Last summer I embarked on the journey of raising backyard chickens. I am by no means an animal person, but for some reason, the idea of raising chickens for eggs had this romantic allure. A friend and I went to a local store with the simple goal of gathering information and before we knew it, we were purchasing eggs. Luckily, I have a handy father in law and husband who were able to build me a coop that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Factory farmed eggs come from chickens that are packed in cages and don’t have any room to roam, flap wings, make nests. They are fed mostly grains, instead of feeding off grass and insects. Even when eggs are labeled “cage-free” and “free-range”, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they still aren’t packed into a tiny area. Some chickens can even go their entire lives without going outdoors or seeing sunlight. These tight conditions allow bacteria and other contaminants to thrive. And who knows how often the living space is cleaned (ever think about what happens to all the feces?). To prevent growth of bacteria, many farmers inject chickens with antibiotics. There also is a chance that chickens are pumped with hormones which, along with antibiotics, contaminate the eggs. All in all, these poor living conditions leads to unhealthy chickens which leads to unhealthy eggs.
Pastured chickens, on the other hand, are free to roam a field or yard. They can feed off of grass, bugs and worms, ensuring a high protein diet. There are a number of health benefits of eating organic eggs from pastured or backyard chickens.
Increased Vitamin A
Increased Vitamin D
Increased Vitamin E
Increased omega 3 fatty acids and decreased omega 6 fatty acids
Less saturated fat (not saying saturated fat is bad, but this is a factor)
No residual antibiotics in eggs
Less chance of residual pollutants
Reduces risk of salmonella contamination
Saves on monetary and environmental impacts of transport
Ensure you’re eating fresh eggs (eggs can be weeks old by the time you buy them from the grocery store)
Reduced food waste (we give all our scraps to our chickens)