled barns because the Canadian climate is so variable. This allows farmers to keep a consistent temperature in the barn, and protects the hens from inclement weather like rain, snow, heat and humidity.
In conventional systems, hens are housed in small group settings with plenty of access to food and water. Enriched systems are equipped with perches and a curtained off area where the hens lay their eggs. In free run systems, hens roam the entire barn floor. Some of these barns are also equipped with multi-tiered aviaries. Similar to free run systems, in free range systems hens also roam the barn floor, and when weather permits they go outside. Learn more.
Canadian eggs are produced by more than 1,000 farm families across every province - even the Northwest Territories. No matter where you shop, the eggs you buy at the store are local.
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.