[QUOTE=ChocoTaco369;981143]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?[/QUOTE]
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.
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.)
[url=http://coyotecreekfarm.org/eggs/]Pastured Eggs, Organic Eggs, Jeremiah Cunningham's World's Best Eggs[/url]
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.)
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.
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.
[QUOTE=Beachspirit;981357]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.[/QUOTE]
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.
There is little correlation between an egg being organic vs conventional and the shell strength. Much of the shell strength has to do with age of the hen and the size of the eggs. As hens get older they have a harder time mobilizing calcium to make that shell. Also, roughly the same amount of calcium goes into making any given eggshell regardless of size, thus smaller eggs will have thicker shells and larger eggs will have thinner shells. It is possible that you were seeing the effects of the hens' diets though. Perhaps the organic eggs were from hens whose nutritional requirements were being met better, but that's not to say that you can't get the same result from a conventionally raised hen fed an equivalent diet.
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.)[/QUOTE]
In the sense that they are conventionally raised, I would agree to avoid them, but I don't see why you are singling them out in particular. If I eat conventional eggs, I go with Omega 3 ones. Yes, chickens don't naturally eat flax, but they don't naturally eat soy, wheat, or corn either, and that is what replaces the flax supplement in non-Omega 3 conventional eggs. Wild Chickens have higher Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratios than Omega 3 Eggs so the supplementation does take the egg closer to "normal" in terms of its fatty acid composition. The ideal egg from my perspective would be from a pastured chicken supplemented with fish/coconut feed but that would be cost prohibitive in the United States.