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Organic Eggs vs Pastured Eggs

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  • Organic Eggs vs Pastured Eggs

    When I have a choice of buying organic or not, I always buy organic. But lately I noticed that the organic brand eggs states 25% less saturated fat and vegartarian diet. Then I look at the cage free or pastured eggs and they don't say organic. What if the chickens are eating grass sprayed with chemicals? Between the 3 choices, which order is best to least choice? Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Go pastured. If you can buy direct from a farmer, that's best. Organic and cage-free are essentially worthless descriptions: organic means the industrial chicken farm your eggs came from fed the birds organic corn and soy. Yippee. Cage-free means that the overcrowded henhouse has a tiny door to a 15 x 15 plot that the chickens never explore, and are still fed crap. That's why I like to know the farmer personally, their feeding practices, what they mean by pasture-raised, and besides, almost no shelf time.

    Check eatwild.com for local farms, or find a good farmer's market.

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    • #3
      I get most of my eggs from 3 backyard egg 'farmers'... none are labeled 'organic' or 'pastured' but I know that the chickens are well cared for, cage-free (but within a coop/run for their protection from predators), hormone-free, antibiotic-free and eat bugs, grass, weeds and table scraps and whatever else they can scavenge, and are supplemented with commercial feed. I doubt any of these families spray their yards with chemicals.

      Local, fresh and family raised mean more to me than any marketing buzzword.
      Sandra
      *My obligatory intro

      There are no cheat days. There are days when you eat primal and days you don't. As soon as you label a day a cheat day, you're on a diet. Don't be on a diet. ~~ Fernaldo

      DAINTY CAN KISS MY PRIMAL BACKSIDE. ~~ Crabcakes

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sandra in BC View Post
        I get most of my eggs from 3 backyard egg 'farmers'... none are labeled 'organic' or 'pastured' but I know that the chickens are well cared for, cage-free (but within a coop/run for their protection from predators), hormone-free, antibiotic-free and eat bugs, grass, weeds and table scraps and whatever else they can scavenge, and are supplemented with commercial feed. I doubt any of these families spray their yards with chemicals.

        Local, fresh and family raised mean more to me than any marketing buzzword.
        ^This. That's exactly how I raise/care for my 34 ladies, except they have the whole run of the farm (160 acres). Best looking and tasting eggs you could ever want.
        Last edited by AuroraB; 10-17-2012, 09:24 AM.
        Some people just need a sympathetic pat... On the head... With a hammer.

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        • #5
          I used to buy my eggs from here: TENNESSEE VALLEY EGGS before I knew the difference between pastured and cage-free. I do think that they're still better than battery hen eggs (and still buy them occasionally when I can't get/afford better eggs), but looking at the pictures on their website versus going to the farm that I buy eggs from now is like night and day. The pastured farm chickens are out in mobile coops to keep predators out (they need it, I've been hearing tons of coyotes), moved around several times a day, and supplemented with GMO-free feed. I'm especially disappointed today because I missed my chance to get some of the pastured eggs this week.

          I notice a difference when they're cooked--the TN Valley "cage free" eggs don't have the deep orange yolks (though they are darker than battery eggs) and aren't nearly as stout as the farm eggs--they're runnier with thinner whites and yolks. I love the taste of the farm eggs--it's hard to describe, and I know a lot of folks can't tell the difference, but I can. I didn't even like eggs until recent years, and even then I was really picky about how they were cooked, whereas I will eat pastured eggs almost any way you cook them.

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          • #6
            I'd go with the ones with the darker orange yolks. I would prefer the chickens to eat worms, they are not vegetarians. I bet the pastured have darker yolks, right?
            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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            • #7
              A good friend started raising some backyard hens (as noted above with a coop for protection), and they forage around there but she also gives them organic laying feed she said. If that just contains organic soy/corn are those eggs any better than the organic ones from the store? Thoughts?
              Breathe. Move forward.

              I just eat what I want...

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              • #8
                Depends on the time of year.... in the spring and summer when grass is plentiful and there are LOTS of bugs the eggs from my hens are a gorgeous golden yellow. Starting in the fall and on in to winter, the bug population drops considerably and most of the grass goes dormant, so they don't get all the chlorophyl etc, so the yolk color gets a little paler but it stays considerably thicker than store bought eggs.... Hope that helps ChocoTaco369

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by excursivey View Post
                  A good friend started raising some backyard hens (as noted above with a coop for protection), and they forage around there but she also gives them organic laying feed she said. If that just contains organic soy/corn are those eggs any better than the organic ones from the store? Thoughts?
                  Most farmers who raise chickens on pasture supplement to some degree. As long as they chickens are getting free run and eating a natural diet of bugs and whatever else their hungry raptor appetites can accomodate, a little grain isn't a deal-breaker, and organic feed is preferred. Pastured + organic supplement >>> store-bought organics.

