Resources - links

Further information - links


Omega-3 fatty acids (O3FAs) are nutrients important for vascular and neuronal health [1]. Egg yolks are a good source of O3FAs, particularly if the hens have access to pasture or are fed greens [2]. However, some nuts, seeds and fish are much better sources of O3FAs than eggs [3-5] (see Table below). The important O3FAs to consider are ALA (sourced mainly from plants), EPA and DHA (sourced mainly from fish). To boost O3FAs in eggs, or to produce an ‘omega-3 egg’, it is not uncommon to feed hens linseed (also called flax), which are high in ALA. This can increase ALA but not necessarily EPA or DHA content [6]. The downside of feeding linseed is a possible negative effect on egg weight and shell quality [7]. Eggs are high in cholesterol (see Table below) but their consumption has little effect on blood cholesterol levels [8].



In a Neighbourhood Residential Zone under Section 32.09 of the Victorian Planning Scheme no permit is required for keeping 1-2 animals, while a permit is required for keeping 3-5 animals. However councils often do not require a permit for 3-5 or even more animals. For example, Maribyrnong (03/2018) allows keeping up to 10 hens without a permit. Some councils do not specify on their websites the number of animals that can be kept—aside from cats and dogs.

Regulations for the housing of chickens in Victoria:
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Domestic Fowl) Regulations 2016

1. Shahidi F & Ambigaipalan P, Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and their health benefits, Annual Review of Food Science and Technology, 9: 345-381 (2018).
2. Karsten HD et al., Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 25: 45-54 (2010).
3. Food product labels.
4. Omega-3 fatty acid fact sheet, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, USA.
5. Interim summary of conclusions and dietary recommendations on total fat and fatty acids. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation (2008).
6. Jia W et al., The effect of enzyme supplementation on egg production parameters and omega-3 fatty acid deposition in laying hens fed flaxseed and canola seed, Poultry Science, 87: 2005-2014 (2008).
7. Balance D. Producing omega-3 enriched eggs.
8. Eggs and cholesterol, Heart Foundation, New Zealand.