Farm eggs vs. Store bought eggs.

Siamese(VA)September 21, 2005

Recently we had company & they bought some "cage free, all-natural feed nesting hen eggs" & I Just fixed some this morning and they were *nothing* like my farm fresh eggs. The store bought ones were thin shelled, rubbery, and yellow yolked. My farm eggs are thick shelled, very yummy, with a more orange yolk.... so why is there such a difference in my eggs vs. these "cage free" eggs?

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sullicorbitt(z5 MA)

I think it must be the freshness? I alway buy organic cage free eggs, I don't like the idea of factory farming so that's why I buy them (VERY soon I will have my own like you!). Just on two occasions this past summer I had the joy of having fresh farm eggs and honestly I could't believe the difference. The yoke is so rich and creamy! They whip up so fluffy and beautiful! I think it's gotta be the freshness factor or could it also have to do with free ranging?


    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 7:25AM
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salads_r_us(z6 NY)

I think the difference is freshness. The dead giveaway is when you hardboil them. When we had eggs from our own hens, it was almost impossible to peel the hardboiled eggs. The whites were pressed so hard against the shell, bits of the whites came off with it. The store eggs have been in storage long enough for some evaporation of the whites to take place and the shell comes off clean. The air space at the top is bigger with store bought eggs, too.


    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 8:43AM
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Wayne_Georgia(North Georgia)

Free Range chickens eat a lot of "stuff". Grass is one of the favorite things they love. This is what makes the yolks so deep Yellow/Orange. I believe that the freshness is the main thing that makes them so much better. And make no mistake, most people can taste the difference. Where I live, a commercial egg is considered "fresh" as long as it has been refrigerated at below 45 degress and is not older than, now get this..... 45 Days! (the expiration date) That's a month and a half. The eggs we egg/chicken people use are usally just a few days old...maybe a few hours old..go figure.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 8:56AM
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The color difference comes from the foods the chickens eat. A free-ranging bird will eat more natural foods...all the goodies like bugs, spiders, undigested foods in the cow/horse/donkey poop. Sounds gross but that's how God made 'um. Not to mention grasses. The list is long and varied, but that's where the color comes from. Also, I think someone here once said it depends on how much corn they've had(?).

As far as freshness is concerned, obviously a fresh (just laid) egg taste better than an older one. Do the egg in water trick to test for freshness. When it comes to boiling...that should be reserved for stale eggs (those that stand up straight in the water). Those are the eggs that peel easily. A boiled fresh egg is very difficult to peel. At the peak of my egg collecting I was getting about 4 dozen eggs a day. Whew!!! Selling some, giving away most, but what we kept we didn't worry about too much because if they became stale...boil them. However, if they float...very carefully dispose of them outside!

There are those that will tell you ways to boil fresh eggs and they will peel easily...good for them, but it's NEVER worked for me. But then I can burn a bowl of cereal, so don't take any cooking advice from me!

Most eggs you buy in stores are at least a week old, so I've been told. Just as an experiement I tested a dozen newly store bought eggs and every single one "stood straight up". In my opinion, nothing compares to the yard eggs. However, I'm betting if someone threw in a few store boughts and I didn't know it...I probably couldn't tell the difference!


    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 10:31AM
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But these eggs from the store claimed to be "free roaming" hens so I wondered if maybe its just a scam for them to make more $$?

I usually do eat my own farm eggs within a couple of wks, but sometimes it may be longer..but I dont remember them ever ending up like store bought eggs.

I don't eat that many eggs and usually end up feeding quite a few of my eggs back to my hens.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 11:25AM
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chapelhillgardener(7a NC OrangeCo)

i've had chickens & fresh eggs for 8 years now, and they are definitely harder to peel than the store-bought. so, my deviled eggs from fresh eggs aren't pretty, but they're good!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 11:27AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

The store-bought eggs that are touted to be laid by 'free roaming' chickens are, of course, a come-on.

Technically the birds ARE touching the ground and are not packed 6 or 8 to a tiny wire cage in huge barns like battery hens are, but instead are kept in large indoor pens--but packed in just as tightly. They never see a blade of grass or a bug (or sunshine or rain), and are just fed commercial feed and water.

