Monday, 4 June 2012

The Chicken and the Egg

A brilliant infographic from Pru over at Moss and Mouse.

If you love your health and you love chickens you should know where your eggs come from and the conditions they were produced in.  To give you an idea of size, Barren Battery hens have about the size of a sheet of A4 paper to live out their lives (14 months in the cage), Enriched Battery hens have an extra space the size of a postcard tagged on to the A4.  Neither they or the Barn hens ever see the light of day!!

Barren Battery Eggs are no longer produced in this country it has been illegal since the start of the year, although a few farms were slow to meet the requirement, they were quickly spotted and made to follow the law.  But you can see from the poster how many eggs are imported into this country each and every year.  These eggs as well as being sold by the box are also used in manufactured products, cakes, biscuits, quiches etc.  If it doesn't say Free Range Eggs on the box your goods come in then they most likely are made from imported Barren Battery hens eggs or at the very best Enriched Battery hens eggs.

The choice is yours.

My choice - the eggs from my girls.   The new girls are just coming in to lay now and we are getting the little half sized and soft shelled practise eggs, and eggs laid as the girls are out and about in the grass, you can just imagine the thoughts that rush through their little heads as an egg pops out and then another one the next day!!

While we have not been getting many eggs I have been buying some from the local shops, my choice then - at the very least Organic, if I can't get them then I don't buy eggs!!

I have never bought eggs since finding out this information when my children were small, and then as hard up as we were, I NEVER bought eggs from Battery Caged hens again.  We ate half as many eggs but always at the very least Barn Eggs, now after seeing a Barn I couldn't even do that.

The choice really is yours.  I'm just telling you my choice.

Sue xx


  1. I've just started with my first six hens as I'm trying to follow a more sustainable lifestyle.
    Chickens deserve a better life than many get.

  2. I'm not vegetarian as you know Sue....but I really don't understand why animals that provide us with food continue to be treated so badly. Surely common sense tells us that the happier the life the animal has, the better for its health (and thus, ultimately, ours, not to mention the taste) it will be. I've only ever bought free range eggs for a long time now, I try to buy organic eggs, meat and produce when I can, but have to admit it's when funds allow.

    Regards, Sooze xx

  3. I am very fussy about my eggs, too which is why I not only have hens but buy organis feed for them (in addition to the treats they get!).It is amazing what people buy- I have to refrain from making any comments when I see people buying egs in the son showed me food sold in Aldi here from CHINA- I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole, as we say in the US!

  4. While shopping, I came across Heirloom eggs from Marans. Do you know anything about these? I've never seen them before and I'm curious.

  5. Over Easter sunday I cooked breakfast for a crowd and was appalled to find my eggs tasted of fish. Apparently the Omega enriched eggs are from chickens boosted with fish oil and every so many eggs tastes fishy.

  6. As a teenager over 40 years ago, my partner worked a holiday job for a short time on a farm collecting eggs from battery hens. The conditions in which the hens were kept so appalled him that from then on he would never touch an egg that wasn't free range.

    Like you we also check out any products which might contain battery eggs as an ingredient - it's just become automatic behaviour over the years.

  7. I loved my girls & what eggs they produced !

  8. We love our chickens and seriously couldn't bear the thought of locking them up..our lovely girls have laid all winter and didn't moult i do have a little side line going to sell my girls eggs..the comments we get are lovely..before i got my girls i always tried to buy free range eggs but sometimes to my shame i had to buy cheap excuses for it but sometimes i just didn't have the money for them.

  9. I knew about the conditions in which hens were kept which was one of the factors that influenced us to get our own hens many years ago before hens in suburban gardens became popular. The kids always say that we were trendsetters and then laugh like drains : ) What I didn't know was that 90% of hens had their beaks trimmed. I had no idea that figure was so high even though I knew it was a common practice.

    I have been promoting "thinking before you buy eggs" at work and I sell my surplus eggs. My nice customers tell everybody else how good my nice, fresh eggs are. This helps underline the theory that happy hens lay happy eggs. It also means that I have a long list of potential customers so the hens can buy some of their own food for themselves which is a good thing.

  10. The documentary that Jamie Oliver did on egg farming is a real eye-opener. I bawled my eyes out watching it. It's lucky my parents have chickens so I get eggs from them at the moment, but come spring SJ & I are going to adopt a couple chickens of our own. I am so freaking excited! :)

    I'd like to add that it's also important to keep in mind that when buying pre-made foods to check whether they contain eggs and enquire as to where the eggs they've used came from, because most places use the cheapest eggs available and these are usually from battery hens.


  11. Thanks for all these comments, so nice that you all care so much, but then I knew my lovely readers would!

    If we all do the best we can for all birds and animals it's at least a step in the right direction.

    Sorcha - I did say in the Blog post that most manufactured foods, cakes, biscuits etc are made using imported barren battery hens eggs or at the best enriched battery hens eggs from this country unless it says otherwise on the box. But you're right to re-iterate this we do need to let folk know, it's a well hidden secret.

    Sue xx
    Our New Life in the Country

  12. I mostly buy my eggs from a local smallholding and the hens are running all over the place. I buy potatoes and if they are in season, carrots but they get them from the Moss, they don't grow crops any more. If they don't have carrots for sale they often have 'substandard' ones in a heap in the yard that they feed the horses on. I am often invited to just go and help myself to them. (free)

  13. Very interesting Sue. Thank you.

    Sft x

  14. As long as people want cheap eggs, and the Asdas and Tescos of this world dictate prices, sadly I think battery hens are here to stay.

  15. How does your grass stay so fresh and lush? Our chickens have basically killed out entire yard :( All we need is some $ to fence them to one section of the yard before it is nothing but dust for the warmer months. I am really enjoying your blog!

  16. Hi Katherine,

    The chickens are in a 1.5 acre paddock, we move them lock stock and barrel into a fresh quarter of it each month after owing that section as short as we can. That way each quarter gets a rest for 3 months before they are back on it.

    Not sure how well this will continue to work , the Goslings are already really making an impact on the land, they are definitely proper little lawn mowers.

    Sue xx

  17. Hi Sue,

    Great to see my infographic getting shared. It would be lovely if you could link back to my blog with the image

    Many thanks!


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