Monday, May 17, 2010

Eggs and Terminology

You wouldn't think there could be so much into terminology for eggs, would you!?!

According to the USDA, "free range eggs" simply means the hens that lay them "have been allowed access to the outside". These days, that means they can simply have access to a small doorway of their coop! It doesn't say if they can GO outside of their coop or house, it just means they basically have some access to some fresh air!

Now another term has come forth labeling some eggs as pastured eggs! Pastured hens truly have access to pasture and get to roam around outdoors and can scratch in the grass and earth. They can eat bugs and seeds and such as a chicken would do naturally, if allowed.

My hens, unfortunately, are penned but outdoors. I would prefer to allow them free access to the yard and around the barn and all, but I have have neighbors who would call animal control and make a big issue. I USE to give these folks a couple dozen of fresh eggs per week just to be neighborly. Then some months later, I found out they weren't eating them! They were throwing them in the garbage because the yolks were too orange and they didn't like the color. They were "suppose" to be yellow like the store bought eggs from the caged commercial farms! That was a lot of waste as I could have been selling those eggs instead of just being "neighborly"!

Now my chickens are penned. They get to bathe in the dirt, dig and scratch, catch bugs, etc. I pick and dig them grass and weeds daily. I include the root balls with all the rich dirt and usually a worm or so and they love it! I try to give them enough that I'll see some dried and laying in the pen the next day. They also get lots of table scraps which they LOVE!

I even pick and snip fine grasses for the chicks in the brooder once they are a couple weeks old. They have chick grit so they can utilize it. I'm surprised how much even little chicks will eat!

Technically, my hens are "free ranged" even though that isn't my perception of free ranged. They aren't pastured as they are confined. So I refer to my eggs as farm fresh. That seems to be a clear term that the average person would realize they are from farm chickens and they are fresh.

My hens are very happy and healthy. My eggs are lovely and delicious with those rich orange yolks, strong shells, and the white and yolk "stand tall" when broken into a dish or pan. They are definitely different than the commercial eggs that plop down in a dish or pan and have a sickly yellow appearance.

I LOVE my farm fresh eggs and happy hens!


  1. Some people are just small. Small minds and small hearts. I'm sorry for your neighbors and your chickens, but it sounds as though you are doing a fantastic job making up for it. I worry about our neighbors too, but so far the chickens are pretty happy being allowed out with the goats with only an occasional escapee, who is usually frantic to get back to the other chickens. Of course the goats think they deserve equal opportunity and keep trying to get into the chicken pen!

  2. The goaties do have their opinions! I hope none of my chickens get loose and go over to the neighbors. They'd probably get poisoned from the weed killer and toxic bugs.

    I'd love to put the bucks on that side of the barn, but this day and age they could sue for it being too smelly. Too many pig farmers have been put out of business by city folks who moved out of town. :(