Eggs in the U.S. are available at practically every store that sells food. Farmers markets will almost always have eggs, and many farmers will sell their eggs roadside. At the store there are a number of different types of eggs. Organic, Non Organic, Pastured, Free Range, Cage Free, Omega 3 enhanced, soy free, vegetarian fed. Do any of these things make a difference? If you buy the least expensive eggs, there is a chance that they are the same as the organic eggs. Some egg farms, will sell organic eggs labeled as non organic. This is simply because if they run low on non organic eggs, it’s better to sell them for less than to not have enough for their contract. Organic eggs, come from chickens are fed organic food. Organic chickens also don’t recieve medications. However chickens are rarely vaccinated or medicated anyway. Chickens usually only recieve medication when sick, which removes their organic status. Both Organic and non-organic chickens on egg farms live their lives in very small cages. This allows the eggs to be clean when layed, and makes it easy to gather them. Chickens are very easy to keep. Food, water, and light is all that’s needed to get eggs. When light levels get low, many hens well not lay. All commercial egg farms have artifical lighting to supplement natural lighting. A hen lays one egg a day. For maximum egg production, 18 hours of light is used.
Chickens are not picky. This is why commercial battery farms work. Chickens will stand in one spot and lay eggs, just as easily as if they had moving room. A dog crate would be a perfect chicken house for someone starting out with 2 or 3 hens. Chickens will tend to stay close to food and water. At night they will usually return to their nest boxes. But during the day they will wander far in search of bugs. Which in the city means accross roads into neighbors yards, and in country into the woods into some animal’s mouth. So some fencing is crucial to chicken survival. Remember the chicken has a pea sized brain, making it often forget to look both ways before crossing the road. Cage free, means that a chicken lives in a large cage, but probably at least gets to stand on firm ground. Free range means it has some minimal access to outside. Chickens create vitamin D, by exposure to sunlight just like we do. So the more sunlight a chicken recieves, the more vitamin D will be in the egg. I’ll continue next week with more info on eggs.