I get asked about the difference between my hens eggs and eggs from the store. This post outlines the details and if you should care about them.
First of all, color. Obviously. What determines the color of an egg? The breed of the hen. That’s it. No color of egg is better than another. Typically you find more white eggs in the store because hens who lay white eggs are very good layers. Being a good layer means the hen naturally lays almost every day during her peak production years and she lays large eggs.
The white eggs are from the store and the brown and green eggs are from my hens.
My barred rock hen lays these brown beauties. When my rhode island red hen and rhode island red/barred rock cross hen lay, they will lay brown as well.
My ameraucana hens lay these blue/green eggs.
These lovely white eggs are from the store. I don’t know what breed laid these particular eggs but typically white leghorns are very good white egg layers.
Poppy likes to eat the eggs that Abram throws. She was hoping I’d accidentally drop one :).
Another difference is size. As hens get older, their eggs get larger. Some hens naturally lay larger eggs. The eggs from the grocery store typically come from hens that lay larger eggs. My hens will lay smaller ones just because of their breed. Stella, my oldest hen, lays jumbo sized eggs. Partly because she is older but her breed also just lays larger eggs. The white egg in this picture is a “large” egg from the store. Stella hasn’t laid in a while so I don’t have an example of one of her eggs.
Another difference is the color of the yolk. My hens lay eggs with dark, dark orange yolks.
Yolks from store bought eggs are usually a lighter yellow.
What determines the color of the yolk? Breed of the hen and the diet of the hen. My hens get a complete feed and kitchen scraps and I let them out for a few hours each day to graze grass and weeds and eat bugs. I also feed them the shells of their eggs back for calcium. Because they have such a varied diet, the yolks are a little darker. Eggs from the store have lighter yolks again because of breed but also because the hens usually get super awesome professionally balanced diet while they are at a laying farm. It is very impractical for all commercial hens to be able to graze and free range. (It’s also dangerous. I only let my hens out for a few hours because dogs and raccoons will eat them. Not if, when). Laying hens for large farms have excellent care given to them and they are healthy and happy. Unhappy hens don’t lay eggs!
Just ask Stella, she hasn’t laid an egg since Poppy bit her…Don’t worry. She’s all better now. Except the egg laying part.
Anyways, moral of the story: the only differences between eggs from the store and eggs from my hens are cosmetic. Both eggs are very healthy and delicious! So if you want to eat a great egg for a great price, go buy one. It’s way cheaper than raising your own, ha! Although I am working on ways to make it more cost efficient, stay tuned!
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