The color of the eggshell is determined by the bird’s genetics. Typically, hens that lay brown eggs are heavier, less excitable birds and are generally used in cage-free and organic production. Hens that lay white eggs are less meaty and more excitable (e.g., during thunderstorms) and are therefore safer in pens, which prevent them from piling on top of one another and getting hurt.
Free-range, cage-free, organic, Omega-3 enriched, and all of the Eggland’s Best eggs are considered specialty (or added-value) eggs. The cost to produce specialty eggs is higher due to expensive feed ingredients, increased labor, and more costly housing, which are all required to meet consumers’ demands when it comes to their personal diets or hen care.
Eggs are graded based on their internal quality, shell quality and appearance. There is no difference in nutrition or safety between grades. Grade AA eggs have thick, firm whites and high, round yolks. They’re also the most well shaped. Grade A eggs have whites that are reasonably firm — best for hard-cooking. And Grade B eggs have thin whites and wider yolks. They are most often used for baking.
Eggs are sized based on their weight as a per-dozen unit. A dozen large eggs, for example, weighs about 24 oz. A dozen medium eggs weighs about 21 oz. A dozen extra large eggs weighs approximately 27 oz.
The inspection of the interior content of the eggs is now done mostly by electronic scanners. These scanners look for the same things we did when we rotated eggs over a bright light by hand – blood spots, cracks, or overall imperfections. If any of these are found, the imperfect egg is removed.
These are tiny spots caused by a blood vessel that ruptured during the formation of the egg. They are not harmful. We see more of them after a violent thunderstorm when birds have been startled. Most eggs with blood spots are removed during the candling process. If you encounter an egg with a blood spot, you can remove it with a clean knife or spoon before cooking. Again, the egg is safe to eat.
The strands on either side of the yolk are called the chalazae (or chalazas).They hold the yolk in place in the center of the thick white. The more pronounced the chalazae, the fresher the egg.
Most likely because your eggs are so fresh. The ideal time to hard cook an egg is when it is 12 to 14 days old.
Eggs typically leave our farms early the morning after they were laid. This means they are often less than 24 hours old when they arrive at the store. If your retail grocer turns stock properly, you may be buying eggs that are only a day or two old.
Eggs are best kept in a covered carton at 38 to 40 degrees F on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator – not on the door, where they are regularly jostled. For every hour that an egg sits at room temperature, it ages the equivalent of an entire day. Eggs stored properly should remain safe to eat for up to 45 days.
Herbruck’s has never had an incidence of salmonella, nor have our eggs ever been recalled. We go to great lengths to steer clear of the salmonella enteritidis (SE) bacteria. Here’s how:
Today, a standard large egg contains approximately 185mg of cholesterol, on average. This measurement, reported by the USDA in early 2011, is 14 percent lower than levels reported in 2002. (The same recent USDA analysis found that today’s eggs have a greatly increased amount of Vitamin D.)
According to the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “evidence suggests that one egg (i.e., egg yolk) per day does not result in increased blood cholesterol levels, nor does it increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy people.” Eggland’s Best eggs, which contain less cholesterol than standard eggs, allow even those with dietary cholesterol issues to consume up to 12 eggs per week.
Our hens produce approximately 7 million eggs a day. These are healthy, diligent birds!
We have approximately 10 million laying hens total on our farm locations. In addition, we raise pullets (from one day to 20 weeks of age) at a separate facility. These hens regularly replace aging flocks that can no longer produce high-quality eggs.
Herbruck’s has nearly 400 talented, well-trained employees, as well as others who work on contract to help care for our birds. Additionally we have our own veterinary staff on hand to provide care for the hens.
A laying hen will begin laying eggs at about five months of age. Commercial layers typically produce for two to three years. A Herbruck’s hen typically produces one egg every 24 to 26 hours, with occasional days off each week. The average is 310 eggs per year. As a hen ages, her shell quality goes down, making for more broken eggs.
Yes. Research has proven that hens form social groups and prefer to be in the company of their peers. They tend to want to stay with their own social group, and when a caged hen escapes, it tries very hard to get back in with its social group to continue to practice its sub-group behavior.
Experience shows that the more attentive we are to our birds’ security, health, and welfare, the more eggs they produce. Herbruck’s operations have some of the highest egg production rates in the nation. Close observation by layer workers indicates that housed birds are curious, bright-eyed, active, and become bonded to their caretakers. In addition, tests have shown that the levels of the hormone corticosterone – produced by laying hens in response to stress or fear – are similar in both free-range and caged egg layers.
All of our hens have plenty of space to conduct their natural activities: preening, pecking, scratching, laying, feeding, drinking, socializing – and flying, in the case of cage-free hens. Hens in cages are housed under United Egg Producers animal welfare guidelines. Each bird has 67 to 76 square inches, depending on the cage. Having both caged and cage-free birds allows us to provide consumers with choices about the eggs they buy.
We give our hens a non-invasive laser treatment to remove 1/8” of the sharp tip, so they won’t hurt each other when they peck. Our hatchery staff members who perform this treatment are highly trained and follow strict guidelines.
The American Egg Board! Thanks to the Egg Board, both industry professionals and curious consumers can find all the egg information they’d ever need in the Eggcyclopedia.