Real Free Range Chickens:
There has been and will undoubtedly continue to be much discussion about the egg. No, I do not mean “which came first, the chicken or the egg!” I just want to talk about the egg not the chicken.
You ask, “how healthy is a free range, cage free egg? First, you must understand what the terms mean and how you can be hoodwinked by the grocery stores and end up paying more for what you thought you understood free range and cage free to mean.
The Egg cartons in the grocery stores that have the word “cagefree or cage free” means the chickens were not in a cage. However, they ARE in a building shielded from the sun and obtaining necessary vitamin-D for health. When you have a lot of chickens in a confined space, a lot of dropping become accumulated and the chickens are not human, so they walk, run, fall and even lay their eggs wherever.
Cagefree, You decide!
Free range chickens are free to roam the fields and live in a more natural state. Generally, the accumulation of droppings is more spread out therefore, the potential to lay the egg in the droppings is greatly reduced. That is not to say it may not happen, but it is less likely.
When chickens are either in cages or in restricted buildings, the potential for disease transmission is also increased because of the close quarters and increased concentration of droppings (litter treatment options are available). Also, remember the egg shells are porous and will absorb liquids and lots of other things making them unhealthy.
Chickens that are free range and cage free are in the sun and just like humans, they adsorb vitamin-D. The overall health benefit of vitamin-D is another blog (see short video below), but I am sure you have some idea of the benefits; bones, immune system, mood, weight etc. Well, if the chicken is in better health, the egg produced by the chicken is a healthier egg.
Compare a store bought, 30+ days old egg before it gets to the store to a free range egg.
I am fortunate enough to be able to get my free range eggs from a friend who breeds all kinds of fowl and treats them like her children. She has even named them all and can tell you their personalities. Currently, she has over twenty-five (25) different types of eggs I can get; chicken, quail, duck, geese, turkey and pheasant is what I can remember right now. They come is all shapes, colors, sizes and textures.
If you want to breed your own free range chickens, here are some tips she told me about to get your fowl to produce the healthiest eggs:
- keep them happy,
- do not debeak them,
- let them be free range in a natural field,
- make them nesting boxes,
- feed them scrap + oyster shell + the egg laying pellets and no growth hormones,
- give them minerals and vitamins to replace minerals and vitamins lost during the laying season, yes, when they are left to nature taking its course, they have a season and it is not always year round although some may choose to do so,
- feed them rice sauteed with grape seed oil + fresh vegetables,
- in the winter – add cayenne to their feed to keep them warm and bug free,
- in the summer – add garlic powder to their feed to keep them bug free,
- talk to them,
- thank them for the egg they let you take.
In the end, the egg you get will the following nutritional values and health benefits:
- a deep vibrant yellow-orange firmer creamier yolk that looks like the sun and is high in beta carotene (vitamin-A),
- 6 times the vitamin-D as factory store bought eggs,
- 4 times the vitamin-E as factory store bought eggs,
- 33% less cholesterol as factory store bought eggs,
- 25% less saturated fat as factory store bought eggs,
- 2 times the omega-3 as factory store bought eggs,
- 2 eggs virtually satisfy the RDV of vitamin-D,
- does not have any more calories, but 3 times the nutritional value as factory store bought eggs,
Just like humans, fowls “are what they eat”. Food, sun (vitamin-D) and exercise plays a major role here also. The varied diet and open air and sun promotes better nutrition for the chicken as well as the egg produced. As explained in the video above vitamin-D is critical to being healthy. Apply what is said in the video to fowl.
Additional health promoting benefits of eating free range and cage free eggs are:
- better hair,
- better nails,
- better brain function – omega-3,
- better for your heart – omega-3,
- better immune system because you are getting local, within your environment,
- reduces inflammation,
- promotes weight loss,
- prevents blood clots,
- protects eyes from degeneration,
- may prevent breast cancer,
- less chances of salmonella.
Open Range Eggs:
There is probably more that could be added, but this is all I know. That being said, may I suggest you seek to find a local hatchery that is free range and start getting your eggs. Yes, they are more expensive than the store bought eggs to purchase, but it’s like using “food as preventative medicine”. Take into consideration what went into taking care of the particular fowl to make sure you are getting a quality product. Therefore, in the long run, it’s cheaper, you are healthier and you will be supporting a local sustainable farmer and his/her family.
Nutrition In Eggs WHFoods.com
All information in this article is provided for your information only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals and conduct their own independent research on any matter relating to their health and well-being.
The information and opinions expressed here are believed to be accurate, based on the best judgment and research available to the authors at this time, and readers who fail to consult with appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries.
- Egg-ucation: You Can’t Judge a Book by It’s Cover (eclecticedibles.wordpress.com)
- I like my chicken free range….. (i2cook.wordpress.com)
- What “Free Range”, “Cage Free” Chickens Really Look Like (thehealthyhomeeconomist.com)
- Eggs: “Cage Free”, “Free Range” or Caged… (publicnewsservice.org)
- Free-range egg labelling cracked, but definitions are scrambled (crikey.com.au)