Originally Posted by Chris09
I really hate to bust mother earth news's bubble but the birds that were housed in a moveable pen are not free range poultry. To be truly free range they would have to be un-confined. Those birds are confided, and they were most likely feed a commercial type diet maybe even a feed that is rich in Bata-Carotin, Omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, D, E.
Since mother earth new didn't add a link to the study, I wouldn't go to much on what they have to say. My thoughts is that from the information that they provided it wasn't a very good study and may have been a bit one sided in order to favor there, "free range" chickens article.
It is exactly lined out how they did there small pilot study, which might not be totally perfect (but seems to average over 14 flocks), though only the industry has the money to make most studies! As it seems you haven't taken the time to read the article at all, I put the most important findings together:
These amazing results come from 14 flocks around the country that range freely on pasture or are housed in moveable pens that are rotated frequently to maximize access to fresh pasture and protect the birds from predators. We had six eggs from each of the 14 pastured flocks tested by an accredited laboratory in Portland, Ore. The chart at the end of this article shows the average nutrient content of the samples, compared with the official egg nutrient data from the USDA for “conventional” (i.e. from confined hens) eggs. The chart lists the individual results from each flock.
The 2007 results are similar to those from 2005, when we tested eggs from four flocks all managed as truly free range
But the most ridiculous online comments turned up at Supermarketguru. com a site maintained by a “food trends consultant.” It says:
“FREE RANGE: Probably the most misunderstood of all claims, it’s important to note that hens basically stay near their food, water and nests, and the idea of a happy-go-lucky bird scampering across a field is far from the natural way of life. The claim only means that the hens have access to the outdoors, not that they avail themselves of the opportunity.
If you’ve ever been around chickens, you know that whoever wrote that hasn’t. Chickens will spend almost their entire day ranging around a property scratching and searching for food. Even as tiny chicks, they are naturally curious and will begin eating grass and pecking curiously at any insects or even specks on the walls of their brooder box. “Scampering across a field,” looking for food, is precisely their natural way of life.
Mounting Evidence for Free-Range Eggs
• In 1974, the British Journal of Nutrition found that pastured eggs had 50 percent more folic acid and 70 percent more vitamin B12 than eggs from factory farm hens.
• In 1988, Artemis Simopoulos, co-author of The Omega Diet, found pastured eggs in Greece contained 13 times more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than U.S. commercial eggs.
• A 1998 study in Animal Feed Science and Technology found that pastured eggs had higher omega-3s and vitamin E than eggs from caged hens.
• A 1999 study by Barb Gorski at Pennsylvania State University found that eggs from pastured birds had 10 percent less fat, 34 percent less cholesterol, 40 percent more vitamin A, and four times the omega-3s compared to the standard USDA data. Her study also tested pastured chicken meat, and found it to have 21 percent less fat, 30 percent less saturated fat and 50 percent more vitamin A than the USDA standard.
• In 2003, Heather Karsten at Pennsylvania State University compared eggs from two groups of Hy-Line variety hens, with one kept in standard crowded factory farm conditions and the other on mixed grass and legume pasture. The eggs had similar levels of fat and cholesterol, but the pastured eggs had three times more omega-3s, 220 percent more vitamin E and 62 percent more vitamin A than eggs from caged hens.
• The 2005 study MOTHER EARTH NEWS conducted of four heritage-breed pastured flocks in Kansas found that pastured eggs had roughly half the cholesterol, 50 percent more vitamin E, and three times more beta carotene.
• The 2007 results from 14 producers are shown
from the comments:
For those in need of some peer reviewed bolstering of this article: H.D. Karsten, P.H. Patterson, R. Stout and G. Crews (2010). Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 25, pp 45-54. Accepted for peer-reviewed publication Oct 8, 2009.