Fresh Eggs and Happy Hens

Hens 2-0222

Meet Ronnie… the man about the house coop.

Visiting my family on a recent trip to Ireland, I met Henrietta, Rosie, Bride, Moon and Shelly… these feathered ladies supplied my sister’s household with an abundance of fresh eggs. I have always favoured the colour of brown eggs over white… they look much more appealing. Apparently there is no difference in the taste between white and brown eggs, other than the colour of the shell. Do you disagree? Did you know that the ear lobes of hens dictate the colour of the egg-shell, white ear lobe = white shell, red ear lobe = brown shell… I picked that bit of information while attending a cooking class in Bali… the chef was giving a talk on fresh produce.

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Happy Hens

Intrigued by how happy and friendly these hens were, no matter where you walked… these hens would follow. Left to roam freely outdoors,  the hens knew to return to their chicken coop when darkness set in.

When buying  eggs and on the packaging you might notice statements like, “Farm Fresh Eggs,” “Free Range Eggs” and “Cage Free Eggs” etc… research on google shows that these terms are often loosely used for marketing purposes and we the consumer… fooled into a sense of what truly is a “Happy Hen” laying “Happy Eggs.”

Packaging terms… open for debate!

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Farm Fresh Eggs: The eggs do come from a farm… these hens are most likely kept in very cramped conditions, possibly in cages, fed on food with added chemicals and antibiotics, never roam freely and have never seen the light of day!
Vegetarian Fed Hens…Did you know that a vegetarian diet is  unnatural to hens! Why?…because free-roaming hens diet will include insects and worms.

Organic Eggs: These eggs will have standards relating to the feed ( no chemicals and antibiotics) and living conditions of the hens. These hens may also live in overly confined conditions.

Cage-Free: As it suggests,  these hens are not kept in cages but may still be living in very confined and stressed conditions.

Free-Range: These hens have  access to the outdoors but unless stated, may not actually spend a considerable amount of time outside.Hens 2-2-6

As the saying goes “never judge the book packaging by its cover”! Most of us reach for the eggs on the supermarket shelf and pop them straight into our shopping basket… without giving the poor hens life a second thought. Mass production wins over in today’s society… but in the ideal world wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that every hen’s egg we consumed was laid by a hen allowed to roam freely outdoors. Also, access to trees and hedges to lay eggs under (egg hunt needed) or to hide. In the ideal world that hen would flap it’s feathers, strut around, scratch and peck at the natural ground beneath its feet and behave like a happy healthy hen and lay happy fresh eggs… just like Henrietta, Rosie, Bride, Moon and Shelly.

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Do you buy Free Range Eggs?  Do you favor eggs with brown shells over eggs with white shells?

Recipes using eggs: Creme Brulee                       Pumpkin Ice Cream            Pavlova

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14 Comments

  1. Casey Wyatt says:

    Our neighbor down the road has chickens. They wander all over his property, yet always manage to steer clear of the somewhat busy road nearby. And I’d always heard there was no difference between egg color, but I had no idea about the ear lobe dictating shell color. Fascinating post! Thank you so much!

  2. antoinette boyce says:

    we love the article about the hens and eggs and continue to enjoy the eggs every day. home baking is so much better with our fresh eggs. love the photos of the girls.
    antoinette and lolly, becca and feathered friends

    • foodandtools says:

      I did get to taste your delicious sponge cake made with the freshest of eggs which you’re lovely feathered ladies provided you with! Thanks Lolly and Becca for helping me out with the hens! 🙂

  3. What a great post Moya! Those hens look fantastically well kept. I always buy free range eggs in the hope it comes from hens that have a better life than those poor cage kept hens. Really, that’s such a horrible way to keep any animal.

  4. delicio8 says:

    I recently traded a homemade pecan pie for some fresh eggs. I wish I lived in a place where I could have chickens, but alas, it’s the grocery for me most times. The people I traded to are now dieting so I’ll have to think of something dietetic I can bake for trade!

    • foodandtools says:

      I also depend on what the supermarket stocks and try and buy the best choices that are available. Worth baking something low fat for your neighbors if you can keep the fresh eggs in stock! 🙂

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