Comparing and improving egg quality, flavor

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by twork, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. twork

    twork Out Of The Brooder

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    I've had a laying flock for about four years now. Before they started laying I was told that once I tasted back yard eggs I'd never go back to storebought, and that's certainly been true. Other people who've tried "my" eggs have agreed, and people ask my wife at work if she has any of "those eggs" to share.

    On the other hand, at least one neighbor and my parents have shrugged and said they can't tell any difference. I've also read this:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/01/AR2010060100792.html

    ...where at least one person tried a blind taste test and found no difference. It's all in my head, the writer insists.

    Then there's the question of nutrition. I presume that diet and environment must have some effect in the chemical content of an egg, but so far I've found mostly speculation and nothing in the way of authoritative information. For instance, I've read that "some suspect" that low-stress birds lay eggs with a better good/bad cholesterol ratio, but as far as I've been able to find, there aren't any controlled studies to back that up.



    Clues? Resources?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I notice a very detectable difference. I had eggs at a restaurant, and they were horrid. I asked my mom to try them and see if it was just me, and she agreed that they were disgusting. Then she said, but I'm used to your eggs too.

    Some people will insist there is no difference - sometimes for hidden agendas, not wanting to pay the extra $$, etc. Maybe your neighbor is trying to discourage you from keeping chickens.
     
  3. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A huge part of perception is mental - judging from your comment, and your mom's comment - you expect your eggs to be better - and that means they will be. Our brains literally aren't capable of perceiving things without bias - there's a whole lot of research on this. You put different labels on two (identical) bottles of wine, and people will consistently report that the one that looks more expensive tastes better. They even use different areas of the brain when talking about them. Our senses aren't objective at all - nor are our memories.


    They may taste better, they may not, but the only way to get objective data is double blind tests. Anecdotes and personal impressions don't tell us much.

    That being said, taste doesn't have much impact on nutrition - so if yours taste better to you - great.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2014
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  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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  5. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's not an issue of better or worse, and it's not an issue of people liking things that are familiar. It's an issue of perception and mindset having a huge affect on taste - and maybe even having more of an affect than your actual tastebuds.


    Here's an article where a guy did the actual experiment -

    http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/08/...mega-3s-grocery-store-brand-the-food-lab.html

    And found that people consistently picked the yellowest eggs highest - until he put food coloring in to make them all uniform - and then they basically picked randomly. COLOR effected perception of taste more than anything else, and when you removed that variable, nobody could consistently tell the difference.
     
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  6. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have several neighbors whom I've given eggs to and every one of them has told me they can taste a huge difference in how fresh mine are compared to store bought and would prefer to buy mine. I think freshness has a lot to do with it...You wouldn't call day old baked goods "fresh"...they're day olds and you can tell. I believe the same can be true with eggs and often times the eggs in a market can be a week old or more depending on how far they have to travel before they even hit the shelves and/or how long they've been sitting in the coolers. Here in the US, store eggs are washed and refrigerated (which they don't do in most other countries). Washing the eggs eliminates the natural coating they have that prevents bacteria from seeping through the shell. If washing can cause bacteria to seep in, isn't it also likely the flavors can seep in? Even just a bit? We also have to consider that some people have more fine-tuned senses than others and would pick up on subtle differences in flavors when others cannot.
     
  7. twork

    twork Out Of The Brooder

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    Okay, so flavor is, at most, a matter of opinion and might even be a matter of imagination. Fair enough, not so surprising, and until I conduct a blind taste test of my own, anybody else's experiences won't necessarily apply to my flock anyway.

    What about nutrition?

    The egg's purpose is to house the baby chick while it incubates, and GIGO: pregnant females of every species I know of are advised to watch their diet in certain ways for the sake of the offspring. But I haven't found anything better than assumption and speculation when it comes to drawing connections between a hen's diet and human nutrition from her eggs. Factor in the ongoing arguments about cholesterol, and it gets hard to know if the writer of any article is speaking from position of neutral authority.

    My gut tells me that it must be the case that a hen's environment and diet will of course make a difference in the egg's chemical content. The reading I've been able to find is mostly of the same character; lots of "isn't it obvious" and such, but no charts, graphs or numbers to back that up. That leads me to believe that either I don't know where to look for that information (thus my inquiry), or, the research is somehow lacking. Or who knows, maybe it's the case that among her other miraculous characteristics, the hen produces more or less the same chemical content of an egg whether she's eating a curated organic diet or scraps off the top of a garbage heap. Nature can be weird sometimes.
     
  8. AussieChics

    AussieChics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'll put my 2 bobs in. Which of course could still be in the mind I guess.

    Store brought eggs give me a massive belly ache (same with my mum) then I tried free range/backyard chicken eggs and dont get a belly ache (my mum noticed the same).

    Have also noticed that the shells are a lot thicker compared to store bought
     
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  9. twork

    twork Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh yeah, I can definitely vouch for the shell thickness thing. I've also had a time or two when I let their supply of oyster shell run low (it doesn't come in the feed I use so I keep a separate cup out for them) and the shells got thinner. My guess is that commercial operations, watching every penny, aren't as free with the supplements as we are.
     
  10. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Most of the studies show no real nutritional differences (or very little). This is one of those things where the makeup of the egg is determined more by the genetics of the bird - the biggest difference tends to be in beta carotene levels, which are what makes yolks yellow, and makes people think eggs taste better (as shown in the experiment linked earlier)

    That being said, there are still plenty of reasons to prefer free range birds (and I free range mine)

    http://www.poultryscience.org/pr081511.asp?autotry=true&ULnotkn=true
     
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