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Do free range chicken lay better eggs??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Roy Rooster, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Hey fellow backyard chicken lovers,

    Ok, I read in Prevention Magazine today that caged birds lay better eggs and lay longer. I thought WHAT!!! how
    can a bird that is born, lives their life, than dies in a cage lay better eggs. [​IMG]

    I thought that a free ranging hen layed better eggs because she had access to fresh grass, bugs and sun.

    They artical literally said that a hen that is free ranging will only lay for about 24 months than after that you
    need to replace your flock and get hens that are laying well. And that a caged hen will lay longer and better eggs.??? [​IMG]

    I am as you can probably tell just a little bit confused. Can anyone who has older hens or for that matter according to the
    article hens that are over 3 years old validate what I read.

    I am new at chickens, I ordered my first batch of chicks a few days ago. I have no experience with chicken yet...
    I am starting my backyard flock because I want the fresh eggs and happy birds, not bird that live and die in a cage.
    What life is that. [​IMG]

    Any insite would be great.

    Thanks Fellow Backyard chicken keepers. I can always count on the people here to clear things up for me.
  2. Truevalentine

    Truevalentine Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 21, 2010
    I'm not real experienced yet, but I believe that free range eggs are better... it was the difference between the store bought eggs and a friend's free range eggs that started me on this little chicken journey!
  3. BetterHensandGardens

    BetterHensandGardens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2010
    Clinton, OH
    I think that article is incorrect, I know Mother Earth News did a study that showed that Pastured Chickens produced eggs lower in cholesteral and higher in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamins A & E. As far as living longer that just doesn't make sense, they usually get rid of the caged birds after they slow down a little and start over with fresh ones. I wrote about egg choices here: http://www.betterhensandgardens.com/2011/03/06/choices-in-egg-quality/ Go with the backyard birds, you can really tell the difference once you start eating them - all our customers tell us the same thing too. And my hens don't quit laying at 24 months and need replacement!
  4. Naughty

    Naughty Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2010
    mother earth news had an article - said that free range eggs had less cholesterol and calories -more omega 3 - i have 2 astralorps that are about 3-4 years old - they lay about every other day - but i knew when i got them that they were older - they are sweet mellow birds so i dont mind the eggs slowing down a bit
  5. DawnM

    DawnM Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 21, 2010
    Tacoma, Wa
    Prevention Magazine may have been paid to say certain things...
  6. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    That article is a load of hooey. Each hen is born with as many eggs as she'll ever lay. Whether she lays them all in 2 years or 6 years - once she's done, that's it. Production egg layers are bred to lay all of their eggs in a short space of time. You'll hear about "egg-laying machines" - well, those are production layers who are bred to not go broody, and to lay an egg a day, taking very few days off.

    Some people turn lights on their birds over the winter to stimulate them to lay "more". They don't actually lay more eggs - they are just tricked into laying them at a time of year when their body would normally take a break.

    Others allow their hens to follow natural light cycles in which they will lay more during seasons that have more daylight hours.

    Regardless of which you choose, once your hen has laid all of her eggs, she simply can't lay any more. If you turn lights on a production layer, she'll be burned out after a couple of seasons laying. If you allow a heritage breed to lay according to natural light cycles, she will continue to lay for far longer.

    Addressing your specific question of which are better, IMO, free-range eggs are better because the hen is eating a more natural diet - green plants, bugs etc - rather than a commercial, processed food.
  7. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    Thank you betterhensandgardens, that is reassuring to me that hens that are free ranging do make better eggs.
    The article you wrote was very informative, adjusting the hens feed to make better eggs does not seem right. I would
    rather have an egg that is organically better and not just chemically better by the feed. Your post was very helpful.


  8. BetterHensandGardens

    BetterHensandGardens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2010
    Clinton, OH
    Glad it was helpful - HeChicken's post above is right on too - chickens are born with a certain number of eggs to lay - then that's it.
  9. Roy Rooster

    Roy Rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Tennesee Smoky Mts.
    I think you are right DawnM, Prevention Magazine may have been paid to write such hooey.
  10. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 7, 2011
    SE Wis
    The egg article that both BetterHensandGardens & Naughty are referring to is here:


    Also from Mother Earth News:

    Another great reason for keeping chickens is the quality of free-range eggs. No more watery whites or pale yolks. You are in for the richness of a country hen’s eggs — eggs proven to be lower in cholesterol and higher in several vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, keeping you and yours healthier (see “More Nutritious Eggs,” below, for more on the benefits of free-range eggs).

    Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/sustainable-farming/backyard-chickens-zm0z11zgri.aspx#ixzz1JA2tZIEw

    Earth News has tons of informative chicken articles if you search for "egg".

    A little good info for beginners:

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