A hen that is raised in an environment that she is not crowded, allowed to free range outdoors and has access to a healthy diet is going to lay an egg that is better for you than a factory farm hen egg. Farm fresh eggs will not only last longer, but they are richer in color, much tastier and nutritionally better for you.
Environmental Differences: Farm Fresh vs. Factory Raised
How a chicken is raised will directly impact the quality of the eggs that the hen produces and as the consumer, it affects us too.
How are Factory Farmed Chickens Raised?
“Battery Cage” chickens live in a cramped, dirty environment, spending their whole life trapped inside this cage. Multiple hens are housed in these small wire cages for the sole purpose of egg production. Hens raised in this type of environment are not being exposed to sunshine or the ability to take a dust bath, preen, scratch, peck, eat bugs and spread their wings. They live a very stressful, short, two-year life.
Then there are “Cage-Free” or “Free-Range” eggs that you can purchase at the supermarket. This just tells you that they are not being confined to battery cages. This does not mean that they are being exposed to sunlight and allowed to forage outdoors, like normal chickens should.
Cage-free simply means that they are free to walk within a barn housed with potentially 1000’s of other hens. Cage-free is better than having to be raised in a battery cage though! While many cage-free hens may not have access to outdoors, they do have access to areas that they can take a dust bath and to perch.
Diets of factory and free-range hens is mostly genetically modified organisms (GMO) grains with additives. If you are going to buy supermarket eggs, try to find one that says, “NON-GMO” on it. Many are also given antibiotics in order to remain healthy due to the crowded and unsanitary living conditions.
How are Farm Fresh Chickens Raised?
Chickens that are raised on a farm are usually fed a diet that is of much higher quality than factory raised chickens. Many farmers and backyard chicken owners will choose to feed their chickens an organic diet, filled with all the necessary ingredients to produce good healthy laying hens.
The advantage of chickens that are raised on a farm or “backyard” is that they are allowed to free range the land to consume bugs, grasses and various other greens. Backyard chicken owners also can spoil their chickens by providing them other healthy foods such as sprouted grains (fodder), mealworms, healthy fruits and vegetables.
Below is a list of feeds that are good quality and nutritionally balanced for laying hens.
|LAYERS FEED||TYPE||WEIGHT||STAR RATING|
|Manna Pro Organic Layer Pellets||NON-GMO||10 lb.||check price|
|Prairie’s Choice Backyard Chickens Feed||NON-GMO||25 lb.||check price|
|Picky Peckers Layers Feed||ORGANIC||10 lb.||check price|
|Scratch and Peck Feeds with Grubs Protein||NON-GMO||25 lb.||check price|
|Homestead Harvest (SOY,CORN FREE)||NON-GMO||40 lb.||check price|
Farm Fresh Eggs Look Better
If you put two brown eggs side by side, one from the factory and one from a farm, you cannot tell the difference. We have always been taught, “it’s on the inside what counts.” Well, that is true with chicken eggs too, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to mention how much nicer a basket of farm fresh chicken eggs look compared to a carton of supermarket eggs.
They look so much better on the outside! When you open yourself up to having farm fresh eggs, you can have the most beautiful basket of colored eggs with each daily egg collection. Small farmers and backyard chicken owners have a variety of breeds to choose from that will provide them with various shades of browns, greens and even shades of blue eggs.
Supermarket eggs are either white or one shade of brown because they only use chickens that they can get to lay 300 + eggs a year. Store bought egg shells are also thinner and are more easily broken due to the diet of the hen being of lesser quality. When hens are forced to produce a large amount of eggs throughout the year and are not provided a proper diet, they begin to lack the calcium. Calcium is what laying hens need a higher amount of to provide a nice, thick egg shell.
Ok, so outside appearance of the egg really doesn’t make an egg “better for you.” But what is on the inside does. Farm fresh eggs look better on the inside too! Chickens on the farm are fed a much higher quality diet and it shows in their eggs. Have you ever compared a farm fresh egg to a store bough one? Crack it open and compare the yolks. You will notice that the supermarket egg is a bright yellow color, but the farm fresh egg is a much deeper, richer orange color.
Farm Fresh Eggs Taste Better
The way a hen is raised not only affects how an egg looks, but it also will change how it tastes too! That deeper, richer orange yolk actually tasted better too. It has a richer, creamier taste than a supermarket egg.
The texture of a free-range hens egg is fluffier and the store bought egg is not as flavorful and has more of a “plastic” texture.
Bottom line, by providing the hen a diet high in nutritional quality, this is passed on to the egg and you can taste the difference!
Farm Fresh Eggs are Nutritionally Better For You
Free-ranging hens that are allowed access to daily sunshine, bugs and vegetation are going to lay eggs with increased nutritional value than store bought eggs.
The following is a chart that shows the difference in nutrition be tween a farm fresh egg vs. a supermarket egg.
|ADVANTAGES OF FARM FRESH EGGS|
|⬆️ OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS|
|⬆️ VITAMIN D|
|⬇️ SATURATED FAT|
|⬆️ VITAMIN E|
|⬆️. VITAMIN A|
|⬆️. BETA CAROTENE|
Eggs laid by hens that are allowed to free-range in pastures have access to a healthier, more natural diet. Free-range and pasture-raised chickens get more exercise and are therefore healthier, producing better tasting eggs.
Chickens that are allowed to eat weeds, leafy greens and flowers is consuming more xanthophylls which is a natural yellow pigment. So, this is what gives a farm fresh egg yolk its deep, rich orange color!
Farm Fresh Eggs Last Longer
When you buy eggs at a supermarket, the eggs have been cleaned and some sprayed down with chemical sanitizers. When this is done, it washes the “bloom” or “cuticle” off of the egg. The bloom is a protective coating that the egg has on it when it is laid. It acts as a barrier, protecting the egg from harmful bacteria from penetrating through its pores.
Supermarket eggs need to stay in the refrigerator because they have lost their protective coating or “bloom” and once you take an egg out of its carton, it needs to be used within 2 hours. Cold eggs will sweat when they are removed from the refrigerator, putting them at higher risk of absorbing any bacteria through its shell. Supermarket eggs are good for about 1 month if stored in the back of your refrigerator.
For more info on this read my article, 9 Important Facts: How Long Are Chicken Eggs Good For?
Freshly laid, farm fresh eggs are good for up to one month on your kitchen counter, 3 months in your refrigerator and up to 6 months in an airtight container, refrigerated.
Are Farm Fresh Eggs Really Better for You?
Farm fresh eggs may last longer and look prettier sitting on your countertop, but it does not make it “better for you.” The way in which a hen is raised is what makes a difference in the quality of the egg it produces. A hen that is raised in healthy living conditions, allowed to free range and fed a high quality diet will provide eggs that not only look better on the inside, but are tastier and nutritionally better for you.