Yesterday I wrote about different "ploys" used on egg carton advertisements... words to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside...to make you feel GOOD about the choice you made in purchasing one certain type of egg over another.
Raising my own pullets this year has been, and still is, a learning experience. Livestock management has always been of interest to me, and maintaining a small flock of 5 hens is relatively easy, not as labor intensive as it would be if I had more birds. There's still much to learn and practice, especially as they reach the age of egg production, but for the small amount of time it takes to do daily chores, it's well worth the effort, knowing I am going to have a much healthier egg at breakfast time!
The following information was found in Mother Earth News:
Most of the eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture. That’s the conclusion we have reached following completion of the 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. Our testing has found that, compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture may contain:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
Click on the picture above to enlarge. The egg on the top of the pan is the grocery store version - yellow yolk, watery 'white'. The one on the bottom of the pan is from a pastured hen - notice the darker yolk, and it stands up out of the white a bit more; the white is thicker and superior in appearance.. Chicken egg warehouses often feed an additive with yellow or orange color enhancer to their hens which produces a darker yellow color in the yolk. With pastured chickens, beta carotene or xanthophyll are natural plant pigments which darken the yellow yolk. Extra corn in the feed will do this as well.
Do you need a rooster for a hen to lay eggs?
No, hens lay eggs without the rooster, but you do need a rooster to have fertile eggs for hatching.
Is it possible to have an egg without a yolk? Yes, but it is rare. Yolk-less eggs (I have found one before!) are called wind eggs, and happen if a bit of reproductive tissue breaks away, and wraps in albumen, membranes and shell. These were once believed to be laid by Roosters, and were called cock eggs!
What about double yolkers? This happens when the hen ovulates too rapidly. They are most often laid by pullets just beginning to start laying eggs. Heavy breed hens carry this tendency as an inherited trait. The world record is 9 yolks in one egg! (I have found 3 yolks once!)
Support the small hobby farms - buy eggs from pastured hens! They're better for you!