I am passionate about where my food comes from, and this definitely applies to eggs. I eat a lot of eggs, they are one of the most ‘complete’ foods in existence, because they are packed full of proteins and nutrients. Millions of eggs are eaten each year, and this makes it so important to really think about where our eggs come from.
My family have always kept hens, and I am so lucky that I have a near-constant supply of eggs from very happy hens. They are free to roam around on grass, amongst plants, and across muddy fields. They sunbathe and take dust baths in the soil, they find shade and snooze under bushes, and dig up worms (and sometimes my mother’s plants!) . They also have their own houses, and are locked up in a large area which houses food, water, small trees and their houses at night to keep them safe from foxes.
These hens lay eggs in their special houses, and sometimes around the garden for us to find. The fact that these hens are so happy and healthy shows in the colour of the yolks. The yolk is a deep, vibrant orange, and the eggs are absolutely delicious! So many shop-bought eggs have a pale, anaemic looking yellow yolk, and I put this down to the bland diet the hens are fed, and the unhealthy life they lead.
It is horrifying that the vast majority of shop-bought eggs, even from some higher-end supermarkets, come from hens who still have their beaks trimmed or sawn down. This is to stop the hens pecking each other to death.Why would they do this? Because they are in such close proximity to each other and they are highly stressed (and no doubt bored).
Non-caged hens sound like they should be happier hens, but even these hens are only entitled to 1 square metre (to share with 8 other hens). Put 9 hens in a square metre, and there isn’t much room leftover. In fact it gives each hen about 11 square centimetres. That is just not okay.
I appreciate that not everyone can keep their own hens, and enjoy getting fresh eggs each morning. However, what everyone can do, is take a bit more responsibility when it comes to buying eggs. Try to do a bit of research on where your eggs come from. You will find some wonderful people who keep hens in a happy, natural way with plenty of room for them to move around as they should be entitled to do. Farmers markets are a great place to find ethical eggs, and I promise they will taste better when you know that they come from happy hens.
Eggs are a wonderful food which are a great source of nutrition in our diets. Keep eating them, just so long as the hens who are laying these eggs lead a happy and healthy life as well.