Your chickens at home, in comparison, roam the nice, grassy yard, eat bugs and maybe a bite or two of leftover cheeseburger, get lots of fresh air and sunshine. Big difference!

Green matter such as grass, by the way, makes for a more golden yellow to orange color yolk. :)

When I hard boil eggs, I never use fresh eggs because they are impossible to peel. Use eggs that are at least a week old and after you boil them, cool them rapidly in progressively colder water, then peel right away under a gentle stream of running cool water. Usually the shells come right off this way. Don't forget to feed the eggshells back to your hens! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 1:23PM
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Velvet, that is what I figured--that their hens are probably kept in some large pen. Do you guys think I should write to them?

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 3:20PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Well, I wouldn't rub your houseguests' nose in it...*L* Eggs from your hens are like homegrown tomatoes--so far-and-away better that nothing from the supermarket can ever compare. Technically, the eggs they so nicely brought you WERE from 'free roaming' chickens, just not as stupendous as yours! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 5:10PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

By the way, your farm-fresh eggs are also naturallly lower in cholestorol, thanks to your girls' healthy lifestyle! :)

Just another advantage of owning chickens!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 5:12PM
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Sorry folks, and I know I will upset you - but it all comes down to feed and management. I have kept many thousands, nay tens of thousands, of egg producing hens in my not so short life. I have not used cages for a very long time, but I used to make very large bets with people that they could not tell the difference between my caged, shedded (called deep litter in those days in the UK, now "barn" I think) and free ranging hens' eggs. 2 of each in a half dozen pack, and a reliable third party as judge, knowing the answer as they were packed. I never lost a bet, despite the risk that someon would guess lucky. Most accepted they could not tell, and did not try to guess.

You may not have heard of the colour scale for egg yolks, but it is available like a fan of mechanics' feeler gauges, and numbered from 1 to 15, which basically means from off-white to an almost blood red. You can make yolks any colour you want on that scale under any production system. Different markets around the world prefer different colours. Many people are put off once you pass Number 12 on the scale, but our most recent egg producing business in the Scottish Highlands(sold when we moved here) required eggs in the 13 or 14 range. We set a very high quality with every egg individually inspected by my wife or myself, and we were well aware that another producer with a much larger operation than ours, and what you might call "factory farm" production methods for grading and packing had just as high a quality with his cage produced eggs.

Part of the problem is the minute profit margin that egg producers make - often due to small scale people "selling" eggs at below realistic production costs. That will upset a few more of you. Because of this low profitability large scale producers reduce costs by reducing feed costs, which invariably means quality. Egg production numbers may well stay up, but internal quality diminishes. If you are going to feed a living entity (plant, bird, animal, yourself) remember the old adage - we are what we eat. Shell quality may also suffer due to lower feed quality, but there are many more reasons too.

More upset people coming up. Grass is not a good food for hens. It is too high in fibre. Hens are unable to cope with it. Very low fibre greens are fine - after they have consumed their fair daily quota of a top quality layers' ration. I posted several months ago that I would not give any more explanations about excess calcium.

One thing nobody should disagree with, and that is the posts above by people who have obviously hard boiled a lot of eggs and know they need to have a bit of age on them to peel easily. As for age, I have eaten many eggs of 2 months age and older, although rarely more than 10 weeks. We purposely kept eggs for that long to verify their keeping quality. European regulations are, simply put, do not wash or refrigerate (I know the US is different) sell within 21 days of being laid to give the buyer a week to use within the 28 days' recommended best before date.

Siamese,if you do write to these people, do so very nicely, and you will probably gain a lot of information into profitable poultry keeping in the US. Definitely do not accuse of them of telling lies on their packs. You could find that extremely expensive if you are wrong. Old McDonald.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2005 at 5:43PM
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I had to get a rooster for my hens because they were trying to nest. Now my family won't eat the eggs because they think they may be fertilized.If they are, would it make any difference? There is no indication they are feetilized but the rooster is very besy with all of them every day. Help!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 8:45PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

The question you need to ask your family is WHY they are opposed to fertile eggs.

