what are “pasture raised” eggs, also chicken update

During the winter, short daylight months, our chickens cease egg production and we work our way through the eggs we saved until, around mid-December we are out of eggs.  And then the offerings in the local supermarket become more appealing.  Without including photos, since upsetting folks and triggering nastiness is unnecessary, I will describe the tempting labels.

Carton A – “Fresh Eggs, No Antibiotics, Organic, Non-GMO Feed, Pasture Raised, Grade A One Dozen Large Eggs, Level 4 Pasture Raised”

Carton B – “Pasture Raised, 12 Large Grade A, Made with Fresh Air and Sunshine, Happy Hens, Freedom to Forage Outdoors Year Round, Under Open Skies, Tended by Hand Raised with Respect, Certified Humane Raised & Handled etc.”

You get the idea.  It is at times like these that M.  looks at me with new respect.  She cracked 4 eggs from Carton A and said their yolks were insipid  and 2 looked approaching albino.  M. has a scientific background and not inclined to exaggerate.

Then good news – Speckles (Buff Orpington dad, Americauna mom) began laying and we have  enjoyed 4 good eggs.  But not yet enough of them so we are using up the remnants of Carton B.  Their yolk color is getting there, but though self-described as “Large Grade A” they appear pitiful against a recent egg from Speckles.

our pasture raised hen's egg on left and commercial version on right
our pasture raised hen’s egg on left and commercial version on right

When I compare eggs from our pasture raised hens with commercial eggs I wonder why there is such a difference.  I wonder what pasture raised means – does it include not only space to roam but lots of green goodies and insects to eat?  Our chicken breeds are nothing special yet their eggs seem so much better.  Here is another pic of 5 eggs – can you guess which is ours?

one of thes 5 eggs is ours, the remainder are from carton A
one of thes 5 eggs is ours, the remainder are from carton A

Or if the difference is not the pasture maybe it is organic feed.  We use regular non-medicated feed and maybe it has a more complete nutrition profile.

Enough with the speculation – now we have passed the shortest day of the year we are hoping our other hens will begin to mimic Speckles and we can begin eating again their delicious eggs.


My previous post mentioned a close shave between Wanda and a predator.  I trapped and relocated a feral cat.  There was some concern whether I had trapped the culprit.  Since that post the 2 fence flying hens (yes Wanda is fully recovered tho without tail feathers) have resumed escaping the paddock areas and wandering around the yard.  And on several days I allowed all the hens to go roaming, especially in the compost area where snacks abound.  And there have been no incidents and the squirrels, which were previously not to be seen have returned and chase the birds from their bird seed.  So I am hopeful that the problem has been resolved.

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