Chickens and Eggs: Free Range vs. Cage Free vs….

Pasture Raised vs. Vegetarian Fed — hmmmmm

chicken and egg

The poor chicken egg — We can’t solve which came first, the chicken or the egg. We’ve debated whether they are extremely unhealthy or natures best health food. Now we have to decide, brown or white (or heaven forbid we start selling green ones), cage free or free range or vegetarian or …. Shew!

For this blog, lets break down what you most commonly see on the food label. First, (and probably easiest) is brown vs. white — there is no real difference, its basically genetics!

Now, cage free vs. free range (also seen as free roaming) vs. pasture raised. These buzz words make there way onto the food label all the time in todays grocery store packages. Cage free basically means they don’t live in a cage, it does not mean they live freely. They may be kept in jam packed barns, with cut beaks and don’t necessarily see sunlight or a pasture.

Free range (or free roaming) means they have to see a little daylight but not necessarily much and the amount of time is not regulated or consistent. They can be treated any way they want with regard to beak cutting and other conditions.

The pasture raised term is not yet approved by the USDA so you may not see it too often and there are no required standards to make the claim. Typically pasture raised chickens freely roam and spend most of their day outdoors with opportunities to engage in more natural behaviors. However, you may still see things such as beak cutting and starvation in these environments.

Finally, vegetarian fed. Great right? Well, often vegetarian fed means a diet of corn and soy. The problem here comes with the fact that chickens do not naturally consume a strict vegetarian diet, they eat bugs, worms and insects.

So, now that we’ve cleared up the egg issue for you — Okay okay, our suggestions start with first setting a priority for your own eating. Do you have the budget to afford the more expensive naturally, pasture raised eggs? If not, pick one of the other options as it’s at least a little better then the mass produced cage living chickens. If you are someone that has trouble with soy and/or corn, you may want to look for non vegetarian fed.

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