Look at all those chickens! Cage vs Cage Free

Coming from a fellow chicken owner, the freshness of a chickens egg is very important to me. My family has been raising chickens in our backyard for the past five years. Mostly for my dad’s nostalgia from his childhood on the farm, but also for fresh, cage free and GMO free eggs. When we first got chickens, I was really interested in finding out if the eggs would taste, or even look different from the ones we bought at our local Wegman’s. To my surprise, they looked and tasted very different from each other. The egg from my chickens in my backyard, had a dark and thick yolk, which did not break when I cracked it in the pan. The store bought egg, or the caged chicken’s egg,  had a really light colored and runny yolk, which immediately broke when I cracked it into the pan. After I fried the eggs, I found out I much preferred the taste of my cage free chicken’s egg more than the store bought egg.

free-range-eggs

So I thought to myself, even though both eggs are coming from the same animal, does the upbringing and treatment of the chicken impact the health and nutrient aspects of their eggs. Could the lack of nutrients in the caged chicken’s egg be a result of a difference in taste and texture?

First, I compared the chickens two different living situations. My ten chickens at home have a 4×8 coop, containing four large nesting boxes and a 20×10 gated area outside around the coop. As well as a whole acre of grassy backyard to run around in when we let the chickens free range. I looked up how large the industrial chicken cage sizes and found it here. Basically, they have 67 to 76 square inches to live in on average, where almost all of their entire life is spent. These absurdly small cages prevent the chickens from spreading their wings and can lead to their muscles not fully developing and becoming paralyzed.  These tiny cages the chickens live in are called battery cages, where they are mentally and physically abused. Here is a very graphic video of how commercial caged chickens are treated.

chicken_layer_cages_634594118892495268_7picture found here

So, what does this have to do with the health and nutrients you are receiving from the eggs you eat? I searched the internet and found some answers here. Basically, it is proven that cage free chickens produce eggs that are much healthier and contain more nutritious benefits then caged chicken’s eggs. Some nutrients the cage free chicken eggs contain that the caged chicken eggs do not, is that they contain twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids, three times more vitamin E and seven times more pro-vitamin A beta-carotene. Also, these eggs contain a quarter less saturated fat and a third less cholesterol, which is a lot better for your heart health. The falling short of nutrients in the egg of the caged chicken is directly linked to the raising and treatment of these animals. For example, this is just like fetal alcohol syndrome. This is where the fetus’ lack nutrients because of the poor raising of the child, which is drinking alcohol when pregnant. Here are some test and experiment run which prove that cage free chicken eggs are better for you then caged chickens eggs.

 

1 thought on “Look at all those chickens! Cage vs Cage Free

  1. Alexis Paige

    I have never thought about it, but it makes sense that happier, more cared for animals would yield better products! I am not sure if it works differently for different animals, but I read this article that focuses on pigs. It basically said that although they try to reduce the stress of their pigs, being stressed or not doesn’t really affect the makeup of the meat. The article goes on to talk about how the feed is more important than the stress levels. I wonder why it is different? Perhaps it is because eggs are a byproduct of the chicken?
    http://sciencenordic.com/meat-stressed-animals-unhealthy

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