Modern Cage Egg Farming Experience

As stated earlier in the week, I went on a Modern Egg Tour last week in Florida. I was invited by the United Egg Producers to attend along with other bloggers including Lauren from Mom Central.

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Gene Gregory, President of the United Egg Producers, greeted us that evening when we arrived at the reception.

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He informed us up front the tour was no sales pitch, it was a tour to get the real inside information. I can honestly say, that the tour was absolutely about factual information. The UEP did not try to persuade us in either direction. We walked away from the tour with a well-rounded informational load.

To say  the tour was a very eye opening is an understatement. I learned so much about egg farms and realized what type of eggs I will be buying in the future for my own family. I am going to split the coverage in two posts. This first post will be all about Modern Cage Egg Farms.

In the modern cage egg farms, there are four to six hens per cage. Each cage has roughly about 67 to 72 square inches of space. Then hens are allowed 24 hour access to food and water. I was just amazed at how clean the cages were and the hens were! The hens are protected from predators so that is one big positive in my eyes. The hen does not have to worry about going to sleep at night and wonder if a predator will attack them. Listen in on the video how they are protected.

Please take a moment to watch the insider video I have created. It is only 6 minutes long, but there are so many aspects of egg farming that is really so intriguing and will make you go really?

So why would one choose Modern Cage Eggs?

Studies state the facts.

  • Hens raised in cage systems typically have fewer diseases and require less medication, only receiving drugs for therapeutic reasons.
  • UEP Certified standards provide sufficient cage space requirements for each hen. These science-based standards have significantly increased the amount of space provided to each hen.
  • Modern cage systems allow for daily inspection and monitoring of hens for illnesses and quick treatment. Modern cage systems provide for better overall bird health and welfare.
  • Modern cage systems allow hens to stand comfortably, turn around, lie down, groom and stretch their wings. Hens protected in these modern housing systems tend to have fewer diseased and lower mortality rates.
  • Eggs from modern cage production are considerably less expenisive than non-cage eggs.
  • Modern cage systems allow for cleaner, safer eggs and provide a more stable supply to meet consumer demand.
  • Modern cage systems provide hens with protection from soil and litter borne diseases, resulting in fewer health problems. Cages allow for immediate removal of feces, preventing exposure to parasites.
  • Research shows that hens in modern cages do not have any greater levels of stress than free range hens.
  • Research shows that eggs from modern cage systems have lower shell bacteria levels than eggs from cage-free or free range systems.

Are you worried about antibiotics and hormones in the eggs?

The Director of Food Safety in Florida was able to tell the specific date when antibiotics were last given to the chickens in the whole state of Florida. It was 2.5 years ago on a small outbreak of salmonella. A small group of chickens were given antibiotics for 7 days and their eggs were not used during that time in production. That is the last time in the whole state of Florida. The date is so far back meaning several years for Georgia and SC that the date was not available. All that worry that people put in our minds about antibiotics and hormones. The farmer said it best, if you take care of your chickens and treat them right, then antibiotics do not need to be used. Growth hormones do not need to be used as well as the chickens grown on a successful track.

Coming up next week… an insider look into a Caged Free Egg Farm!

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Comments

  1. says

    As someone that raises free-range chickens, I have two questions. 1) When you say, “…have fewer diseases and require less medication…” what’s that being compared to? 2) What kind of feed are the cage chickens being given? Is the feed they are receiving also free of antibiotics? What’s the soy content?

    Thanks!

  2. Jen says

    Hey Wendy,

    1. Fewer diseases and require less medications. This is comparing birds kept in cages versus those kept in cage-free housing. The annual mortality rate in cage-free hens is about double that in a cage house. About 5% per year annual mortality for a cage house and about 10% for a cage-free house under normal circumstances. There are diseases and health problems in cage-free flocks that require drugs that is not needed in cage flocks.

    2. Feed: The diet of egg-laying hens is made up of corn, soybean meal, vitamins and minerals. The soybean meal makes up about 34% of the diet. There are no hormones ever fed to egg-laying chickens and antibiotics are never used unless a flock has some sickness.

    Since I was not able to tour a free-range farm, I would love to get your insight about a free-range environment.

  3. says

    Loved the conference and the farm tours. It is so enlightening to learn all about the options and know how similar the nutrition level is in each. Well done on the article Jen!

  4. says

    Hi Jen, thanks for replying back with that info! Hope I didn’t make you feel put-on-the-spot…totally NOT my intention! Hubby read your post with me, and as we are both still learning as we go we thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask. It was very interesting for us to get a glimpse into how the big operations run!

    We’ve got a pretty small operation here, even compared to the very few other chicken farmers we’ve met, so I’m not sure I could really give you much insight, but if you have any questions we’d be glad to try our best to answer them for you!

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