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Is the egg cage free/pastured/organic or caged?

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  • Is the egg cage free/pastured/organic or caged?

    I've done some reading to figure out how to tell if an egg is pastured/cage free or not. I know the catch phrase "cage free" can mean alot of things. I've been buying "cage free" eggs from a local farmer, but haven't get a whole bunch of details from them. I have also read that pastured eggs have a more orange yolk than say a caged egg fed run of the mill stuff. I've also heard that a pastured egg also has a thicker shell. These local eggs I've been buying have a more yellow yolk than eggsland best cage free eggs, which seem to be more orange. Has anyone heard any definitive things to look for to determine the difference, other than taking the word of the seller?

  • #2
    Generally, a chicken without a cage is a happy chicken.


    • #3
      I would talk to the farmer you are currently getting your eggs from. Yes the egg yolks look different from a pastured chicken. I have only compared them to a commercial egg. The pastured egg yolk is deep dark orange with very clear whites. The commercial egg is pale yellow in comparison and the white aren't always clear. I haven't compared the so called "cage free" eggs to a pastured egg though.
      My Blog: Healthy Living How To


      • #4
        Pastured egg yolks are indeed a rich orange color. It's truly a beautiful sight to see. If that farmer is being sketchy or dodgy about the details of their eggs, then those chickens are unlikely to be pastured. They should be loud and proud.

        Also, as you will see from the documentary Food, Inc., "cage-free" does not mean those poor birds ever see the light of day. It's still a miserable, unhealthy existence.
        "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


        • #5
          I just bought 2 dz from the farmer down the road... YUM! Dark yolk!!

          Created by - Free Calorie Counter

          What am I doing? Depends on the day.


          • #6
            And it's not just a matter of esthetics, taste, or texture. Pastured eggs are significantly more nutritious as well.

            Whole Health Source: Pastured Eggs

            (Be sure and read the comments section, too. Interesting....)
            "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." -- Hippocrates


            • #7
              Great Day Naturals | All Natural Omega-3 Eggs | No antibiotics, No hormones, & No animal by-products.

              this is what i buy at the store, i took a chance one day after reading the whole thing over. the yolks are dark, they taste good (compared to other brands, these are ambrosia) and they don't give me indigestion after like off brand eggs or name brands. so... maybe i can believe the advertising with these guys. cage free, hand raised, bathed in liquid gold
              yeah you are

              Baby if you time travel back far enough you can avoid that work because the dust won't be there. You're too pretty to be working that hard.


              • #8
                I buy pastured eggs from a few local farmers, and there is a discernable difference in quality. The yolks are indeed richer, although there is some seasonal variation to that (they get paler over the winter months); the egg whites have more "oomph" to them, rather than being runny little snots; and I've long held that they just taste better. A few things worth noting.

                1. "Cage free" does not mean the same as pastured. Cage free birds are still often raised industrially. As Michael Pollan notes, the birds are raised for the first few weeks of their lives unable to access the outdoors, to keep them free from disease. Then a small door in the coop is opened and the birds are allowed "outdoor access," which is usually a smallish (say, 12'x15') yard. But by then the birds are habituated to staying indoors and never venture outside.
                2. "Organic" feed and enhanced feed is inferior to pastured. Birds on pasture will eat grain scattered for them, but also voraciously eat bugs and whatever scraps they can peck at. Simply saying the birds are fed an organic diet is fine, but are they allowed the entire smorgasbord? Not usually. Also, when companies add omega-3s and micronutrients to enhance the birds' diet, it's rather like saying you as a human can get the same diversity of nutrients by eating supplements as you would by eating a varied, healthful whole food based diet. Enhanced diet chickens usually produce eggs with better nutrient profiles than other industrial eggs, but they lag behind the traditionally raised eggs.
                3. The FDA does not allow the use of hormones in raising chickens. So "hormone-free" is meaningless.

                The best bet is to develop a good relationship with a farmer, and to ask questions. One of these questions should be "can I come and visit your farm?" Most non-industrial farmers, that is, the small-scale sustainable farmers, welcome visitors, because so few people truly value what these people do or realize how much work and science goes into it. When you step out of your car, your eyes will quickly tell you much of what you need to know when you see cows grazing on grass, chickens roaming free, and no Monsanto products in sight. In all likelihood, you'll learn quite a bit more about your food from your farmer than you thought you would. I've had far-reaching talks with farmers about the effects of prions on sheep, why healthy mycelium from fungi is essential to soil health, and how rotational grazing (cf. Polyface Farms) can be done more efficiently now than ever before.

                BTW, I just ordered a few dozen eggs from a farmer that delivers monthly, and picked up my eggs 10/12. The cartons were dated on the date they were filled, and they were dated 10/7, 10/8, and 10/9. The eggs you buy in grocery stores may be, and likely are, weeks and even months old.
                Last edited by Finnegans Wake; 10-19-2011, 11:19 AM.


                • #9
                  I've had chickens. You can get those dark orange yolks by tweaking their feed with more corn.


                  • #10
                    As a young boy in the Former Yugoslavia I would free grandma's chickens and laugh as I watched her chase them around the yard to return them to their pen.

                    I remember she threw corn in their area, and they would eat this. The chickens, they were healthy and delicious. I remember when I cut the head of a chicken off with an axe.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Finnabair View Post
                      I've had chickens. You can get those dark orange yolks by tweaking their feed with more corn.
                      After posting the original question and then reading some more, I came across an article that mentioned something along those lines. Farmers put something in the food that creates a more orange yolk. I was dissapointed to read that. Kind of puts doubt into the whole darker yolk being a healthier egg theory. But like I mentioned in the original post, I also read that pastured eggs will have thicker shells. Which, unless it's my imagination, I think these cage free/local farmers eggs have thicker shells than the $1.00 a dozen plain eggs.