Tuesday, November 17, 2009
• There are now over 200 breeds of chickens.
• There is no nutritional difference between a brown egg and a white egg. Hens with white feathers produce white eggs; hens with brown feathers produce brown eggs. Exotic breeds like arucana vary in egg shell coloration.
• The color of the yolk has to do with the hen’s diet. The more carotene eaten by the hen, the darker the yellow yolk.
• An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs a year.
• A hen starts laying eggs at 19 weeks of age.
• A hen must eat four pounds of feed to make a dozen eggs.
• Occasionally, a hen will produce double-yoked eggs throughout her egg-laying career.
• As a hen grows older she produces larger eggs.
• The mother hen turns over her egg about 50 times per day so the yolk won't stick to the sides of the shell.
• “Free-range” has a wide legal interpretation. A large factory with a single window to the outside may qualify even if the hens are packed tightly on the floor area.
• The larger the farm the more crowding there will be, along with practices such as debeaking. The secret is to find a small local source (usually at the farmers' market or farm stand).
• Organic eggs are healthier since organically raised chickens are not given antibiotics (plus growth hormones for poultry are not legal in Canada).
• The new 2009 Canadian Organic Standard requires that organic livestock management aim "to utilize natural breeding methods, minimize stress, prevent disease, progressively eliminate the use of chemical allopathic veterinary drugs (including antibiotics), and maintain animal health and welfare.”