Nutrition

Did you know that eggs are rich in nutrients, with almost every essential vitamin and mineral needed by the human body? Or that protein, like what you find in chicken, is a great way to maintain your weight, build muscle and strengthen bones? And new research shows that eggs are 14 percent lower in cholesterol and have an increased amount of Vitamin D than what previous studies have shown. If you’re interested in information about the nutrition of eggs visit Incredible Egg at: http://www.incredibleegg.org/health-and-nutrition

Information

Minnesota Poultry Fact Sheet

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? While we may never know the answer to that question, there is a lot of helpful and interesting information about chickens and eggs on this site.

For instance, did you know that there is approximately one egg laying chicken for each American? That’s right! With approximately 322 million of us living in this country and 280 million egg-laying hens, each of us has approximately one chicken laying eggs for our consumption.

Or that Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for chicken wings, with more than 100 million pounds of wings being consumed on that day?

For more facts about eggs, check out http://www.aeb.org/egg-industry/industry-facts/egg-industry-facts-sheet and for information about chicken wings, visit http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/chicken-wings-a-hot-topic/.

Minnesota’s poultry farmers are committed to raising safe, healthy and affordable food for families in the state and around the world. Their work in producing broiler chickens, eggs and turkeys is valued at more than $1 billion in economic impact and employs more than 26,000 of your friends, family and neighbors, in a variety of jobs, both on the farm and off.

Broiler chickens

  • There are more than 300 Minnesota broiler chicken farmers statewide, employing more than 1,600 individuals.
  • Those farmers raise approximately 47 million chickens annually, with that production being valued at more than $111 million.
  • The most recognized name in Minnesota is GNP Company (Gold’n Plump), which is based in St. Cloud.

Laying hens and eggs

  • The jobs of caring for laying hens and producing eggs in Minnesota employ more than 2,900 people.
  • Minnesota farmers consistently rank in the top 10 in the U.S. for egg production, with an average of 10.4 million hens producing nearly 2.9 billion eggs per year.
  • A few of the Minnesota egg farms and production companies you might recognize include Sparboe, Michael Foods Egg Products, Rembrandt Foods, Land O’Lakes, Cargill Kitchen Solutions, Mendelson Egg Company, Baer Brothers and Luoma Egg Ranch.
  • The production eggs is valued at nearly $168 million annually.

FAQ

Chickens
Egg-Laying Hens
Eggs
Animal Care
Chicken and Hen Nutrition
Environment
Food Safety

Chickens

How many chickens are produced annually by Minnesota farmers?

Minnesota chicken farmers proudly raise 47 million chickens annually.

How do I know which chicken to select when I’m at the grocery store?

First, determining what dish you’re going to prepare will help determine what size or cut of chicken you want to buy. When purchasing the chicken, you’ll want to look for one that is creamy white to deep yellow in appearance and without a distinctive odor.

Is chicken healthy to eat?

Chicken is a good source of protein, as well as vitamins B3 and B6 and minerals selenium, phosphorus and choline. And it can be prepared in a variety of ways, whether grilled, sautéed, roasted with any number of other tasty ingredients.

How do I safely cook a chicken?

You will find useful information about preparing chicken safely from http://eatchicken.com/chicken-cooking-tips-food-safety.aspx

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Egg-Laying Hens

How many eggs does a hen lay?

Hens will lay an egg every 24 to 26 hours, with some down-time during the year for their natural molting cycle. Through the course of a year, they will lay approximately 271 eggs.

How many egg-laying hens are there in the U.S.?

There are approximately 338 million egg-laying hens nationally, with 10.4 million of them raised in Minnesota. There is about one laying hen for every person in the U.S. and one hen will lay about enough eggs to feed one person.

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Eggs

Is there anything I should look for when purchasing eggs?

There are a number of steps you can take to ensure that you’re purchasing safe, healthy eggs. First, only purchase eggs from a refrigerated case. Next, open the egg carton and make sure that none of the eggs are cracked. Finally, once purchased and home, refrigerate them promptly in the carton until use.

How many eggs are produced annually in the U.S.?

Farmers in the U.S. produce about 91.6 billion eggs annually. As a portion of that, Minnesota farmers produce about 2.9 billion.

What is the best way to store eggs?

