Why Buy Vegetarian Cage-free Brown Eggs?

May 27th, 2009


I buy Vegetarian Cage-free Brown Eggs at the grocery store. What does that mean?

Vegetarian Eggs
Chickens need protein. Chickens in a pasture eat bugs, like wood ticks. Commercial chicken feed may contain animal protein sources like meat or bone meal, dried whey, and fish meal. Vegetarian eggs are eggs fed feed with only vegetarian ingredients, like soybean.

Cage-free Eggs
In a perfect world, all God’s creatures could co-exist and share the land. Unfortunately, even “cage-free” chickens may not have a pleasant existence, but they are free to roam in an open area like a barn and have unlimited access to food and water.

I will spare you the details of the caged-life of a commercial layer hen. Please, if you can, buy cage-free eggs.

Brown Eggs
There is no difference between brown eggs and white eggs other than the fact that brown eggs come from “brown” or “red” hens and white eggs come from white hens.

While white to brown is common in commercial eggs, eggs can come in a wide variety of colors. There is even a non-commercial chicken breed called the Araucana, an ornery, white chicken that lays blueish-green eggs.

According to the American Egg Board at IncredibleEgg.org:

Egg shell and yolk color may vary. Color has no relationship to egg quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness.

Shell color comes from pigments in the outer layer of the shell and, in eggs from various commercial breeds, may range from white to deep brown. The breed of hen determines the color of the shell. Among commercial breeds, hens with white feathers and ear lobes lay white-shelled eggs; hens with red feathers and ear lobes lay brown eggs.

White eggs are most in demand among American buyers. In some parts of the country, however, particularly in New England, brown shells are preferred. Commercial brown-egg layers are hens derived from the Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire and Plymouth Rock breeds. Since brown-egg layers are slightly larger birds and require more food, brown eggs are usually more expensive than white.

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2 Responses to “Why Buy Vegetarian Cage-free Brown Eggs?”

  1. Casper on March 29, 2011 9:02 pm

    Araucana chickens are not all white, and they are certainly not all ornery. More commonly, they are brown, but regardless of the feather color, in my experience, the green egg layers have green legs like a lizard :-)

  2. rencsi on March 29, 2011 9:50 pm

    My apologies to Araucana chickens for calling them white and ornery. And thanks for the tip about leg color and egg color.

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