                  Edit: ssn's post just before mine explains why most farmers supplement.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks - that's what I'm thinking. We're in the AZ desert so not a lot of grass anyway but LOTS of weeds I suppose. And plenty of bugs so I'm going to start getting eggs from her I think.
                    Breathe. Move forward.

                    I just eat what I want...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                      I'd go with the ones with the darker orange yolks. I would prefer the chickens to eat worms, they are not vegetarians. I bet the pastured have darker yolks, right?
                      My chickens eat worms for sure! It's called chicken football (someone else termed it). And, yes, the yolks are a darker and more vibrant yellow.
                      Some people just need a sympathetic pat... On the head... With a hammer.

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                      • #12
                        Organic doesn't mean healthy. Many organic eggs come from caged chickens that are fed garbage.

                        I personally look for organic, pastured eggs. Here in Texas, here are a couple good sources that you can pick up at Whole Foods. I really like the Jeremiah Cunningham brand because they offer a SOY FREE egg. (Which is very rare.)

                        Pastured Eggs, Organic Eggs, Jeremiah Cunningham's World's Best Eggs
                        Vital Farms

                        Also, AVOID OMEGA 3 EGGS. Omega 3 eggs come from hens that are fed Flaxseed. Not sure about you, but I highly doubt that chickens are meant to eat lots of flax. Also, there are real concerns that adding Omega 3 (since they are PUFA) to an egg is a bad idea, since that means lots of oxidized PUFAs. (If you are eating your eggs raw, then Omega 3 eggs are probably fine.)

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                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the great information. I will try to find some local farmers for pastured eggs! I've also noticed that true organic eggs have a much harder shell than non organic. So when I try out some of those farmers eggs, if the shells are weak that maybe a sign that the insides are weak as well.

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                          • #14
                            Hi all, I came across this discussion via a Google search and just wanted to chime in.

                            I am an organic egg producer with 2500 layer hens and just wanted to clear up some misconceptions here.

                            The question shouldn't be "organic vs pastured", but rather "were my organic eggs laid by hens who have access to pasture".

                            The organic label means that the birds were fed certified organic feed, feed raised without GMOs and without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. It also means that the birds were raised in a cage-free environment with some sort of access to the outdoors. The outdoor access is the big sticking point. Many of the country's largest egg producers have co-opted organic production by installing "porches" or "winter gardens" on their hen houses that don't give meaningful outdoor access to the birds, it is just a screened room on the side of the hen house. You'll have to do your research to figure out if store-bought eggs are from hens who have true outdoor access. Many of the smaller, regional organic producers do run their hens on pasture.

                            Pastured, non-organic hens are usually fed conventional, GMO feeds and the pasture may or may not have been treated with synthetic fertilizers, or even grown with GMOs (there is now a GMO alfalfa on the market). If you are buying from local producers you should be asking lots of questions about what the hens are fed and whether the producers use any organic, or at least natural, methods. They may or may not know what organic production actually involves (just feeding organic feed does not necessarily make an egg organic, actual production practices are a bit more involved than that to justify the organic label).

                            As far as the Vegetarian label goes, this label is meant to identify eggs that are produced without avian and mammalian by-products (which includes all organic eggs as this practive is prohibited in organic production). Feeding slaughterhouse by-products is a sticking point with some consumers, so egg producers use the term "vegetarian fed". That's not to say that the birds aren't eating bugs, insects, and rodents on their own...

                            I'm a bit biased as an organic producer, but if you are looking for the best eggs, look for organic eggs from pastured hens.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Beachspirit View Post
                              I've also noticed that true organic eggs have a much harder shell than non organic. So when I try out some of those farmers eggs, if the shells are weak that maybe a sign that the insides are weak as well.
                              I'm not sure that's true. I buy local pastured eggs, some *certified* organic, some not. One of the farms occasionally has a very large egg in the dozen with a light brown, textured sort of shell that is much less brittle than what I'm used to. It still breaks fine, but is definitely softer. The yolk is a nice orange color. I think some aspects of texture (like color) may be breed specific. Now I want to ask next time I get one of these odd eggs.
                              50yo, 5'3"
                              SW-195
                              CW-125, part calorie counting, part transition to primal
                              GW- Goals are no longer weight-related

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