Lucy, thank you for your question. We appreciate your interest in Ontario egg farming. Ontario egg farmers work hard to provide a safe environment for their hens and the eggs they produce. Unfortunately, this means that farmers must limit the visitors to their barns for this reason. But there's good news, Ontario egg farmers are happy to provide alternatives that allow you to see what Ontario egg farming is like.
1. Throughout the year, Egg Farmers of Ontario attends various fairs and events with our Egg Education Trailer that shows how eggs get from farm to table (complete with live hens). Unfortunately you just missed the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. But, refer to our events calendar for appearances next year: http://bit.ly/9cyZw4.
2. You can take virtual tours of egg farms (as well as other types of farms) from the comfort of your computer chair here: http://bit.ly/eHonED
If you are interested in visiting other types of farms, there are a variety that can welcome visitors. Check out Foodland Ontario's website (http://bit.ly/c5mTtA) for farms near you.
Look for egg cartons marked "free range" or "organic" in your grocery store. The only difference between the two is that organic birds are fed certified organic feed. And since in Ontario, most free range farmers have chosen to feed their birds organic feed, it will be easier to find Ontario organic eggs.
That is a great question. Egg Farmers of Ontario (EFO) is an association that has a long history of representing more than 400 egg farm families in Ontario.
Our organization started in 1964 and continues to go strong today. We are entirely funded be the farmers and provide a variety of programs and services for them including:
We always have eggs in the house and sometimes it feels like I live in the barn – so the line between farm and family is very blurry but we like it that way. I actually have a minimum of 3 eggs a day and have done so as long as I can remember. My mother would fry up 3 over easy for breakfast and I'd also have 2 over easy sandwiches in my lunch. It's my staple.
In order to be deemed "organic" the hens must have access to the outdoors. Of course, due to Ontario's climate this is weather permitting though. At our farm, the birds have about 1/2 an acre to roam about on. In terms of how often they go out, as I've already mentioned it will depend on weather and it also depends on each bird -- some venture out more often than others.
Hard-boiled eggs are good for about one week if kept in the shell and refrigerated. If unshelled, they are good for 4 or 5 days.
Like many things there are exceptions to the rule. Brown eggs do come from brown-feathered chickens and white from white-feathered chickens. However, there are exceptions to this because it depends on the ancestry of the birds. What this means is that if somewhere along the road a bird was crossbred with another colour bird. In Ontario egg farming, the breeds of hens have not been crossbred with different coloured hens so white eggs are from white hens and brown from brown hens.
Two of the egg farm families featured on our site, William and Diana Schenk and Luke and Sandra Van Aert, have egg farms located near Sarnia.
Eggs from their farms and several others are picked up weekly and sent to grocery stores in the area including Windsor. While you won’t be able to determine exactly which egg farm the eggs you are purchasing come from, rest assured the eggs you are purchasing travelled from farm to your grocery store in approximately 4 to 7 days. For a more detailed explanation of how eggs get from the farm to the grocery store please check out our blog at www.everythingeggs.ca.
Hens are fed a balanced diet made from crops grown on the farm. The main ingredients are a mixture of corn, wheat and soybeans. The farmer uses only the elements needed to produce a healthy crop. This will include fertilizers, herbicides (which control weeds) and planting methods that will encourage the growth of an abundant crop. Crops are grown using only the amounts of fertilizer and chemicals needed; these will not be present in the seed harvested nor in the hen feed.