Our egg farmers follow a comprehensive animal care program to make sure that hens are raised according to the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Code of Practice for Laying Hens. To certify these standards are being met, each farm is assessed by a third party auditor.
The code of practice was developed by a diverse group of contributors including; veterinarians, food scientists, the Humane Society, Retail Council of Canada, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council as well as Egg Farmers of Canada. The code outlines standards for nutritional requirements, access to water, clean air, minimum space requirements and a variety of components that encompass animal welfare.
The farmers who supply our eggs are always striving to advance animal care. Selecting housing for hens is complex. Farmers must consider hens’ social and behavioural requirements while keeping them healthy, preventing disease, ensuring each hen has equal access to feed and water, and providing an optimal climate in terms of light, air quality, temperature and humidity. They must also consider the impact of the housing system on the environment, worker safety, air quality, affordability, sustainability and food safety. There are advantages and disadvantages for each type of housing.
Our farmers work closely with animal agriculture specialists and housing researchers to develop solutions that allow for natural behaviours, give hens the space they need and keep them comfortable.
In Conventional housing systems, hens are housed in small groups of about 5-7 birds, and have access to fresh air, feed and clean drinking water at all times. The floor surface allows waste to pass through to keep hens and eggs clean. This system was developed to keep hens healthy by keeping them safe from the elements, and allowing all hens equal access to food and water.
Chicken housing is always evolving and egg farmers respond by adapting to those changes. The new Code of Practice for Laying Hens outlines a transition to enriched housing that all egg farmers have agreed to implement.
Enriched housing provides additional space for hens to move around with a minimum of 116 square inches per bird.
This type of housing includes the best elements of conventional housing for keeping eggs and hens clean, plus enhancements such as perches, foraging space and nest boxes for hens to perform their natural behaviours.
Enriched housing involves slightly larger group sizes than conventional housing, usually 24 birds to a group.
Free Run and Aviary housing systems allow hens to roam free in open concept barns and along the entire floor space. The only difference is that in an Aviary system there are vertical perches around the barn, like a “3D” system.
This type of housing encourages hens to move around freely, walk or fly up and down, and engage in other natural behaviours, such as perching and nesting. at various levels, scratching, dust bathing, and foraging for food.
Free Range housing is similar to Aviary systems where hens
are raised in open concept barns, equipped with amenities
such as perches and nest boxes located at various levels.
In this type of housing, hens also have access to roam outside
with indoor protection from predators and bad weather.
Organic systems are a combination of Aviary and Free Range
systems with access to natural light and the ability for hens to
spend 33% of their time outdoors.
All organic hen housing must comply with Canadian Organic
Standards. The feed for hens laying organic eggs is non-GMO
and comes from certified organic mills.
Egg farmers employ many types of technology to keep their hens even more comfortable.
From climate-controlled barns, to special LED lights that help hens see better, to air quality systems that continually pipe fresh air into barns – egg farmers rely on the latest technology. Most egg farms are equipped with remote monitoring technology which allows farmers to be notified of any problems that may arise by email, text or phone.
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