Monday, November 21, 2011

Which Egg Do You Prefer?

While the debate continues about whether free-range chicken eggs are better than grain fed chicken eggs, let me ask one question.  Which egg would you prefer? 

Of the four eggs pictured, the two pale-yolked eggs are regular grocery store eggs, and the two orange-yolked eggs were laid by my backyard chickens.  I think Cocoa and Ginger were responsible for these particular specimens.  Thanks girls.

The eggs produced by my chickens have a very hard shell, a rich, orange-colored yolk, and a meaty white.  Contrast this with your standard grocery store eggs, which have pale yellow yolks, runny whites, and shells which crack quite easily.

Why are these eggs so different?  It all comes down to diet.  Chickens are omnivores.  A chicken fed a balanced diet including greens, produces an egg with a dark yellow or orange yolk.  The color in the yolk comes from a class of substances called carotenoids, which are found in many fruits and vegetables.  If carotenoids are good for you, and free-range chicken eggs contain carotenoids… well, I’ll let you do the math.

A chicken doesn’t necessarily have to be free-range in the purist sense of the word to produce a quality egg.  My chickens do not “free-range” due to an abundance of hawks where I live.  I do allow them to leave the coop from time-to-time, but their field trips are largely supervised by my husband and me. 

The overriding factor in producing a quality egg is diet.  My chickens are fed vegetable scraps, rice, oatmeal, and lots of other food items that I used to toss into the compost bin.  A balanced grain-based feed is available each day, but trust me, when I show up with the day’s treats, all bets are off.  Chickens may not be the brightest pet you'll ever own, but they still know what tastes good.


  1. Lucky you to have your own eggs. Yes, I miss the yellow yolks of free range eggs. I could certainly provide a great diet for chickens here..pill bugs, snails, slugs but no pecking at my plants or each other!

  2. Nice picture. It really shows the difference.
    Cindy S.

  3. You are making me miss my chickadees. Fresh eggs are the best!!!

  4. Wow, got your page from my twitter friend. Nice info, thank you

    1. Thanks for visiting. I'm glad you liked the article.