It is easy to go to the dairy section of any food store and open a cooler door, grab a carton of white eggs and quickly peek inside the carton to make sure you don’t end up with one that has been cradling a cracked egg before placing it into your cart. It’s also very cheap to purchase a dozen store eggs. With the ease and price most times people don’t think twice about their chicken eggs. Today, I am going to share with you Store Bought Eggs vs Home Raised Eggs that will hopefully make you rethinking the idea of home raised hens.
Factory Farmed Eggs
The photo above shows you what a typical setting is like for a factory chicken (aka battery caged). I have read all about the unhealthy conditions that factory farmers have kept their chicken living courters, however I believe not all chicken keepers that produce store eggs are equal. Let’s set aside the bad dirty claims and look at a well kept setting. No point in making you sick to your stomach with that issue.
In most cases, you will find an advantage of 25 hens in cages which is the size of baby crib mattress. The cages are laid out in rows and columns such as a Excel spread sheet or like the cell of a battery. That is how they got the name battery cage. At times they have a wired flooring, which allows the chicken’s poop to drop through keeping their feet cleaner. Side note: from my experience keeping hens their poop is messy and there is no way just having a wired bottom would allow all the droppings fall through the flooring. Sometimes it is a goo and they seem to always step in the worst of it. They will end up having a dirty foundation under their feet. The wire will reduce the risk of diseases caused by uncleaned environments. Chickens eat, lay eggs and poop that is what they love to do!
The advantages of having the chickens in a factory setting are mainly for the keeper and not for the hen or for the consumer. They don’t have chickens running around and laying eggs in random areas, however most hens will always lay in her nest. It is easier to house a large number of chickens in a caged home. Studies have shown that when these hens are kept in this style they tend to eat less, so the chicken keeper would have less food to provide to these hens.
Although the factory chicken layout does benefit the farmer or business there are reasons it doesn’t help everyone . The problem with this style of chicken keeping can be seen in 3 areas. One the welfare of the animal. They are lacking natural sunlight in a factory which produces a better tasting egg. The hens are at work 24/7 and never experience life beyond a cell (that was a good one, right!?). You have hens stacked on top of one another making it a perfect breeding ground for harmful diseases. Like a popular one called E coli.
What You Can Expect
From An Egg You Buy At The Store
- Vitamin A 0.97mg
- Vitamin E – 487IU
- Beta Carotene – 10mg
- Folate – 47mcg
- Omega 3 – 0.033mg
- Cholesterol – 423 mg
- Saturated Fat – 3.1g
As a chicken keeper that photo breaks my heart to see so many hens stacked on top of one another without a lick of nature beside them. I am not a crazy animal activist, however I do feel as though any animal no matter if it is a pet, in a zoo or in a factory, they should have some sort of elements from their natural habitat. To me it would promote a healthier life for them, which in turn would give us better food. I understand the business side of it, yet it doesn’t have to be all about making the most you can without having to give the animals green grass, fresh air and true sunlight. Right?!
Backyard Farmed Eggs
I believe the backyard chicken is usually healthier due to extra love from the family raising the little lady. However, in all honestly that most likely doesn’t play any part in the production of her eggs. A bit of sun, bugs, fresh water and feed are the pieces that make a great free-ranged egg.
What You Can Expect
From An Egg From Your Backyard Coop
In 2007 a well trusted source called Mother Earth News did a study, in an accredited Portland, Oregon lab, with eggs. The study found the eggs from free-ranging hens were extremely better than those produced in a battery cage setting.
The results found shows the benefits of pasture raised eggs like the following:
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- 1/4 less saturated fat
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta carotene
They also found that eggs from hens raised in backyards with a free-ranging life have from three to six times more vitamin D than eggs from hens raised in confinement. A large factor is diet and the exposer to direct sunlight, which their bodies convert to vitamin D and then pass on to their eggs. If you are looking for a way to increase your health, eating two backyard hen raised eggs will give you 63 to 126% more vitamin D then a normal daily recommendation!
I hope this article gives you more insight on what you are getting out of your eggs. No matter if you choose to purchase store eggs or if you plan on raising your very own hens to get daily eggs, at least you are eating a food that is better for you than sugar covered cereal!