Eggs have become common in almost every home all over America, with recent statistics showing that most Americans eat about one egg per person every day of the week. In fact, the United States produces the second highest amount of eggs in the world, after only China. The eggs consumed come from egg-laying chickens kept by farmers in various parts of the country. In 2009, the per capita egg consumption in the country was standing at 248 eggs annually. During the mid-20th century, the consumption of eggs generally went down. However, as of recently, it has been on the increase.
Iowa leads the US states in the number of laying hens. In 2017, Iowa had 55,675,000 laying hens. The state of Iowa produces about 16 billion eggs a year from its huge laying hen population which translates to one in every batch of six consumed in the US. The state of Iowa has about 55 million hens contributes over $2 billion on an annual basis to the economy. Besides, it has created employment both directly and indirectly to about 8,000 people.
The state of Indiana comes second with 32,744,000 hens. In Indiana, it is estimated that there are at least six chickens for every person living in Indiana, both laying and broiler. The number of layer farms is about 5500 all across the state. The laying hens vary across these farms, and the difference can be noted in their eggs with some being white, brown, or in some cases contain a blue hue. Farms in rural Indiana such as the Rosa Acre have some of the highest populations of egg-laying hens in America.
Ohio has some 31.8 million egg-laying hens, closely following Indiana in the third position as of 2017. The state emphasizes producing safe, high quality, and nutritious eggs through its line of laying hens estimated to give over 7 billion eggs retailing at about $574 million.
Pennsylvania is home to 28,552,000 laying hens. The laying hens come from pullets which are then fed on a diet rich in calcium since this is the primary component of the egg shells. They are then exposed to sunlight to stimulate egg production after they are a few weeks old – however, this stage has to be timed to prevent premature egg production. Collection of eggs is done by rollers and belts connected to the hen houses.
Animal Rights Concerns
Americans love their eggs. However, some practices in their production process have caused contention. One of these is the cages in which they are kept which animal rights activists have expressed as inhumane and extremely frustrating to the birds. Steps toward discouraging such practices have included outlets like McDonald’s boycotting eggs from such farms.