Eggs should be stored in the carton and in the coldest part of the refrigerator to ensure their safety.

How long do hard-boiled eggs keep?

Hard-boiled eggs will safely keep, preferably in the shell, for up to one week.

How many different ways are there to prepare eggs?

There are many different ways to prepare eggs. Just to name a few, you can prepare them scrambled, hard-boiled, over-easy and use them in many of your favorite recipes.

How do I know my eggs are fully cooked?

Thoroughly cooking eggs is one of the most important ways to ensure that eggs are safe to eat. First, cook eggs until both the white and the yolk are firm. If eggs are used as an ingredient in a recipe, use a food thermometer to make sure they’re cooked to 160°F.

Are eggs healthy to eat?

Eggs have a number of valuable health benefits. They are good for your eyes due to their carotenoid content and are high in protein and naturally-occurring vitamin D. Also, contrary to previous belief, eggs do not have a negative impact on cholesterol.

Why do some hens lay white eggs and others brown?

The color of the egg shell is determined by the breed of the hen. The white eggs most commonly preferred by consumers are laid by a breed that only lays white eggs.

Why are some yolks a different shade of yellow than others?

The color of the yolk is determined by the hen’s diet. The color may vary based on the different ingredients in the hen’s feed at that time. The color of the yolk does not change the basic nutritional value of an egg.

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Animal Care

Why are farmers committed to animal care?

Minnesota’s chicken and egg farmers are committed to ensuring the responsible care of our flocks and maintaining their well-being at all times. In fact, animal care, bird health and well-being are the most important factors to everyone involved in egg and chicken production, including farmers, the hatcheries responsible for raising our chicks and processing companies.

Each of us has the moral and ethical obligation to provide excellent care of our flocks every day. We do so because it is our responsibility, the right thing to do for the birds and it ensures safe, wholesome and quality food for consumers.

Why are birds raised indoors?

Chickens and hens are traditionally raised indoors for a number of reasons, all of which connect to overall animal well-being. As you know, Minnesota winters get incredibly cold. Being indoors allows us to control their environment, protect them from extreme weather conditions, and keep them comfortable year-round.

It keeps them safe from predators and diseases that exist on the outside, and also allows farmers and veterinarians to closely monitor bird health.

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Chicken and Hen Nutrition

What do chickens and hens eat?

Farmers have nutritionists who help them develop diets specific to the needs of the birds. As the birds grow, they have everything they need to be healthy. Their diet consists of soybean meal, corn, trace minerals and vitamins. That provides them with a complete package of nutrition.

Do they have access to water?

Chickens and hens have constant access to both nutritionally-balanced feed and water.

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Environment

Chickens and hens would seem to produce a lot of waste. What do you do with it?

Chickens and hens do produce a lot of manure, but farmers don’t think of it as waste. Instead, it’s an important resource for Minnesota farmers. Chicken farmers are able to collect the manure from the barns and use it as a fertilizer for their crops, or for the crops of neighbors’ farms; oftentimes, these crops will feed more chickens and hens.

How do you preserve the air, water and soil quality surrounding your barns?

Because farmers are able to capture chicken and hen manure in their barns, they are able to ensure it doesn’t run off into the water supply and soil. Farmers then apply the manure where it is needed and in a proper amount to ensure the viability of their crops. Chicken barns also have extensive ventilation systems and manure management protocols that minimize odor – which is important to both the surrounding communities and for the health of the birds and barn workers.

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Food Safety

How do farmers help ensure food safety?

Producing safe, affordable, high-quality and nutritious chicken and eggs is the top priority of Minnesota farmers. This is achieved by proactively monitoring and ensuring the health of all flocks. A healthy bird will produce a healthy product.

Farmers work hard to prevent diseases in the barns. That’s why chicken farmers are pretty selective about who enters the barns – people can bring in diseases from the outside and not even know it. To ensure that those who do visit don’t bring in disease, (like veterinarians, feed suppliers and others) visitors must wear protective gear while in the barns.  Additionally, all employees and visitors are prohibited from visiting multiple farms within 48 hours before entering a new chicken barn. Doing so helps decrease the chance of disease transmission.

Having those measures in place go a long way toward ensuring food safety and that you’re able to enjoy safe, wholesome chickens and eggs from Minnesota farmers.