If they fear that they may find a half-developed chick inside, assure them that 1) You gather your eggs every single day, so they are fresh, and 2) a broody hen MUST set on the eggs 24/7 (except for short breaks) and incubate them for at LEAST 1 week before a chick forms that can even be seen. If a broody hen isn't incubating the eggs, the egg will just sit there and won't form a chick. It takes 21 days to incubate a chick to hatch time.

If they object to fertile eggs being 'unhealthy', tasting odd or being inedible in some way, that is an Old Wives Tale.

If you were to crack a fresh fertile egg and a fresh infertile egg into two separate dishes, 99.9 percent of people could not tell the difference by sight, smell or taste. Your home-grown eggs will be clearly superior to supermarket eggs in color, taste, quality, freshness and will have naturally lower cholesterol.

The only way to tell a fertile egg once you've cracked it into a dish is to look at the blastoderm/blastodisc--the small white spot on the yolk. An infertile egg will show a ragged-edged blastodisc, a fertile egg will show a well-formed, doughnut-like blastoderm with well-defined edges. Cool pics here!:

If your family says, "Uck, fertile eggs have that nasty blood spot!" You can tell them that actually, ANY egg can have a blood spot, they are simply a small bit of the hens' blood that became encased in the egg while it was forming, and a blood spot is NOT a baby chick that is forming.

Good luck educating your family! :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:32PM
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Our chickens are truly free ranging but even though there isn't vegetation in the winter, or bugs with constant snow cover, our eggs maintain the deep orange yolks. The only reason I can think is because we add kelp meal to their feed and molasses and vinegar to their water.

The shells are very hard year around. BTW, today their are concentrating on my hosta garden --- baby slugs, I suppose.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 9:54AM
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paulns(NS zone 6a)

Here's another POV, shared by Ol Hazza, who used to post here, and by the fellow whose market stall I used to buy eggs at years ago, who first put the idea into my head that it was preferable not to wash eggs because it removes their protective bloom. He also said they keep best unrefrigerated, at a steady temperature. We don't put warm eggs straight in the fridge.

From the UK Dept. Environment FAQ, last updated in 2007

Why are eggs not refrigerated?

Before purchase by the consumer, EC legislation requires that eggs are stored and transported at a preferably constant temperature. This is current practice within the UK egg industry and the reason why the majority of retail outlets' egg displays are not refrigerated. Changes in storage temperature and humidity can lead to condensation forming on the egg shell which can cause mould growth together with the possibility that any bacteria may infect the eggs as a result. After purchase, the consumer is advised to refrigerate the eggs to maintain freshness and reduce the possibility of bacteria growth resulting from exposure to the temperature and humidity variations of the domestic kitchen. Further information:

Is egg washing permitted?

EC egg marketing legislation does not permit Class 'A' eggs to be washed. These are the class of egg most commonly found at retail level, as Class 'A' is the highest quality of egg. Such eggs may not be washed because it is considered preferable to produce a clean, quality egg in the first place reflecting high production management. Class 'B' eggs and those intended for processing may be washed.

Here is a link that might be useful: UK dept. environment regulations - FAQ

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 6:32PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

In the US Free roaming and free range seem to mean literally nothing when it comes to eggs. They may have had their feet on the ground like velvet suggested, or they may have been the same hens that layed the normal eggs.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2008 at 7:09PM
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Eggs from organic free-range hens raised on pasture are far more nutritious than eggs from confined hens in factory farms:

4 to 6 times as much vitamin D
 1â3 less cholesterol
 1â4 less saturated fat
 2â3 more vitamin A
 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
 3 times more vitamin E
 7 times more beta carotene

So, why isn't this the norm in organic poultry and egg production?

