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E&O Newsletter


(but not exactly how you think!)

As Spring fends off the lingering chilly nights, we think about egg sizes and how choosing a variety of sizes and weights can help hens.

In the UK, we eat more than 13 billion eggs per year, nearly 200 per person.  As consumers, we tend to go for larger eggs over smaller sizes.  But according to the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT), by mixing up the sizes we buy, we can actually help the support the welfare of hens, who naturally lay a variety of sizes.

Smaller eggs are just as nutritious and tasty as larger ones, says the BHWT, but are more likely to end up used in processed food like sandwich fillings, cakes and sauces, as they are less marketable on their own. However, the only difference between a medium and large egg is in the amount of white – the yolk size is broadly the same.

Jane Howarth of the BHWT commented that “Lots of factors can affect the size of egg a hen lays, including the hen’s age, how big it is, the breed, what it eats – even the weather. If shoppers only want large eggs then those hens are being asked to work harder, rather than just allowing them to do what comes naturally.”

Emma Mosey from Yolk Farm and Minskip Farm Shop in Yorkshire added, “We have 6,000 happy hens at Yolk Farm: in July, we opened the world’s first egg restaurant on a free range egg farm. One of the ways we ensure our girls are as happy and relaxed as possible is to use the eggs of all sizes straight from the hen house in our kitchen. This also reduces waste. We speak to customers in our farm shop every day who have no idea of the impact of their buying habits on the industry and the hens: as soon as they find out, they adjust what size they choose.”

So, when you’re picking up your next box of eggs, think about trying a variety of weights and sizes; a small change in shopping habits can have a big impact.

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