Buying Large Eggs is Cruel, Shoppers Told
It might make a larger omelette but a bigger egg isn't necessarily a better one — and it certainly doesn't make the hen that laid it very happy. That is the view of the chairman of the British Free Range Producers' Association, who says that if you want to be kind to hens, you should eat medium, not large or very large, eggs. ''It can be painful to the hen to lay a larger egg,'' snip
Mr Vesey, who says he is determined to change egg-shopping habits, insists that farmers only produce large eggs because they receive more for them from supermarkets. The average price for 12 free-range eggs paid to a farmer is 77p for medium, £1 for large and just over £1 for very large.
Mr Vesey has been criticised by industry chiefs for raising the issue in The Grocer but animal welfare experts say his argument is valid. Phil Brooke, of Compassion in World Farming, said: “Selectively breeding hens for high productivity, whether larger eggs or larger numbers of eggs, can cause a range of problems such as osteoporosis, bone breakage and prolapse. We need to breed and feed hens so that they can produce eggs without risk to their health or welfare.”
Early Production – Hens that begin egg production before you get them on a good layer diet can rapidly deplete their bone reserves of calcium.
Feed a third to half of the calcium as large particles that are approximately ½ cm in size. Both oyster shell and limestone the size of small pebbles will last longer in the gizzard and supply calcium at night when the hen makes the shell.
Supply a pre-lay diet containing 2% calcium for the two weeks prior to the start of egg production. Due to hormonal changes as the birds ready for egg production, they are able to use the extra calcium to build up their bone reserves. A hanging feeder of limestone or oyster shell is another way to give the birds access to the calcium they need.
Switch the flock immediately to a laying diet which has 3.5% or more calcium when you see the first egg laid by the flock. Approximately 10% of the diet must be limestone or oyster shell to provide this much calcium
Let the hens will pick limestone or oyster shell as they need it from a hanging feeder. See the MAFRI web page on choice feeding.
Give vitamin D3 in the water one day a week. Follow the package instruction and do not add more vitamin D3 than recommended.
Keep your birds calm. Do not give them more than 16 hours of daylight.
Letting them sleep longer will keep them calm during the time of day when they are forming the shell