1

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"Normal" eggs Vs. Free range eggs...

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 18, 2013 at 7:40 PM

Hey could anybody enlighten me on what the difference is (beside the extremely high price of the free range eggs!). Are free-range eggs the type of eggs I should be buying for my own health and for the good of the chickens?

I am a uni student and I eat eggs for breakfast everyday and have recently been thinking about swapping my egg choice to the free range, but at $7 for a dozen, compared with $9 for 3 dozen "normal" eggs (they dont state they are cage, but i assume they are) I need some evidence the swap will be worth it :) (eg Ive heard things like free range are not really free range etc etc)

026dde5c5ed48e30d006ac075410871e

(288)

on April 21, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Organic and pastured are completely different. Organic means the chickens are fed organic feed, and may or may not be allowed access to pasture. However, in NZ it's possible that "cage-free" means more than in the US, where it generally just means the chickens aren't in individual cages (better) but still don't get to go outside. The absolute best eggs come from small-scale farmers who let the birds roam around eating greens and bugs.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on April 20, 2013
at 02:09 AM

How many eggs do you eat? If you eat a dozen per week and pay an extra $3 per dozen, that is about $12-13 dollars per month. Is that really out of your budget?

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:38 PM

have a richer taste to them. From now on I am going to buy the cage-free, but just to do an experiment I think I will look for some pastured eggs and buy a 6 pack to compare :) Thanks for your reply

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:37 PM

Ok so in NZ, "caged eggs" are about $10 for 30, "Cage-free" $6 a dozen and "organic" about $10 a dozen! I don't know if organic is the same as pastured, but none of the eggs in the supermarket here said "pastured", maybe I need to read more closely? I brought cage-free eggs and I have seen where these eggs are produced, the chickens are allowed to roam free in paddocks (its near my home town) so I suppose they may get some bugs etc, but the website states that they are fed whole-grain feed with added protein. The yolks of these eggs were darker than the yolks of the cage eggs and they did...

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:30 PM

but I think for now I might have to be happy with swapping from "caged" to "cage free".... the yolks are certainly as you describe though, so perhaps these chickens are fed some natural diet? I might look up the internet site of the egg provider :)

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:28 PM

Thank-you that makes things a bit clearer! I looked at all the eggs in the supermarket last night and there is no way I can afford the organic eggs, which i think might be what you are referring to as pastured eggs (im in nz and none of the eggs were labeled pastured). But I got cage free eggs instead of "normal caged eggs". These ones were approved by the SPCA (our animal protection society) and the yolks of the ones i brought have darker yolks and the yolk stands higher, I don't know if this was anything to do with what the chikens were fed and I will move to buying better eggs when I can,

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 12:05 AM

Yes! It makes me cringe to think of the chickens in the little cages like we see in ads on TV, but if i'm eating 28 eggs a week I don't think I can afford 20-30$ to be spent on the eggs! Maybe I will look into the options of cage-free, at-least it is a little better for the animals :)

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 12:02 AM

Apparently outside of the US free-range and pastured are similar things? "Free range: Outside the United States this term refers to a method of farming where the animals are allowed to roam freely rather than being contained in any manner."

4739dfc454ee7d5b4a6c232984fb9fb9

(70)

on April 18, 2013
at 07:52 PM

By all means, if it is more affordable for you to eat regular eggs vs. "Premium" eggs, do it!

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6 Answers

3
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on April 19, 2013
at 04:36 PM

In brief, "free range" here in the US means that the hens are permitted to move around somewhat, but not necessarily outside where they can forage for their own food (bugs, seeds, etc.) They are usually fed some sort of grain and often soy. It really gets me when I see "Vegetarian" free range eggs. Chickens are NOT vegetarians.

Pastured means that the chickens are allowed to roam outdoors and find their own food. We buy pastured eggs at $6 per dozen and there is a distinct difference. Yolks are a deep orange, shells are thick and a little difficult to crack, and the whites hold together a little more like gel than liquid. IMHO they taste deep and rich--it's a subtle difference, but noticeable. When you beat these eggs they stick to the sides of the bowl more than conventional eggs. It's harder to clean the bowl. Also, our dog goes nuts for the pastured eggs, nosing us to try to get us to let her lick out the bowl--and my husband always saves her a few bites of the cooked egg. She shows no interest in conventional eggs.

If your funds are tight then conventional eggs are fine. But cost-wise you still get a lot of bang for your buck by spending extra for pastured eggs. On a tight budget, I'd choose pastured eggs over pastured meat. They are still relatively cheap, great sources of protein and fat. And they reportedly have higher levels of Omega 3 than conventional eggs.

And are we sure our eggs are pastured? Definitely, we go to the source--the farm where they are laid and see the chickens roaming the pasture among the sheep, ducks, turkeys, and goats, guarded over by specially trained Great Pyrenees dogs.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:37 PM

Ok so in NZ, "caged eggs" are about $10 for 30, "Cage-free" $6 a dozen and "organic" about $10 a dozen! I don't know if organic is the same as pastured, but none of the eggs in the supermarket here said "pastured", maybe I need to read more closely? I brought cage-free eggs and I have seen where these eggs are produced, the chickens are allowed to roam free in paddocks (its near my home town) so I suppose they may get some bugs etc, but the website states that they are fed whole-grain feed with added protein. The yolks of these eggs were darker than the yolks of the cage eggs and they did...

