Many of you have been wondering why there are so many different types of eggs when you go to the store, and more importantly what do those choices mean.
I comes as no surprise that how chickens are treated, fed, and there living situation all determine the quality and taste of the eggs it produces.
Here is a little more information to help you push aside confusion and make a solid choice for your family.
These birds are not raised in a cage, rather they are usually raised in a large open barn or covered chicken coup. However, don’t mistake cage-free with free-range. These birds are still likely to be in close quarters with other hens in a small space and there is no guarantee that cage-free means that they have outdoor access. This differs depending on the farm. Cage-free chickens are also usually fed commercial chicken feed and there is no restriction on use of antibiotics, vaccinations, forced molting or beak trimming.
Free-range chickens are not kept in cages or small corridors. This does not mean that they definitely are allowed to roam the farm freely. Rather, they may be kept in a barn and and could be allowed to travel in and out of it or allowed to spend a portion of their day roaming outside. The benefit of being free range is that the chickens are able to supplement their diet with grasses and bugs, which add nutritional components to their eggs. However, like cage-free eggs, there is no restriction on the use of antibiotics, vaccinations, forced molting or beak trimming.
Free-Range Pastured Eggs:
Free-Range Pastured chickens are allowed to always roam freely. They collect most of their foods from insects and grass, this substantially increases the nutritional value of there eggs. However, unless the field is certified organic, then it could contain more pollutants and toxins in the land. They also have no restrictions on the use of antibiotics, vaccinations, forced molting or break trimming.
Organic eggs must qualify for USDA organic certification. This means that they are laid from hens that eat an organic feed without any animal by-products and do not receive vaccines or antibiotics. This also requires that all food given to the chicken must be grown on land that is free of toxins and pesticides for at least three years. To be certified as organic the chicken must also not be raised in cages, however this could just mean that they have a small outside perch that is still very small and in close quarters with other chickens. More often than not these chickens are treated more humanly and the owners are not allowed to use forced molting or beak trimming methods.
So now the big question, which type of egg is the best. We have two front runners for the most nutritions egg. The first is free-range pastured organic eggs. A close second is free-range pastured eggs from a farm you trust. These chickens are antibiotic/hormone free, raised humanely and are fed a healthy diet all leading to the most nutritious egg. In general, these eggs have higher levels of vitamin A, E and Omega 3 fatty acids when compared to farmed chickens. They are also known to have lower levels of fat, cholesterol and Omega 6 fatty acids. Even with the extra cost this is still an amazing and affordable source of protein and brain food.
This leads to our question. Which eggs would you choose and why? Follow our post in facebook and see what others are saying!