Cage Free Vs. Free Range Eggs

 I  buy only “Pasture Raised” eggs. Here is why. 

cage free chickens

Are you going to the trouble of  buying “Cage Free ” eggs, and paying more money for it, thinking it is better for the environment, chickens, and you? This is exactly what I used to do. And now I am posting this article to help all of us make better choices.

CAGE FREE:

cage free
What does cage free mean?

The cage free label only means that the chickens were not raised in cages and were able to roam in a building, room or enclosed area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle. However chickens can still be confined in very close quarters inside a building where they are standing in their own muck and can barely move. Chickens have little or no access to the outdoors.

FREE RANGE:

free range eggs label

What does the Free Range label mean?

According to USDA regulation, the term “free range” only means that the chickens were allowed access to the outside. Since there is no specification to the duration or quality of the outdoor exposure, it can be just a  small door in a giant warehouse leading to several feet of outside dirt space. As I said there is no specification to the outdoor space, it does not have to have green grass, herbs etc.

Since the door is typically small and warehouses are typically large, most of the chicken never find the door.

 

VEGETARIAN FED:

vegetarian fed egg

I have recently noticed a new term appearing on egg cartons “vegetarian fed”  When I saw the label, I right away thought that the chickens were fed healthy vegetables and grains. But then again, chickens like to eat bugs and insects. After some research here is what I learned.  “Vegetarian Raised” chickens are raised on industrialized feed, probably GMO and are NEVER allowed outside. EVER!

The Lexicon of Sustainability: THE EGG VIDEO

 

PASTURE RAISED:

Yes, THIS is the term to go for!

Due to the number of variables involved in pasture-raised agricultural systems, the USDA has not developed a definition for pasture-raised products. Although the “pasture-raised”  label does not have any current regulations, it is being used by sustainable farmers to indicate chickens raised in the pasture, outdoors. Pasture raised eggs are what we want when shopping for eggs.  Pasture raised eggs come from HAPPY CHICKENS!

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