Farm fresh eggs are a great way to get started as a farmer, and a great place to start when buying from a farmer. However, for an egg being such a small thing, it sure can cause a lot of controversy. It seems somewhere along the way we became so disconnected from our food source, we believed a lot of lies thrown about by the factory egg producers. They’ve disconnected us from the fact that all eggs come from chickens, fears of salmonella, and we’ve gotten used to a sub par product. So, let’s take a look at some of these misconceptions and figure out the truth.
1) You HAVE to have a rooster to get eggs!
Contrary to popular belief, no rooster is needed for a hen to lay an egg. A hen usually starts to lay eggs at about 5 month sold, and will lay quite a few years. No roosters required.
2) There is a bit of blood in this egg, it’s a baby chick!
Alas, a spot of blood is NOT an indicator of a fertilized egg. In fact, most individuals cannot differentiate between a fertilized and unfertilized chicken egg. When you find blood in an egg, it’s called a blood spot. What happens is a small blood vessel ruptures sometime during the egg laying process. You can also find what appears to be tissue, which is the same thing. Just a little hiccup in the egg making progress. These eggs are COMPLETELY safe to eat. You can eat them blood spot and all, or pick out the spot with a spoon (or shell!). These "spots" can be found in store bought eggs, but are rare due to the eggs going through a candling process. The eggs are still used, just not sold by the dozen.
3) Fertilized eggs are baby chicks, and you shouldn’t eat them.
When an egg is fertilized it means one thing only. It has the ability to grown into a chick with the correct conditions. Contrary to popular belief an egg doesn’t come out and then automatically start developing into a chick. In fact a chicken egg can sit, fertilized, at room temperature for weeks and nothing will happen. (Well, the egg will eventually go bad, but there won’t be any chick inside!) Fertilized eggs need to be held at a constant temperature of 100 degrees, for 21 days before a chick hatches.
4) Fertilized eggs are unhealthy./ Fertilized eggs are more healthy.
Truth is fertilized or not has nothing to do with the nutritive value of an egg. They are both the same.
5) My eggs from the supermarket have omega-3 in them.
ALL eggs have omega 3’s. And although the advertisements may sway you, eggs from hens raised outdoors on pasture have 2 times more omega 3s!
6) There is no difference between a factory farm/store bought/conventional chicken egg, and a farm fresh, pastured chicken egg.
There is a HUGE difference!!!! According to a study done by Mother Earth News, free range, pastured chicken eggs are much more nutritious than store bought eggs.
“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:
⅓ less cholesterol
¼ less saturated fat
⅔ MORE vitamin A
2 times MORE omega-3 fatty acids
3 times MORE vitamin E
7 times MORE beta carotene”[Source]
7) Brown eggs are better for you.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but nope. Brown eggs, white eggs, blue eggs, or green eggs (yes you can get a lot of different colors from chickens!), are all the same...well at least on the inside.
8) Aren’t store bought eggs safer?
Salmonella is a hugely feared disease that you can contract from eating raw, or undercooked eggs. Salmonella is a bacteria that grows in the intestinal track of humans and animals. Eggs that are laid and then exposed to feces may be infected with salmonella. Salmonella is food poisoning, and as such it doesn’t spread from hen to hen like a cold. Hens in factory farmed conditions usually contract salmonella due to eating rat/mouse droppings that is in their feed. Once infected, they lay eggs that then become tainted from the hens. In contrast, most small farmers, or backyard chicken keepers do not have salmonella in their flocks. Smaller flocks mean you can easily tell when a hen is off, or under the weather and treat an issue before it gets out of hand. This is a great reason why you should know your farmer!
9) I get caged free eggs from the store which are just as good as farm fresh eggs./My free range eggs from the store are from free range chickens.
I wish this was true. Unfortunately cage free and free range really doesn’t mean much in the grocery store. Cage free eggs are from hens that do not live in cages, but are housed in overcrowded barns. “Free range” eggs from the store means the chickens were given access to the outdoors. That means there is a pen outside, and at some point in their day that door was open and they may or may not have gone out. That door may also only be open for a short period of time.
10) Farm fresh eggs are too expensive! Store bought are cheaper.
Well, this is true, unfortunately. I have to feed chickens for about 5 months before they start laying eggs. I also may have predators eat my hens, lose a hen unexpectedly, or have another unforeseen incident (with farming you just never know!) Free ranging chicken can be more difficult, as they love to find a hidden spot to lay eggs. Egg production is more likely to drop over winter, especially for those who do not use supplemental lighting. So again, you are feeding them without getting eggs in return. It is pricey, and to be honest, most small farmers are lucky to even just cover the cost of owning chickens. The thing I love about farm fresh eggs, is that by purchasing them, you are supporting a farmer. You are putting that money back to your local economy. You are showing a farmer you care and support them. As a farmer I am overwhelmed with appreciation any time someone purchases something from me. Because without you, the consumer, I am nothing.
Have a question about farm fresh eggs? Or just eggs in general? Use the comment section below to ask your question!