Every day the UK consumes 30 million eggs and for many consumers where they’re sourced from is one of their biggest concerns.

In 2012 the EU banned old style battery cages and have replaced them with updated “enriched cages”. The UK’s producers are fully compliant however other EU members aren’t, so if you’re eating a foreign egg there’s potential it’s been sourced from a farm operating at illegal standards.

Three little pigs, or hens in this case!

Just like the “three little pigs” of schoolchild yore there are three ways that laying hens are kept. Here’s the lowdown:

  • Enriched battery cages: hens live in small colonies with around 80 other birds in cages with laying boxes, roosting areas and spaces to scratch around. They’re certainly an improvement on the old cages but still not great.
  • Barn: housed inside buildings with areas covered in litter for scratching and dust bathing the hens are less densely stocked and have greater freedom to express their natural tendencies. A big improvement on enriched cages.
  • Free range: housed in buildings for comfort and protection all birds must have access to vegetation covered outside areas. By far the best!

Modern laying hens lay up to 300 eggs a year at various sizes graded from small to very large.

Grade

Weight – Grams

Small

53 or less

Medium

53 – 63

Large

63 – 73

Very Large

73 +

Want to know your preferred supermarket’s stance on sourcing their eggs? Click on the logos.

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