Free Range Eggs Alberta: Our Hens Run Free On The Range
Free Range eggs are produced by hens that move about with very little restriction in a cage-free, open concept barn with access to roam outdoors. Perches are situated at different levels so the hens can choose to sit at a low level, perhaps in a more sheltered area, or at higher levels overlooking the other hens. Nesting boxes are located throughout the barn.
Access to outdoors allows the hens to express natural behaviour by scratching and pecking in the dirt and eating insects. It also gives them exposure to sunlight for vitamin D, which is reflected in increased levels in the eggs.
Free Run eggs are produced by hens in open, cage-free environments roaming freely in an open concept barn. They enjoy all the advantages of Free Range hens with the exception of access to outdoors. They are able to socialize and move about the barn without restriction, and they have a varied selection of nesting areas to choose from.
Farmer's Finest Comfort Coop eggs are produced by hens in enriched cages – which are larger and have nest boxes. Hens housed in enriched cages are provided with a stable environment with hygiene, food safety and clean water, protected from predators, disease and parasites.
There's a school of thought that hens are better off if they are not caged, but in our many years of experience we've found that hens do very well in enriched cage environments. By comparison, undomesticated hens live in groups of about six hens that cluster in small areas, sheltering under bushes to protect themselves from predators. Disease and cannibalism is a big problem with birds in free-range flocks, however. With four to six birds housed in a cage, each hen gets the food and water it needs without having to fight for it, and waste falls away from the birds on the mesh floors. This means clean birds and clean eggs – which makes it tough for disease and parasites to survive.
Organic egg products are produced with an OCIA (Organic Crop Improvement Association) certified organic feed which must meet OCIA specifications on organic standards, such as grain produced on pesticide free land, no genetically modified grains etc. The chickens are hygienically housed and fed certified organic feed. This feed contains no additives, preservatives, medications, antibiotics or hormones. Organic Eggs are exceptionally tasty and packed with essential nutrients.
Omega 3 eggs have been produced with a fortified multi-grain feed in order to enhance the essential nutrients like the anti-oxidants Vitamin E and Omega 3. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fats. These are found in cold water ocean fish, soybean and flaxseed. Hens are fed a special diet that contains 10-20% ground flaxseed thereby producing Omega 3 enriched eggs.
It has been known for many years that polyunsaturated fatty acids play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. These essential fatty acids are also required for the normal development of the brain, nerve tissues and eyes. The human body cannot produce essential fatty acids such as Omega 3s, so they must be consumed in the diet. Vitamin E and Omega 3 fatty acids are essential nutrients for the maintenance of good health, normal growth and development. The Omega 3 egg can provide approximately 1/4 to 1/3 of the recommended intake of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Grain Fed eggs are produced by hens that have been fed a special diet to produce the freshest and best tasting eggs possible. This all-grain diet may include oats, barley, wheat, corn, soya and flax. This feed contains no additives, preservatives, medications, antibiotics or hormones.
Vitamin D Enriched
Vitamin D enriched eggs are produced by hens that have been fed a diet high in Vitamin D.
A Word from our Poultry Specialist
Ken Severson is the Nutrition and Poultry Specialist for Sparks Egg Farms. Ken takes care to make sure the hens and pullets are fed a balanced diet, and to safeguard their health and welfare.
The 4 Pillars
At Sparks Egg Farms we respect 4 important pillars of responsibility.
Read more on 4 Pillars
Our new facility in Westlock, Alberta, is a proud example of our strong commitment to sustainability.