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What came first,

the chicken or the egg?

Gallery 1  ::  



text eggs

During the First World War islanders from Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides were involved with The National Egg Collection for the Wounded, despite being more remote than other parts of the UK. This was launched in November 1914 in the hope of sending 20,000 eggs a week from the UK to wounded soldiers who were in hospitals in France. By August 1916 over a million eggs a week were being sent overseas.  

Eggs had been a big industry in Orkney long before the war effort. Even as early as 1880 over
1 million eggs were produced annually on Orkney. Following the Second World War this rose to over 50 million eggs. 

Unfortunately, in 1952, and then again in 1953, hurricane winds of over 120mph caused the Orkney egg industry to collapse suddenly due to the severe storm damage. In 1953 seven hundred hen houses across the islands were smashed to smithereens, or blown out to sea, and 86,000 hens perished and were picked up in barrow loads in the aftermath.

Neither Shetland nor the Outer Hebrides had an egg industry on this scale, although hens and ducks were kept on most crofts, and this is still the case.  

Gallery 2  ::  

Gallery 2  ::  

gallery 2

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