Ask an Egg Farmer
- Alberta Egg Industry
- Animal Care
- Egg Factoids
- Egg Products
- Food Safety & Quality
- Supply Management
What is your favorite egg recipe?
Susan Schafers already shared one of her favorite recipes on her blog – classic cream puffs! Check out the recipe for yourself on her blog.
What happens to small and pee-wee eggs?
Most small and pee-wee eggs get eaten at home by the farmer’s family, or else they are sent to the egg processor.
What is the average percentage of double-yolk eggs in a flock?
Though not uncommon, especially with very young or very old birds, double-yolk eggs still only account for less than 1% of our daily egg collection.
What is your favourite part about working with chickens?
I love to see my hens cooing and clucking and following me around the barn!
How long does it take eggs to get to market?
Most eggs are available in grocery stores about a week after they were laid, meaning you always have access to fresh, high quality, locally produced eggs!
What are the best type of egg laying chickens in Alberta?
Alberta egg farmers care for a variety of breeds. The choice is largely dependent on the type of hen housing system the farmer has, as well as their individual experience and comfort level raising a particular breed.
Could you please clarify under what conditions hens are kept? What regulations are in place for farmers to raise healthy hens for egg production?
The Canadian egg industry follows practices outlined in the national Animal Care Program, which is based on the Recommended Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pullets, Layers and Spent Fowl. The Animal Care Program is mandatory for Alberta egg farmers, as a requirement for being licensed to produce eggs. The Animal Care Program ensures that hens have a safe, healthy and comfortable living environment, providing guidelines for space, water, feed, lighting, air circulation, hen handling and more.
How much space is required for a hen in a free-run (aviary) housing system? How many hens do you have in a barn?
Hen housing density requirements are included in our mandatory provincial Animal Care Policy. In a free-run aviary housing system, birds must be provided a minimum of 144 (white birds) / 172.8 (brown birds) square inches per bird, when sufficient perch space is provided. The total number of birds is dependent on the size of the barn.
What is the egg industry’s opinion on backyard chicken coops?
There is definitely a lot more involved with raising hens than most people realize. Egg farmers have to maximize animal care and hen health, manage their barn to ensure that Canada’s world-class food quality & safety standards are maintained, and worry about minimizing their environmental footprint. Albertans living in rural areas are allowed to raise up to 300 hens and we do have resources available! Check our website for more information about our Youth Development Program and New Entrant Program!
How many eggs does a hen lay a year?
On average, a hen lays about 300 eggs per year.
I like the idea of washing eggs in water with a bit of dishwashing liquid and drying them with paper towels, just before using them in cooking. Is this OK, or is it wrong?
All eggs sold at retail are washed and sanitized at grading stations that have been certified by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Eggs also have a protective layer that your washing could remove. Since you’ll likely be cracking the eggs or boiling them in the shell, washing them seems unnecessary, but it’s certainly not wrong to do so. Click here to find out more about grading stations.
Are most eggs produced in Alberta in battery farms?
Alberta egg farmers are free to raise their hens in a variety of hen housing systems, which includes conventional housing, furnished housing, free-run housing and free-range housing. In 2013, EFA adopted a policy which states that “no new conventional or enrichable cage systems will be allowed to be installed in Alberta after December 31, 2014”. About 85% of Alberta eggs currently come from hens raised in conventional housing, a number that continues to decline.
Do you debeak the chicks without anesthetic?
At the hatchery, day-old chicks receive infrared beak treatment, in accordance with the Canadian egg industry’s recommended Code of Practice and national Animal Care Program.
What’s the health benefits of free range eggs vs caged eggs?
The hen housing system does not affect the flavor, quality or nutritional value of the eggs. Purchasing eggs based on the type of hen housing system the hens who laid them were raised in, is entirely a personal choice, and Alberta egg farmers are happy to provide Albertans with a wide variety of eggs to choose from.
As I understand it, eggs are unfertilised and not a chick that was stopped from making it to “full term”, right?
Just like humans, both a rooster and hen are required to create a baby chick. That’s why egg farmers only raise hens (female chickens), to eliminate the risk of fertilization.
Do you still put arsenic in your feed, even after knowing the pervasive cancer causing properties?
Alberta egg farmers work with nutrition specialists to make sure their hens receive a balanced diet, which is vital for maintaining the hens’ health. All Canadian egg farmers follow feed regulations set by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which have never included arsenic.
Is there a nutritional difference between white eggs and brown eggs?
There is no nutritional difference between white eggs and brown eggs. Quite simply, white eggs are laid by white hens and brown eggs are laid by brown hens.
I have noticed that some eggs yolks are light yellow and others are dark orange. Are certain eggs healthier or fresher than others?
The yolk color does not affect the flavor, quality or nutritional value of the eggs. Yolk color is entirely dependent on the type of feed the hens eat; wheat-based feed tends to produce lighter yolks and corn-based feed tends to produce darker yolks.