Because the industry has been lobbying for cheap feed and factory farm production methods.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Just an idea after an accident that happened at our place. We have had free-roaming chickens since late Fall. They yolks have always been a beautiful deep orange color. One day my son came in with some eggs that had sat overnight and been frozen. When I used one of the thawed eggs, the yolk was a weak yellow color. It reminded me of store-bought eggs. So, I wondered if store-bought eggs are ever frozen before they are sold in stores?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 7:38AM
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It claimed they were "free-roaming"? They can roam free inside a barn. Cage free doesn't really mean anything except they aren't kept in a cage. My chickens are cage-free. They live in a barn (locked in at night so predators can't get them) and wander the pasture and woods in the daytime. But if I left them in the barn they could still wander free in a 2500 square foot place!!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 5:46PM
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Cage free is just that...they are not in cages but still in "factory" farms!
If you want all the particulars, go to the USDA web site & look up the different requirements for the terms...cage free, open range, pasture raised. Most are also feed the same GMO feeds that the injected cattle are fed!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 7:53PM
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We have 23 hens and we cannot keep enough eggs for our friends and neighbors. I have had chickens all my adult life and I have never seen the intrest in fresh eggs like I am seeing now. It IS freshness and also the quality of what is being fed to your hens. The corn is what gives the yoke that golden color, not the commercial, steriod stuff they feed the hens in egg houses that lay store bought eggs.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 9:43PM
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We raised chickens for several years until it became just too expensive. We never even came close to making a profit even if we could ever sell our eggs at $2.00 per doz. or the free-range, organic chickens for over $1.00 per #. VERY EXPENSIVE PETS so we sold them all.

There was definitely a difference in the taste of the chickens (very moist/meaty) and the eggs had the great orange yolks but tasted no different than the pale yellow ones.

It just isn't profitable to raise them for eggs or meat. Not even close.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 2:18PM
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It's wintertime and my chickens are paying for their own feed with sales and providing us with eggs too. When spring comes they get no more feed. Just the ocassional loaf of bread because I get 100 pounds of bread for $9.00

    Bookmark   February 16, 2011 at 8:20PM
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To me there is no comparrison,cant beat fresh eggs,I have about 12 chickens enough eggs for the whole family.Im talking enough eggs for both sons and daughter and hubby and I.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2011 at 3:08PM
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If you boil fresh eggs in 1/4 cups of salt, they will peel easier.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Just read the post about boiling fresh eggs with ¼ c. salt⦠Iâll try that next time.

My son is a personal trainer and body builder⦠I boil 9 to 12 dozen eggs a week.

I get fresh eggs from my friend and she says she washes them in a solution of water with a little vinegar. She also said not to hard boil them for at least 5-7 days.

My son gets fresh eggs from his friend who doesnât wash them because he doesnât have time.

Please tell me: if eggs should be washed and in what solution.

I appreciate your help.

Jo Bjork

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 1:54AM
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Please send me info on farm fresh eggs

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:43AM
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I just learned to peel fresh eggs does work,put eggs in pan cold water,put on stove till boiling take off stove put lid on pan let sit 14 minutes,empty put cold in few minutes,Take the egg bang it slightly on counter to break up shell,roll it to further crack it ,it peels right off big pieces.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 10:53PM
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No offense to Old Hazza, but the eggs we raise are the best I have ever tasted in my life... They are laid by 100% free range chickens. They eat all that is available on our small farm including fibrous grass, bugs, and other such things... I think that the difference might be that they are happy chickens. We have 16 laying hens and each has their own personality, likes and dislikes, etc. I have a favorite named Phoenix because she is fire red. She sits on my shoulder while I mow the grass... As content as can be. They roost in the trees at night and scratch around all day. They visit with us and chase the cats and all sorts of funny things. They are great producers and fun pets. We don't weigh or measure their eggs or rate the shades of the yolks, but we eat them everyday and breakfast just seems like one big dessert! In my life I have never enjoyed a more rich, hearty, creamy, delicious egg from any other source. Can it not be true that happy hens just produce better "quality" eggs? I know we need large farms and such but that just don't settle well with me... It makes me feel bad to think about the mundane lives that they have... Just sayin...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 4:56PM
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With caged eggs there are laws that limit what the chickens can be fed for health reasons. With free range chickens there is no control as to what they eat. We eat those organically raised eggs because they are healthier.
As far as happy chickens go, at first I thought --- but took a step back and thought about it. Docile cattle will have more tender beef. Happy cows will produce more milk. Maybe your on to something, I never rule anything out.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 5:53AM
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