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Does buying large eggs harm the hens?

Large, medium and small eggs from Minskip Farm Shop

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 3:12pm 21st March 2019. (Updated at 3:41pm 21st March 2019)

Local hen farmers are encouraging you to buy a mixture of egg sizes to ensure good welfare of hens and sustainability of the egg industry. 

  • Hens will lay a range of egg sizes over their lifetime, but generally the older the hen the larger the egg.
  • Problems can occur when younger hens are forced to lay larger eggs than they would naturally. 
  • Big demand for large or extra-large eggs and less demand for medium or small eggs is causing problems for the industry. 
  • Local farmers are encouraging you to buy free range eggs in a range of sizes to help combat the issue. 
Beth Parsons from Stray FM cuddles a hen with Ben at Minskip Farm Shop 2
Minskip Farm Shop and farmer Ben let Beth Parsons from Stray FM cuddle one of them.

Does laying large eggs harm the hens?

Pictures of blood stained eggs doing the rounds on social media recently has brought the issue of large eggs potentially harming the hens who lay them into focus. 

But what is really going on?

And should we really stop buying large eggs?

Farmers Ben and Emma, who run Minskip Farm Shop near Boroughbridge have been helping us answer those questions. 

"Through a hens life they will lay a range of eggs in sizes, starting from really really small to really quite large.

"Everybody is buying extra-large and large eggs, and leaving behind the medium and small which makes the whole process quite uneconomic for the farmer."

Farmer Ben at Minskip Farm Shops

6000 free range hens live at Minskip Farm Shop
6,000 free range hens live onsite at Minskip Farm Shop

A rise in demand for large and extra-large eggs nationwide is causing some farmers to make the choice of forcing their hens to lay larger eggs than they would naturally. 

This can be done by increasing food rations and a higher protein diet, which can cause unnecessary stress to the hens if they're not ready or are too young. 

Whilst this isn't something that Ben and Emma at Minskip Farm Shop do, they're advising the public to start buying a range of sizes to tackle the issue nationwide. 

Most small eggs end up elsewhere (such as in pre-made food), buy buying medium eggs is where you can make an impact.

Ben explains more:

"The farmers are trying to grow a bigger egg which can result in problems for the hens, but they have to because the prices are so low for medium and small.

"Our message is, and it's a real simple message, for every large egg you eat, just try and eat a medium one."

Emma inside Minskip Farm Shop
Emma from Minskip Farm Shop is changing the way they sell their eggs to help tackle the issue.
How are Minskip Farm Shop changing the way they sell their eggs?

To help tackle the issue, many local egg farmers are making some changes. 

Free range egg farmer Emma describes the new plans in place for Minskip Farm Shop:

"We're going to mix the eggs within a box and just sell one size which will be mixed.

"There'll be plenty of large, plenty of very large, plenty of medium, plenty of small in each box. 

"The customer gets a good deal, but also the hens are happy and there's not as much wastage."

Beth Parsons from Stray FM cuddles a hen with Ben at Minskip Farm Shop
Beth Parsons from Stray FM cuddles a hen with Ben at Minskip Farm Shop

Minskip Farm Shop

Based between Boroughbridge and Minskip, alongside the 6,000 free range hens, the farm also features four beautiful alpacas, a few pigs and some surprising new animals on the way soon!

Stay tuned for more...

The Minskip Farm Shop sells a range or locally grown produce and products as well as eggs and vegetables grown on site. 

Emma from Minskip Farm Shop gets a kiss from an alpaca
Emma puckers up at Minskip Farm Shop for a kiss from an alpaca

Hear what happened when Beth Parsons went to visit Ben and Emma at Minskip Farm Shop to find out more on the Stray FM Food and Drink Show:

 

 

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