Free-range eggs conjure up images of chickens ranging on a farm, happily grazing and picking out grubs from the ground. When chickens are happy, then their eggs are better as well. Free-range was how chickens were ranged since time immemorial until the 1920s when vitamins A and D were discovered and allowed chickens to be confined and production ramped up to a commercial level. The increased demand in healthier food and the demand for the more humane treatment of laying hens led to the resurgence of having chickens raised “free-range”.
Free Range Egg Trivia
- The term “free-range” is not strictly monitored by the USDA. To be labeled “free-range” an animal must have access to an outside area. That’s it, just access, it doesn’t mean that the animal is actually ranging.
- Free-range doesn’t mean that the hen wasn’t fed with GMO feed or wasn’t given antibiotics, it just means that the hens have access to the outside.
- Chickens are omnivores, this is why real free-range chickens have darker colored and creamier tasting yolks due to all of the grub and other tasty bugs they consume.
- Chickens may sometimes lay yolkless eggs when something disturbs her reproductive cycle when she’s laying an egg. These yolkless eggs are much smaller in size than regular eggs and are called “fairy eggs”.