Ashley Richardson had an eggcelent presentation today!
 
Today we welcomed our speaker, Ashley Richardson from the American Egg Board (see?  now the photo caption makes sense!) and our own District Governor Rodney Adams.  
 
We had our first drawings for the Classic 5000 tickets.  Congratulations to Steve Love and Rodney Adams on their lucky win!
 
Last Monday was Operation Warm and we're proud to report that we distributed over 180 brand new coats to kids in need.  The coats are often the first thing these kids receive that are new and not a hand-me-down from a relative or bought second hand.  
 
Ashley gave us some great information about eggs.  One of the most frequently asked questions she gets is what is the difference between white and brown eggs?  The answer, disappointingly, is nothing - there is no difference in the color of the egg.  Egg color is determined by the color of the bird - white chickens lay white eggs and brown or red chickens lay brown eggs.  Commercial eggs are white because white chickens have been bred to lay more eggs and grow smaller.  
 
Chicks start laying eggs around 17-18 weeks old.  
 
Chicks lay the most eggs between 7 and 11 am.  
 
Eggs are graded by yolk - how tall it stands.  The USDA sets the grade per dozen eggs by the weight of the dozen, not per egg, which explains why they sometimes vary in size in the carton.  
 
In the 1940s, one farmer fed about 16 people.  Today, that farmer needs to feed 160.  They do this with economies of scale and mechanization.  The customer is often the first person to physically touch an egg when they take it out of the carton.  This happens about 3-4 days after the egg is laid.  
 
Eggs can come from caged birds - this accounts for 90% of our eggs.  Caged birds are the easiest to care for and collect eggs from.  Cage free birds are kept indoors but are allowed to roam in the barn.  This gives the birds more freedom, but requires more people watching over them.  Aviaries combine the two - chickens sleep in cages, but have access to a roaming space.  Free range chickens must have outside access, though it is often covered with netting to prevent hawks and other predators from hunting.  There is one commercial free range egg farm in the US, in California.  It's not a practical solution in the Midwest because chickens don't like the cold.  
 
Egg yolks are yellow because of the feed they eat, which is mostly corn.  
 
1 year of egg production can circle the globe 112 times!  Iowa and Ohio are the top egg producers in the world.  Illinois is ~15th.  The huge amounts of chicken poop this produces is dried and sold as fertilizer to nearby farms.  
 
Recovery from the avian flu that decimated flocks last year is still ongoing.  Farmers feared that the flu would return this fall,  but thankfully that didn't happen.  
 

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