’Tis the Season... But Just Not for Eggs

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Eggs are an American staple. We eat them boiled, scrambled and poached. We also use them as ingredients in our cooking, especially around the holidays. According to Discovery Educations the average American consumes 250 eggs per year, which is approximately 7.6 billion eggs eaten countrywide. That’s a whole lot of sunny side ups!

The egg symbolizes rebirth and springtime, and with good reason. Before our current industrialized food system that gives us egg carton upon egg carton lining grocery store shelves year ‘round, eggs were a seasonal commodity, unavailable in the darker, shorter days of winter. The truth is that like so many things, we have modern science to thank for something most of us take for granted.

Experience.com explains how the egg industry changed to bring us our favorite breakfast food 365 days a year.

…with the arrival of rural electrification, when farms got electric lights and heat beginning back in the 1930s. As chickens started getting at least 14 hours of light a day and their environment was nice and warm, their hormones told them that it was safe to lay eggs. They sensed that the good weather and long days would provide a hospitable environment for baby chicks to grow up in. And so they laid eggs.”

This means that if left to nature there would be much less egg cracking during the darker months. Mother Earth News reiterates;

When daylight and temperature decrease in the fall, egg production declines, too. After all, it was the gorgeous sunshine that was stimulating the birds’ egg-laying hormones. Plus, in cold temperatures the ladies divert their egg-laying energy into keeping-warm energy.”

It makes sense. We know bears (and humans) like to hibernate during the winter so why not chickens? They even take a few weeks off (a holiday break if you will) in the wintertime. So the next time you crack open and egg in the middle of January, consider it a tiny modern-day miracle.   

Sources:

Read all articles by Juniper Briggs

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