Choosing The Most Egg-cellent Eggs
3 Egg Questions whose answers are surprisingly - No, No, and No!
1) Are brown eggs healthier than white?
2) Should I look for eggs labeled organic?
3) Is cage-free the best choice for healthy eggs and happy chickens?
Let's talk about each.
1) Are BROWN EGGS best?
Egg color makes no difference. Brown vs white has nothing to do with how healthy the egg is or how the chicken is cared for. Different breeds of chicken lay different color eggs. White chickens lay white eggs, brown chickens lay brown eggs, and red chickens lay reddish eggs.
2) Should I buy ORGANIC?
"Organic" is a very important distinction, but it is not the only thing to look for. Organic eggs are laid by hens that may be kept in any kind of caging system--cruel or humane. (See below.) Organic eggs are laid by chickens who eat organic feed and don’t receive vaccines or antibiotics.
3) So many labels! Is CAGE-FREE the best choice for healthy eggs and happy chickens?
FARM FRESH EGGS
This is the type of “farm” that most “farm fresh” eggs come from.
These hens have only 10 square inches to stand in all day long!
CAGE FREE CHICKENS
“Cage-free” simply means there is no “cage” holding the chickens in one spot. As you can see by this photo, this still a very cruel way to exist. These hens are kept in a crowded barn.
They have bedding material such as pine shavings on the floor, and they are allowed some perches and nest boxes. But, they're still in very close quarters with less than 2 square feet per hen all day long.
FREE RANGE CHICKENS
Free Range egg Producers must demonstrate to the USDA that the hens are allowed "access to the outside.”
A door of some size must be opened at some point during the day leading outside. In theory this means they have access to the outdoors. However, there is no legal requirement around this "access" to the outdoors. While in THIS photo it does not look like a horrible life, in many other cases their "access" is often a small door leading to a paved yard at the end of a crowded chicken barn that is opened for 30 minutes a day!
PASTURE RAISED or GRASS FED CHICKENS
In some cases Free-Range chickens are actually truly pasture-raised and grass-fed.
These chickens have the best living conditions and the diet closest to their original natural diet. They are not confined in cages or aviaries. They spend most of their time outdoors where they have access to a natural diet of grass, insects and earthworms.
On some farms the hens roost and lay their eggs in mobile coops.
Watch this cool video to see how they move 1,000 Hens to fresh pasture every day.
Click on this picture to watch video that gives you a peek inside how this farm gathers 850 eggs every day from these grass-fed, pasture-raised hens.
BOTTOM LINE WHEN BUYING EGGS