Monday, August 12, 2013

3 Reasons Why You Should Choose Free Range Eggs

Free Range Eggs from my 6 Chickens

I admit, I was against our family getting chickens last Spring.  My husband, however, had other plans and the chickens were coming, like it or not.  My reasons for not wanting chickens were superficial and unfounded such as they would smell, they would be too noisy, they are dirty, etc. None of which are true, by the way (thank goodness!).  However, there were two selling points that my husband was able to capitalize on with me:
  1. The eggs.
  2. They eat ticks (living in the woods, this is huge!)
Okay, so if I would have to do nothing but collect and eat the eggs, then I would agree to the chickens. Today, we are the proud owner of 6 gorgeous, fun, and entertaining chickens which our children find quite amusing and are now a fixture roaming free in our backyard.

Which Came First?
In our case it was the chickens as we bought them as already laying adults. Next year it may be the eggs as we are toying with the idea of getting chicks, but I'll defer to that next Spring. In the meantime, we don't have to worry about any of these eggs being fertilized so we can eat each one the chickens lay, and they lay A LOT. Each chicken averages 1 per day, so we get a half dozen eggs pretty much every day!

Free Range vs. Caged Eggs
So really, what is the big difference?  Nutritionally speaking, it is HUGE!

FEED: pastured free range chickens are allowed to roam freely and eat plants and insects. (one found my wild blueberry bush and went to town!). The nutrients from this type of diet are then transferred to the eggs. On the other hand, caged chickens are fed a processed diet full of hormones, pesticides and antibiotics and are kept in cramp, inhumane cages. Which egg would you rather eat?

YOLK: There is no comparing these yolks! The free range pastured eggs are the ones on the right and left, the caged egg is in the middle. Notice the deep yellow/orange color as compared to the washed-out yolk of the caged chicken egg. Also, the whites in the free range eggs are not runny and stand pretty much upright, whereas the caged egg ran throughout the pan. Free range eggs do NOT promote inflammation but DO nourish the body.

Free range eggs on right and left, caged egg in middle

Yum! Free range soft boiled egg

Nutrient Profile: This data is provided by As compared to caged eggs, the free range eggs had:
  • Twice as much omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Seven times more pro-vitamin A beta-carotene.
  • A quarter less saturated fat.
  • A third less cholesterol.
  • Up to 6 times more essential Vitamin D.
  • Significantly more B Vitamins.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin is abundant in free range eggs, very little in caged.

Not everyone is up to having chickens as it is work and a commitment, but you can eat free range eggs simply by purchasing some at your local farmer's market. Prior to us having chickens we bought them at someone's house in our town. More and more folks are opting to own chickens as featured in this month's edition of  The Andovers Magazine.

Chances are there is someone you know who has access to these delicious gems and are willing to share.

Have you ever tried a pastured, local, cage free egg? Do you notice any difference?

Be well,


Interested in learning more?  Please visit my website.


  1. What will you do with the when winter comes? What do they eat then?

    1. That's a very good question, Kim. I will have to get back to you on that. My husband is reading up on it and from what I understand will winter-proof their coop for them and some other things to keep them warm. When I have more details I'll update my reply. We do provide them organic laying feed in addition to free ranging.

  2. We winterize our coop and heat it for winters in Pennsylvania. And unless there is snow on the ground we let them out all winter to free range. The coop door remains open so that they have access to the warmth and their nests. We have Barred Rocks and also Aracauna's, also know as Easter egg chickens because they lay eggs that have different colored egg shells, (mostly green, green/brown, or blueish/green.

    We also have organic laying feed pellets and ground oyster shells available to them at all times. The oyster shells help to give them the calcium they need for strong healthy egg shells.

    1. Thanks for the tips, Mary! We are looking into getting our coop ready to winterize as well. Good to know they can roam free when there isn't any snow on the ground, I was wondering about that. We have the Barred Rocks, Aracaunas, and also Golden Comets. Not sure we are doing the oyster shells yet, will have to look into it. Appreciate it!