The great egg debate... This has concerned me for awhile now. After we cleaned up our diet I started thinking more about free-range eggs and meat. The concern was that we are what we eat right? So the food that goes into the chickens will ultimately affect the nutrition of the egg - maybe not so much fat and protein content, but more the quality of the fat and protein. After reading the ingredients on a bag of 'Peck n Lay' - seeing vegetable oil, vague descriptions that could potentially cover a multitude of substances and pigments (they are stated as being 'natural' but I haven't yet got to the bottom of exactly what that constitutes), I became concerned with what was going into our chooks and ultimately our eggs.
Peck n Lay Ingredients:
Selected from: Grain and grain by-products, various plant proteins, food by-products, minerals, vegetable oils, animal fats, enzymes, amino acids, oregano essential oils, vitamins and trace minerals, natural pigments, salmonella inhibitor, mould inhibitor. Natural extracts to enhance yolk colour. I have tried to find more of an exhaustive ingredients list that will explain what the “various plant proteins” and “grain and food by-products” are, and what mould inhibitor is used but I have come up empty handed.
After reading this list (most standard chook foods are pretty much the same) I decided find an organic feed that was a bit more in line with what a chook should naturally eat. We now get our feed from NZ Bio Grains (http://www.biograins.co.nz/) and the ingredient list looks like this:
Contains some or all of the following; wheat, barley, peas/lupins, rye, broll, lime, fishmeal and linseed.
With that said, the egg on the left is one of ours - organic free-range. The chooks are locked in a generous sized run overnight then let out around midday to forage as they would do in the wild. We feed them food scraps when we lock them up at night. The egg on the right is a cage egg. But if free-range chickens are being fed the same feed as the cage chickens their eggs will also look like this. I am sure they have more goodness in them than the cage egg because they are also getting sunshine, grass and bugs, it just concerns me that we can no longer easily tell the difference between the two.