As many, if not all, chicken owners and keepers know, a farm fresh egg is much more flavorful and delicious as compared to a store bought egg. So what do the major factories do that makes their eggs bland and practically tasteless?
FoodFactories feed their chickens a much different diet than average chicken owners do. The food factories feed their hens is engineered to produce as many eggs as possible. Some food contains hormones and antibiotics to prevent illness and maximize egg production. It takes a hen typically 25 hours to produce one egg, and usually a hen will take a day or two break from egg laying in one week. The food fed to chickens in factories is meant to have a hen lay 6-7 eggs per week.
HousingFactories house chickens in different areas and conditions as well. Unless the egg carton is labeled as "cage free", many factories house 4 hens in a 2 square foot cage. Modern chicken keeping advice recommends 10 square feet per chicken. Hens in many factories only get 1/2 square foot per hen. Since the chickens' cage is so small for that many hens, factories trim their beaks so that the hens do not hurt another chicken from pecking at them.
"Cage free" chickens are cage free, but do not get near 4 square feet per chicken. Although being cage free is better for the hen, spaces are still cramped. I have seen multiple pictures of "cage free" hens, but you can barely even see the ground because hens are covering it. In most cage free facilities, chickens get around 1-2 square feet per chicken.
Most factories do not provide dirt and bare ground to their hens, so the hens don't have an opportunity to scavenge for bugs and other crawly creatures that they enjoy to eat and dig for. Not providing dirt also means that chickens don't take dirt baths. Dirt baths are essential to a chicken's health because it helps to keep them mite and lice free.
Many factories also regulate lighting so that the hens believe that they are getting the required 14 hours of sunlight to lay an egg. This also helps to maximize their egg production.
MotiveEgg factories strive to get as many eggs as they can each and every day. They perform the procedures listed above in order to accomplish their goal. Their focus is on quantity, not quality.
Chicken owners, such as the ones on BYC, strive to have their hens lay the best egg anyone has ever eaten. Contrary from egg factories, chicken owners focus on quality, not quantity. I have to admit that it is wonderful when my chickens lay 9 eggs for 12 hens in one day, but most important is quality. Customers are happy to pay more for the quality of my eggs, and I have even hooked even some of the toughest and pickiest eaters on my eggs.
When I see chickens in an egg factory and the conditions that they're in, I feel bad for the hens. I know that that is very inhumane, and hopefully things will change for the better. I think that the conditions are wrong and not right. That's why I keep my chickens in ideal conditions. Each of my chickens has over 10 square feet, they are outside where they can dig for bugs and forage, and are fed a natural food with no hormones or antibiotics.
Pictures from and credited to- http://www.english-online.at/biology/factory-farming/factory-farming.htm