Free Range Eggs and More: What You Need to Know

An Easter Lesson in Five Parts

| April 10, 2009

  • Easter eggs
    Spring is a great time to enjoy fresh eggs from free range chickens, because hens that are allowed to eat spring grass produce fantastic, nutrient-rich eggs.

  • Easter eggs

You may not think of eggs as a seasonal food, but eggs are in fact a biological product, and as such follows an animal’s life cycle. “But I can get eggs anytime I want,” you say? Well yes, of course you can. That’s thanks to our modern industrial food production and distribution system. We can all enjoy a seemingly unlimited supply of year-round eggs (and strawberries and tomatoes and apples and juicy steaks … you get the idea). But it wasn’t always so. And this year-round supply comes at a price. Lucky for you, there’s no better time than spring to learn about real eggs, because there’s no better time to enjoy them!

1. Eggs are Seasonal
2. Eggs are Colorful
3. Eggs are Healthy
4. Eggs are Legislated
5. Good Eggs Come From Good Farms

Lesson 1: Eggs are Seasonal

When young lady hens are about six months old, they start laying eggs, and continue to do so for about a year. They produce the most eggs during the first couple months of the cycle. You’re more productive in nice weather too, right?

Then, when daylight and temperature decrease in the fall, egg production declines, too. After all, it was the gorgeous sunshine that was stimulating the birds’ egg-laying hormones. Plus, in cold temperatures the ladies divert their egg-laying energy into keeping-warm energy. You stay in, throw on the sweats and curl up with a blanket in the winter, right?

Production continues to decline until most birds take a rest for several weeks in the winter. Now full of new vigor, they begin the cycle all over again.

So springtime is egg time. Maybe that’s why folks started dyeing eggs for Easter — what better way to celebrate an abundance of fresh eggs than with bright party colors?

3/27/2010 12:03:14 AM

Thank you for this information; it was very helpful. I knew there was a difference, but did not know what it was. This is the first year I will be a part of a CSA. I can't wait. Not only are they better for you, but we are supporting humanity for the chickens as well. Everything, including chickens, deserve to be cared for properly. This is a easy way to think of it: How would I like it if I was stuck in half the size of my bedroom my whole life, any sharper parts on my body were cut off so they couldn't grow, and then I was starved? This should be a nobrainer answer with a no brainer solution.

Dominic Ebacher
4/23/2009 3:39:51 PM

Spring eggs are best; and free-ranged eggs taste better than any other. After having eggs for a full year for the first time, and giving them daily access to fresh greens to their hearts' content I can easily say I will never go back to eating storebought eggs: and the chickens are so much happily and though I can't measure it: I believe their eggs are much healthier too! Dominic


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