Eggs & Chicken

Domesticated fowl or chickens, since birds and eggs preceded man in the evolutionary chain, they’ve existed longer than historians. East Indian history indicates that wild fowl were domesticated as early as 3200 B.C. Egyptian and Chinese records show that fowl were laying eggs for man in 1400 B.C. Europe has had domesticated hens since 600 B.C. There is some evidence of native fowl in the Americas prior to Columbus’ arrival. However, it is believed that, on his second trip in 1493, Columbus’ ships carried to the New World the first of the chickens related to those now in egg production. These strains originated in Asia.

Most people of the world eat the egg of the chicken, Gallus domesticas. Nearly 200 breeds and varieties of chickens have been established worldwide. Only a few breeds are economically important as egg producers. Most laying hens in the U.S. are Single-Comb White Leghorns.

Continuing studies begun in the late 1920s. In the late 1940s, some poultry researchers had favorable results with raised wire-floor housing for hens. The separated wire housing came to be called the cage system and California farmers quickly put the research into practice.

Sanitation greatly improved when hens were raised off the floor. Neither the hens nor the eggs came into contact with waste and waste removal was much easier. Feeding became more uniform as the more timid hens were able to eat and drink as much as they required, just like the more aggressive hens. This resulted in more uniform egg-nutrient quality and less feed being needed for the flock.

The scientific research on caging proved itself in California. A healthy hen will lay a lot of eggs. With much improved health, California hens each produced about 250 eggs per year and their mortality dropped to 5%. Based on these numbers, more and more farms across the country built new facilities with the cage style of housing.

In colder climates, farmers modified the southern structures by enclosing them and adding fans for ventilation. The hens themselves were a great source of heat for the winter. Their combined body heat helped to maintain a comfortable temperature in the houses throughout the winter and the fans provided the right temperatures in the summer.

The caging system also lent itself to increased automation, which was needed to handle the increased output of eggs from the hens. Conveyor belts were added to the hen house to collect the eggs as soon as they were laid and carry them to the washers.

By the early 1960s, improved technology and the development of sophisticated mechanical equipment were responsible for a shift from small farm flocks to larger commercial operations.

Improving the health of hens through more protective housing and better feeding facilities led to more eggs which led to increased automation to handle the eggs. With increased automation, labor costs were reduced, providing a lower cost to the consumer. In addition to much improved hen health, equal-opportunity feeding also made the nutrient quality of eggs more uniform. Altogether, the changes resulted in a win-win situation for both hens and consumers.

Chef Todd’s Health & Wellness
Growing up in New England my Canadian grandfather Joseph Daigneault known to us grandkids as “Pepe “French for grandfather. Loved his chickens and there eggs  no matter what the weather was good or bad “Pepe ”would go feed his chickens and get his fresh laid eggs enjoy some some facts about Eggs, they are rich in high-quality protein, are a nutritious and inexpensive meat substitute. They are low in calories and may be eaten alone or used in a wide variety of recipes, such as sauces and baked goods. This versatile food, once shunned for their high cholesterol content, may be part of a healthy diet for most individuals. In addition to protein, eggs are rich in vitamins and minerals essential for optimal health.

Basic Nutrient Values
One egg is the equivalent, for protein, of 1 oz. of red meat. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, one whole large egg provides 75 calories, 6 g of protein, 5 g of fat, 1.6 g of saturated fat, 0 g of carbohydrate, 63 mg of sodium and approximately 213 mg of cholesterol. Most of an egg’s protein is in the white portion while the cholesterol is found in the egg yolk. Although yolks are cholesterol-rich, the yolks are high in many essential nutrients.

Protein Quality
Egg protein is a common reference to which the quality of other protein sources is compared. Egg-white protein is referred to as egg albumin and is often used by athletes and bodybuilders in powdered supplement form. Egg protein has a score of 100 on the biological value index, meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids, and has a perfect score of 1.0 on the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Index (PDCAA). These indexes measure a protein’s completeness and quality.

B Vitamins
Eggs are high in vitamin B2 or riboflavin and vitamin B12 or cobalamin. One large egg provides 0.25 mg of riboflavin, meeting 15 percent of the recommended daily value for this nutrient as well as 0.6 mcg of vitamin B12, or nearly 10 percent of the recommended daily value. Riboflavin, like other B vitamins, is needed for energy metabolism or breaking down the foods you eat into energy your cells can use. Vitamin B12, found almost solely in animal foods, is important for making genetic material, or DNA, as well as red blood cells. All of the B vitamins are important for promoting a healthy nervous system.

Egg yolks, according to the Iowa Egg Council, are rich in two antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin. The content of these antioxidants in an egg yolk varies and depends upon the hen’s diet, however, it has been reported that the body’s ability to utilize the lutein and zeaxanthin in egg yolks is better than that found in leafy greens, such as spinach, according to an article published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” in 2004. Eating 1.3 egg yolks daily increases blood lutein and zeaxanthin levels significantly. These antioxidants promote eye health and those with increased blood levels experience lower rates of developing age-related macular degeneration.

Trace Minerals
Eggs are a good food source of several essential trace minerals, selenium, molybdenum and iodine, according to the World’s Healthiest Foods website. One large egg provides 13.5 mg of selenium, meeting 19.5 percent of the recommended daily value; 7.5 mcg of molybdenum, or 10 percent of the recommended daily value; and 23.7 of mcg iodine, or nearly 16 percent of the recommended daily value. Selenium helps prevent cells from damage, promotes immune system health and is necessary for regulating the thyroid hormone. Molybdenum, according to the Oregon State University, is a key component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is used to metabolize certain amino acids, or building blocks of protein. Like selenium, iodine is important for proper thyroid function.