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:38 PM

have a richer taste to them. From now on I am going to buy the cage-free, but just to do an experiment I think I will look for some pastured eggs and buy a 6 pack to compare :) Thanks for your reply

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on April 19, 2013
at 12:03 PM

I am not totally clear on the difference between "free-range" and "pastured" but what you want are the eggs of chickens that eat a natural diet including bugs and grubs, and without soy feed or other poor feeds. I think this is generally "pastured", whereas they could be "free-range" but given crap food.

The best eggs I've ever had are from Polyface farm:

http://www.polyfacefarms.com/2011/07/25/pastured-eggs/

If you get good pastured eggs, crack one open next to a supermarket egg and look at them and you'll notice a huge difference. The yolks of the pastured egg are a dark yellow/orange and very creamy vs. pale yellow, the pastured yolks stand up higher (more of a semi-circle than a blob), and you can distinctly see the 3 parts of the egg (the white is actually in two parts, a runnier part and a firmer part).

Nutritionally, pastured eggs can have as much as TEN TIMES the nutritional value of supermarket eggs, based on a great study in 2007. I found this to be astounding -- which also means that factory farming decreased the nutritional value of eggs by a factor of 10. This is a great example of how factory farming methods take the nutrients out of foods.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on April 20, 2013
at 02:09 AM

How many eggs do you eat? If you eat a dozen per week and pay an extra $3 per dozen, that is about $12-13 dollars per month. Is that really out of your budget?

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:30 PM

but I think for now I might have to be happy with swapping from "caged" to "cage free".... the yolks are certainly as you describe though, so perhaps these chickens are fed some natural diet? I might look up the internet site of the egg provider :)

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 06:28 PM

Thank-you that makes things a bit clearer! I looked at all the eggs in the supermarket last night and there is no way I can afford the organic eggs, which i think might be what you are referring to as pastured eggs (im in nz and none of the eggs were labeled pastured). But I got cage free eggs instead of "normal caged eggs". These ones were approved by the SPCA (our animal protection society) and the yolks of the ones i brought have darker yolks and the yolk stands higher, I don't know if this was anything to do with what the chikens were fed and I will move to buying better eggs when I can,

026dde5c5ed48e30d006ac075410871e

(288)

on April 21, 2013
at 05:45 PM

Organic and pastured are completely different. Organic means the chickens are fed organic feed, and may or may not be allowed access to pasture. However, in NZ it's possible that "cage-free" means more than in the US, where it generally just means the chickens aren't in individual cages (better) but still don't get to go outside. The absolute best eggs come from small-scale farmers who let the birds roam around eating greens and bugs.

2
6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on April 18, 2013
at 08:10 PM

Hi Sarah,

Here is some info you may find helpful.

Free range is not what you want, you want pasture raised eggs

http://grist.org/sustainable-food/lexicon-of-sustainability-cage-free-vs-pasture-raised/

Pasture raised eggs vs super market eggs

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/05/pastured-eggs.html

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 12:02 AM

Apparently outside of the US free-range and pastured are similar things? "Free range: Outside the United States this term refers to a method of farming where the animals are allowed to roam freely rather than being contained in any manner."

1
B1ea5611d4edcffd02349c92557dfd1c

on April 19, 2013
at 10:04 AM

You need to do your homework on the eggs you buy, Have a look at our web site, watch our video. This is what we believe free range is all about, And you can tast the differance. www.kieggs.com.au Tom from South Austraila Kangaroo Island.

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on April 18, 2013
at 08:00 PM

I once bought the $7 dollar dozen at a farmer's market. The best reason for doing so is that those chickens are not fed any soy. If I am not mistaken, this farm is run by a WAPF couple, so they are up on feeding the chickens right.

But, although I would probably switch to them if I suddenly get rich, I did not see the massive difference that I did when I went from buying the cheapest eggs in the store to buying some cage-free eggs. Sure, I realize some of the stuff is marketing, but when you buy different brands and compare them side by side, you can see and taste differences in quality. So you can probably improve your health, not to mention the tastiness of your meal, immensely by paying a dollar or two extra in the store.

Then, of course, you have to try and take over the world, and free all the chickens. They should be eating insects. I always cringe a little because even the better brands have 'all vegetarian' on the side.

81feb1022a28f534867616b9316c7aa4

(638)

on April 19, 2013
at 12:05 AM

Yes! It makes me cringe to think of the chickens in the little cages like we see in ads on TV, but if i'm eating 28 eggs a week I don't think I can afford 20-30$ to be spent on the eggs! Maybe I will look into the options of cage-free, at-least it is a little better for the animals :)

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 18, 2013
at 07:44 PM

Lots of info on this site (check out the left-hand menu for more links):

http://www.eatwild.com/basics.html

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