I have decided that this week will be ‘Get to know your chicken’ week.
Ok, let’s get cracking (hmm),
Of course one of my favourite things about chickens is that they produce eggs. Omelets, bacon and eggs, chocolate chip cookies, crepes. Eggs are marvelous little things. You probably have some sitting at home in your kitchen right now.
So what do you know about these eggs other than they come from chickens, are egg shaped and egg colour and taste like eggs? Take a look at the packaging on the eggs you buy or have at home. The information on the
labels will vary depending on where you live (and local/national regulations), but can tell you a lot about how the
chickens that lay the eggs you are about to eat live. Do they live in luxury? In a slum? What do they eat?
A quick overview…
– Standard eggs: These are often the least expensive eggs and are usually intensively produced under pretty terrible conditions.
– Barn eggs: Hens are kept in closed barn where there are 9 hens per square metre. They must have access to nests, perches and a litter area. Since these eggs are still intensively produced the birds usually have their beaks tipped so they don’t peck at each other.
– Free-range eggs: Hens are keps in similar way as barn eggs but are allowed out during the day. This is directed by government regulations but generally there must be at least four square metres of outside space per hen.
– Woodland eggs: Hens are free range but have access to woodlands or trees that provide natural cover. They are also allowed to forage naturally in the undergrowth.
– Organic eggs: Hens roam outside with diet of fresh grass and organically grown cereals. They are not fed antibiotics.
– Purple eggs with pink stripes: These are easter eggs and only available at certain times of the year. (just checking to see if you are still with me).
So your homework this week is to take a look at the lifestyles of the chickens laying the eggs you are buying. The boxes they are in should tell you the story. The first step is keeping an eye on what you buy. The next step is looking into where the eggs are sourced in the things you buy, or at restaurants you eat at.
So, don’t be a chicken (hmm), you have no excuse now.