Q & A: On the Farm
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.
An average of 650 million dozen eggs are produced each year by registered egg farmers.
At the grading station, eggs are washed in a sanitizing solution and scrubbed with revolving brushes to remove dirt and any bacteria that may be found on the shell. There is no need to wash your eggs at home. Learn more.
A hen will naturally lay on average, an egg almost once a day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.