Chickens were domesticated in 3200 B.C. in East India. It was recorded that chickens were laying eggs for consumption as early in 1400 B.C. in Egypt and China. Chickens came over to America during Columbus’ second journey to the New World and are connected to the chickens that now lay eggs. Egg farms started by individual families and farmers for their own needs. In the early 1900s, when egg selling became a profitable enterprise, farms started having large flocks of about 400 hens to lay eggs. These free roaming chicken farms started having problems keeping their chickens alive because of weather, predators and disease. In the 1920s, they started creating hatcheries where they could have selective breeding to produce healthy chickens, but they were not laying as many eggs as they would have liked and the survival rate was only about 60%. In the 1930s, research showed that even though indoor henhouses were expensive, they were creating healthier chickens (reducing outside diseases) and weather or predators couldn’t affect the chickens. In the 1940s, minor changes created major results.
“They created wire-floor housing for hens. Sanitation improved as neither hens nor eggs came into contact with waste and waste removal was easier. Feeding became more uniform as the more timid hens were able to eat and drink as much as they required, like the more aggressive hens. A healthy hen will lay a lot of eggs. California hens each produced about 250 eggs per year and mortality dropped to 5%.”
Soon these new caging systems were implemented everywhere. People couldn’t keep up with the new overload of eggs, so conveyer belts were put in to collect the eggs faster in the 1950s. In the 1960s, with technological advances, the equipment available was able to create commercial operations and with lowered labor costs, the cost of the egg was lowered for the consumer as well. Today, there are 300 million laying birds in the U.S.
“In total, the U.S. produces about 75 billion eggs a year, about 10% of the world supply. About 60% of the eggs produced are used by consumers”
COST OF EGGS:
Eggs are anywhere between $1.50/dozen to $3.00/dozen for specialty eggs. They are only 17 cents a serving.
TYPES OF EGGS:
Eggs laid by hens living in cages
Eggs laid by hens that have access to outdoors. They eat grain and also wild plants and insects.
Eggs laid by hens at indoor facilities, also called free-roaming. The hens can roam around in an open area, usually in a barn or poultry house.
Organic eggs are produced by hens fed with ingredients that were grown without pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers.
“A production system that contains adequate environmental enrichments to provide perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow the layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.”
OTHER LABELS TO KEEP IN MIND:
hens are fed a diet only containing non-GMO ingredients such as soy, corn, and wheat. That does not mean that the food is organic.
What the chickens are fed doesn’t contain any animal byproducts
Hens are fed an omega-3 rich diet: flax, algae, or fish oil
NO HORMONES ADDED
Federal regulations don’t allow hormones in poultry so this is more or less a marketing tactic. If you are checking labels, look for “no antibiotics” instead.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BROWN AND WHITE EGGS
The only difference between white and brown eggs is the color. The color is different depending on the chicken. White-feathered chickens with white ear lobes lay white eggs and red-feathered chickens with red ear lobes lay brown eggs, but this isn’t the case with all breeds. Some say the yolks are better in brown eggs because they are darker, but that has to do with what the chickens eat. White eggs can have dark yolks too. The reason why brown eggs are more expensive is because the chickens that lay brown eggs are bigger chickens so their feed costs more because they eat more than smaller chickens. There is no difference in nutritional value.
EGG PRODUCTION PROCESS:
Collecting: Either by hand or by conveyer belt
Washing: a machine that washes them
Candling: put up to a light to see if there are any abnormalities to the inside.
Sorting and packing: Sorted by similar size.
Shipping: shipped within a week after being laid
Selling and storing: eggs need to be refrigerated. They will age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.
Eggs are rich in choline, which promotes normal cell activity, liver function and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body.
Eggs have zero carbs and no sugar
They have 9 amino acids
They are gluten free
FUN FACTS ABOUT EGGS:
-Double-yolked eggs are often laid by young hens whose egg production cycles are not yet completely synchronized, or by hens which are old enough to produce extra large-sized eggs.
-Young hens lay eggs with thicker shells
-There are 7 to 17 thousand tiny pores on the shell surface