‘Size matters’: Could large eggs be killing hens?

Credit: ITV News

Animal welfare groups in East Anglia are urging people to stop buying large eggs as they say it can be painful, and in some cases fatal, for hens to lay them.

They want people to make the switch over to mixed or smaller eggs, which they claim would be better for both our feathered friends and farmers. 

Experts say egg size is mainly down to genetics, but changing food quantity and types can also play a part alongside genetic breeding. 

Demand from people across the country is causing some farmers across the region to try and produce large ones according to one charity. 

It is estimated people across the UK eat 12 billion eggs every year, with many favouring large or extra large ones. 

12 Billion

Eggs eaten in the UK every year

But East Anglian volunteers for the Hen Welfare groups say moving away from buying large eggs could make a big difference. 

Fliss Argent and Florence Credit: ITV News

Fliss Argent who lives in North Weald, Essex, says that if her hen Florence lays large eggs it can deplete her of calcium and protein.

It can be very painful for them to lay large eggs as well. It can lead to prolapse which can eventually lead to their death.

Fliss Argent, British Hen Welfare Trust

The British Hen Welfare Trust has launched a ‘size matters’ campaign in an effort to make people think twice before only buying large eggs. 

Jane has rescued hens herself Credit: ITV Anglia

If a hen is laying a large egg every single day and some of these are laying now extra large eggs, that might have internal problems for the hen. Sometimes the eggs don't go through the system properly, sometimes the hen gets prolapse, all of these things are poor consequences and there are health detriments to the hen for this and sometimes the hen will die because of these problems.

Jane Osgathorp, British Hen Welfare Trust