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Chicken – Layers


A layer chicken is a chicken that produces eggs. Eggs have been popular since ancient times. They were used as a celebration at Easter, religious ceremonies, egg collections, and were also a decoration to give to someone special. Eggs are a symbol of friendship and love, as well as an important cooking ingredient.

A girl is holding a bowl that has baking ingredients in it as she stirs it.

Eggs are an important cooking and baking ingredient.

A hen stands next to an egg on a white background.
A healthy chicken lays about 265 eggs each year.

The colour of the yolk changes depending on what the chicken eats. A pale-yellow yolk is from a hen that eats a wheat diet. A dark-yellow yolk is from a hen that eats corn or an alfalfa diet.

A chicken is standing next to wheat and cobbs of corn.

A chicken’s diet will affect the colour of the yolk produced, which can range from light to dark yellow.

Industry Overview

In 2017, there were 66 registered egg farms in Saskatchewan that were home to 1.5 million laying hens. They produce approximately 32 million dozen eggs, which is 384 million individual eggs each year!

An illustrated farm family stands in front of a large poultry barn.

There are approximately 384 million eggs produced each year on 66 egg farms in Saskatchewan!

After the hens lay the eggs, most of the eggs are graded, sorted, packaged, and distributed by Star Egg in Saskatoon. They make sure the eggs are good quality before sending them to consumers in Saskatchewan and western Canada.

Some egg producers will grade, clean, and sell their eggs at farmers markets or privately to consumers.

A conveyor belt is shown with many eggs on it.

Eggs are graded, sorted, packaged, and distributed at a processing facility.

Who is Who?

A rooster stands close to the camera as if for a portrait.


A male chicken is a rooster.
A chick is sitting in the green grass.


A baby chicken is called a chick or a peep.
Two hens are walking on grass and a pathway.


A female chicken is a hen.

Animal Care

A chicken barn has many types of technology that help the farmers take care of their animals. There are strict rules to follow if someone is going into the barn to make sure they do not bring diseases or germs to the animals. When new chickens are being brought into the barn, the barn must be properly cleaned and disinfected. Cleanliness can help avoid diseases. The feed system, water lines, egg-gathering equipment, and ventilation are all monitored frequently to check that they are safe and clean.

There are free-run layer barns as well, where the hens can move around more.

Chicken farmers are a part of a national animal care program that employ field inspectors who visit each farm. The inspector makes sure the animals have a nutritious and well-balanced diet, fresh water, and a clean and comfortable environment to live in.

A man is checking the temperature in a chicken barn.

This inspector is checking the temperature in the chicken barn to ensure the chickens are comfortable.

Animal Housing

Layer chickens can be kept in enriched cages, free-run barns or free-range barns (which includes the outside).

The cage system is a housing system that provides the highest food safety and egg quality standards. Cages provide a safe, healthy environment for chickens by maintaining an appropriate group size. They allow the chickens to cluster together for security and social interaction. The cages also provide the chickens with protection from the weather and predators.

Chickens are clustered intheir cages together.

The chickens cluster in their cages for security and social interaction

Cage systems help the birds to be safe from the bacteria that is in their manure. Manure falls through the bottom of their cage. The eggs roll from the cages onto a conveyer belt that goes to a packing area. The eggs are collected 2 or 3 times a day to make sure they are fresh.

The inside of an egg laying barn is shown with many hens in their cages.

The eggs roll from the cage to the conveyor belt.

A free-run housing system allows the chickens to roam inside a laying barn. A free-range is similar to the free-run system, but they also have access to the outdoors in a fenced-off pasture area.

A group of free-range chickens are eating grass outside.

These free-range chickens are able to roam around outside and eat grass.


The barns that chickens live in have technology that allow the farmers to have healthy, productive hens. The farmer can monitor the barn temperature, what the chickens are eating, and the feeding systems through the technology. Chickens always have food and water available to them.

There is also technology used to collect the eggs on conveyor belts, check them for quality, package them, and get them ready to ship out to the grocery store where they are sold to customers.


There is a process for how the eggs get from the layer chicken to the grocery store.


Layer chickens give us eggs. We can cook eggs in a wide variety of dishes to enjoy! There’s also many baking recipes where eggs are included. Eggs can also be used products, such as sauces and dressings.

A bunch of eggs are shown in a tray.

Layer chickens lay eggs that people eat.

Two egg sandwiches on a platter are shown.

Many things can be cooked and baked using eggs!

White and brown coloured eggs are laid out in a circle on a wooden table.
White coloured chickens lay white eggs and reddish-brown coloured chickens lay brown eggs.


A large egg contains 70 calories and a lot of nutrition. They have the highest quality protein and 14 key nutrients that our bodies need. Eggs have essential amino acids that help form protein in our bodies, which help give us energy.


A girl is holding an egg in front of each eye.

Eggs are a good source of nutrients for humans.

This video shows the journey of the egg, from farm to table.