Saturday, August 07, 2010
Nutritional differences between cage and free range eggs
I still get heaps of enquiries about nutritional diferences between real free range eggs and those laid by caged hens. Unfortunately there has been very little research here in Australia, but the Australian Egg Corporation is always quick to claim that the food values are identical between cage and free range.
They ignore evidence such as that produced by Mother Earth News in the US (see a link above).
The AECL may well be right about the eggs labelled as 'free range' which it endorses because they are mostly the same breeds of birds as found on cage farms, they eat the same feed, they are de-beaked so they can't forage properly and they are kept in intensive conditions.
But if the hens are truly free range and are allowed to roam over pasture where they can eat things like worms, spiders and grasshoppers, as well as leafy greenstuff such as grass and purslane, the eggs have been shown to have a higher nutritional value.