Free range V battery(caged birds) eggs


In the Brooder
9 Years
Jul 17, 2010

hope this is the right forum.

Hello all,
the above is an article from an english tabloid newspaper.
(Writing in the journal Poultry Science, Dr Anderson, of North Carolina) it states
that free range eggs are no more nutrituous or lower in cholesterol than those from caged birds.
Is there anybody on this forum from maybe a scientific or other background
that can argue against this.Apart from back garden hens having the best lives
ever I can't believe that the eggs are no better than their counterparts.
I know that the term free range can have loose meaning and that studies into these
type of things can give ambiguous results depending on who funds them but
this article just reads wrong!Thanks.
Well, all eggs are made of the same components, so that isn't surprising. I guess the real win is in the health and wellbeing of the bird. A free ranging hen gets fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and in addition to whatever feed they get, fresh greens, insects, and everything else they forage. The free ranging hen is much healthier than a battery cage one except through some fluke. Plus, you'd think a ranging bird would get exposed to more diseases from wild birds, they may, but they aren't forced to breathe in the fecal dust and feather dust of hundreds of other tightly packed birds.
Hi,there is definitely no argument ethically that proper free range birds
are the way to go.And when I look out my kitchen window it brings a smile
to my face when I see my hens running about.But egg for egg is there a nutritional
difference,I being a normal Joe with no scientific background say that there has to be.
Just throwing it out there.
I'm no scientist...but I think there is a huge difference and it's one that matters!
I had no idea what I was missing before I started collecting my own eggs. They are more flavorful and vibrant....which has nothing to do with nutrition...
but if your chicken is getting a lot of garden scraps and other things that are good for them....they are packing that into their eggs...which is probably better than the over-medicated feed they eat in those tiny cages.
I hope someone smarter comes along!
The only problem I have with my backyard eggs is that they are too tasty.

I was under the impression that they were lower in cholesterol which
meant I had snuck a couple of extra eggs on the poacher during the week.
The only problem I have with my backyard eggs is that they are too tasty.

I was under the impression that they were lower in cholesterol which
meant I had snuck a couple of extra eggs on the poacher during the week.


Same here. I have no idea of the nutritional difference, but the difference in the humane treatment of the hens and just the taste alone are worth the raising. When we got our first egg from my beautiful Sunshine (who has survived TWO dog attacks!) my son was joking around and said, "That is a $50 egg!.
....This is the first year my son and I started raising chickens. Granted, there is an investment but my chickens are very much free range in every sense of the term, except they are locked into an electrified area at night and they give me so much joy.

We have an organic medicinal herb farm and I'm preparing beds for cover crops that the chickens will have for the Winter months. For now I have to buy organic feed from the internet, but by next season they will have their own feed from right here at home.
There are not that many studies and many are sponsored by the poultry industry to encourage battery egg production. It is hard to find one that compare true free range with ample feed to battery eggs. Those that do often do not break down the nutrients such as not all fat is the same. They are finding more vitamin D in free range and other micronutrients.

there are several articles that find other findings.

Here's one that talks about the chicken not the egg. I was unable to find the original study online, but the references include a link to a pdf file of the study.

One of the articles I read that did not find that difference tested free-range eggs from a store. And I think most of us know that the cage-free eggs at the store are still highly confined and fed a strict diet that doesn't include foraged items.

In addition free-ranged eggs are less likely to carry samonella or other bacteria. Which is why those of us with our own well cared for stock can still enjoy fresh mayonaise and eggnog.
Please note both "studies" cited in the orginal post and the one that agrees with it is the same study. Meaning only one study was done the article from the UK is just a reference to the study done by the PoultyScience people.

In that study they did find higher beta carotene levels in ranged eggs. It does not mention many of the other nutrient level suggesting they weren't tested such as vitamin D which has also been shown to be higher in free range eggs.

I don't really care but the gist of it is there are few studies that do an indepth analysis but even the poultryscience (associated with poultry farmers) found a difference in one nutrient, didn't test many others. MotherEarth's study found differences (not associated with poultry but probably leans toward no battery chickens).

I read here on the forums of another recent study which confirmed some differences and it was in tryptophan but now I can't find it. Search around there are a few others. Is it enough to be worth growing your own eggs. Maybe not. I grow them mainly because battery chicken conditions are horrid, even if I don't worry about them I don't want regular antibotic use, diseases like samonella and I like the taste better. Any nutrient benefit is just a plus.

Don't forget if you give them flax you can change their Omega 3 profile. So if you can change that profile (believe EB eggs has quite a bit of research for that) then why wouldn't food like greens and natural bugs change other parts of the profile.
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I'm not sure about vitamins, but I did just read a really facinating article in the special Evolution edition of Discover Magazine. It's focus is on 'dna pollution' caused by commercial over-use of antibiotics.

The main gist of the article is that commercial farmers are abusing antibiotics, which is speeding up bacterial sharing of genes resistant to antibiotics. Apparently they tested the rivers and streams near livestock pens and farms, and found that the instance of antibiotic resistant bacteria was far higher than in normal areas. Bacteria in these areas were surviving the treatments, then sharing the successful mutation that helped them survive amongst themselves and other species of bacteria. This was also true in the waste ponds for these same ponds, which are often drained and sprayed over crops. Crops meant for human consumption. While it is true that sewage ponds are treated to break down harmful bacteria, there is no current standard of treatment to destroy the bacterial dna, which can be picked up by other bacteria. All you need is some Eccoli to find some interesting dna held by some sort of soil-based benign bacteria, and bam, resistant Eccoli.

Sooo, what I am getting at is that those of us who raise chickens of our own are doing our part to stave off the day that bacterial diseases are no longer treatable. Not that I think we alone will solve the problem, but at least we arn't contributing to it. Plus we're avoiding Salmonella that may have picked up an interesting gene along the way that makes the hospital unable to treat us.

Definitely read the special edition magazine, it's really facinating stuff!

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