Behind the Egg Labels: What Do They Really Mean?

| 7/2/2009 4:57:41 PM

Tags: chickens, eggs,

As we worked to teach our foster children simple living skills and boost their level of awareness, we found ourselves stumbling upon frightening tidbits of information that sent us first shivering, weeping, and thumb-sucking in the corners but then angrily protesting like marchers in a PETA parade (except we are clothed and omnivorous).

The following video contains disturbing footage and facts.  It may not be suitable for all audiences.  Please keep that in mind before watching.

Modern egg production practices seemed very Brave New World to me ... only less humane. At least in Brave New World the lower castes were periodically hosed with soma-gas to get high and thus forget how horrible their lives really were. No such luck for the factory-farmed egg laying hens.

But how do we keep from supporting these industries?  Labels?

Healthy chicken

Labels are so comforting, you know?  I feel instantly validated when I’m pushing a cart full of products plastered with labels declaring my support of free-range and organic animal products.  Labels are my friend, and I am guilty of trusting them.  Oh, and I should feel guilty because behind those labels lies a sad truth.

12/3/2012 2:30:23 PM

Great article! We raise chickens also and I will never buy a storebought egg again. Lisa/

7/7/2009 3:25:11 PM

Nice post Lacy! We get so many complements from people who get our eggs. They rave about the difference, and how much better they are than "store bought", and the differences ARE staggering!

Razor Family Farms
7/7/2009 8:29:43 AM

Hi Dawn! Having seen photos of your operation -- I think you do a lovely job with your birds. They get plenty of fresh air, have lots of room to scratch and loll about, have access to quality foods (bugs, greens, etc.), and have adequate shelter. Our birds are kept in a fenced lot (our backyard and pasture). The fence is more to keep other creatures out than it is to keep them in. You are doing the right thing by keeping them safe from predators, in my opinion. Blessings! Lacy

Paul Gardener
7/6/2009 2:04:15 PM

Great Post Lacy! Couldn't agree more. We love our girls and we especially love there wonderfully tasty eggs. I get lots of questions of whether mine are free range, or cage free or this or that based on what people see on the "labels" that your talking about. I just like to say their Farm-fresh and they don't eat anything I don't know about and that's how I like it. We can't really range ours like I'd like yet (I've been slacking on building a tractor for them...) but they get lots of greens from all the garden clipping and prunings so it's a close second I guess. Kerry~ I'm only on a 1/4 acre in the suburbs and I have chickens and grew over 500 lbs of food last year. The country is where you make it. Don't wait for conditions to change, be the change! Get out and Grow on... It is possible! Thanks again Lacy! Paul Gardener~

Julie Muytoy
7/5/2009 4:05:44 PM

Wow, I didn't know all of this. Thank you for sharing this wealth of information.

7/5/2009 6:47:49 AM

I can remember the first time I had a "real" egg... a little girl came to our mom's group with her pet hen's eggs to sell. Of course, I had to support the budding entrepeneur and bought a dozen ~ thinking all the while, "What's the difference, REALLY!" I took the carton of eggs home and commented to my kids how they were all different sizes and shapes. I opened my fridge and took out the StuffMart eggs that said "cage-free" and decided to have a little taste test to "prove" to my kids there wasn't a difference. We scrambled two eggs from each carton in different pans. We instantly noticed the little girl's eggs were noticeably more orange-yolked. Then, the moment of truth... we tasted her eggs... fresh! buttery! rich! I thought, "Yeah, but how much better???" We tasted the StuffMart eggs... WHAAAT?!?! Cardboardy! Flat! Strange Aftertaste! I've been eating these for HOW long and never noticed how weird they taste?? Amazing what we get used to without realizing it. You're right, Lacy. The difference is staggering, especially when you taste them side by side. NOW... with the horrible way the poor commercial chickens are treated, wouldn't you rather buy eggs from a little girl who loves and holds her chickens and calls them all by name? I know I would! Thanks for the eye-opener and good explanations. ~HeatherJ

7/4/2009 1:12:24 PM

the more things i hear and read, the more i wish i could move my family out to the country and grow our own food and raise our own animals. great article!

7/4/2009 12:21:43 PM

A very good article. Unfortunately our chickens have to be in a pen. The two who kept going over the fence were quickly carried off by coyotes. Ours do however spend much of the winter outside even with it being -20˚C as long as the sun is shining. They don't like to step in snow, but will slowly eat a circle from their door and will make it bigger and bigger. We have also thrown some straw in so they are happy with that and move out further. I think the fresh air goes a long way in having happy hens too. And all our hens take advantage of going outside whenever they can; it is just natural and we never put their food outside.

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