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The 6 lessons these food bloggers learned on an egg farm

Four bloggers took a tour of Burnbrae Farms this August—and their experience transformed the way they think about eggs. They were Sarah Remmer (@sarahremmer), Heather Eigler (@HomeToHeather) Ashley Fehr (@TheRecipeRebel), and Suzi Fevens (@suziconfesses). We’ve put together some of their observations from the tour so that you too can benefit!

1. “I’ve never seen this many eggs in one place before!”

Suzi: Burnbrae Farms is located in Lyn, Ontario and is a family owned and operated company that has been producing eggs for over 70 years.

I was taken aback by how many eggs were there! In each room I would think to myself, “I’ve never seen this many eggs in one place before!” and then we’d move to the next room and I’d think that all over again. It was crazy!

2. Conventional housing: “A lot of practical sense”

Sarah: This is the most common housing system used by egg farmers in Canada.

Suzi: When you learn why they went to this type of housing it makes a lot of practical sense. They [egg farmers] brought them [hens] inside to protect them from avian illnesses, they put them in smaller groups (generally groups of 5 or so chickens) to keep the flocks small to avoid hen pecking (yes, it’s a real thing).

Heather: These birds looked to be in good condition from what I could see… conventional housing will be phased out over the next 20 years.

3. Enriched housing: “My personal favourite”

 Suzi: In enriched housing systems the chickens are in larger cages with more chickens, they have a private area where they can do their laying, and perches… they are still in relatively small social groups, they have more room to express natural behaviours like nesting and perching.

Sarah: My personal favourite is the enriched housing system… this provides some added freedom and privacy for the hens, while still allowing for tighter control over sanitation, animal safety, egg quality and environmental impact.

4. Free-run and free-range housing: “the most freedom of activity”

Sarah: Hens live freely on wire or slatted floors, some with bedding areas, in an enclosed barn… Free-range housing is similar to free-run housing except the birds have access to a restricted outside area, weather permitting.

Suzi: In reality, the chickens do have more room, but they still stick together in little flocks … most of them seemed to be pretty happy hanging out in one spot—which isn’t much different than the other systems.

5. “A lot more variety when it comes to eggs”

Sarah: We have a lot more variety when it comes to eggs than we did when I was a kid! Everything from conventionally produced eggs, to free-range, organic and omega-3 fortified eggs… it’s tough to know what to choose!

Suzi: Eggs are always free of added steroids and hormones. Canadian eggs are produced according to some of the highest on-farm standards in the world.

6. “It takes some really special people to stick with it”

Sarah: No matter when you are in Canada, you’re eating local, Canadian eggs.

Ashley: I know that there are a lot of people who question where their food comes from, but I really believe that here in Canada the food our farmers produce is of the highest quality. Farmers care about the food they are providing you!

It’s certainly not an easy job, and it takes some really special people to stick with it through all of the ups and downs!