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Author Topic: What do my eggs eat?  (Read 4447 times)

Randal

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What do my eggs eat?
« on: December 15, 2014, 07:05:34 PM »
Or more specifically, the chickens that lay the eggs I eat?


Now that I am carless (by choice) living in a city again, I'm having my groceries delivered. I chose some organic eggs my first time out, and on the carton they brag about the vegetarian diet they feed their eggs. (I thought chickens were supposed to eat insects, seeds, and grass.) Well they brag about their chickens being fed wheat grains, corn, and soy - things that we in this WOE explicitly avoid. I don't want to eat eggs raised by chickens on that.


So what's a good source of eggs? Or am I worrying about nothing?

Jewwell

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 07:49:40 PM »
Commercial chicken food is always made up of different kinds of grains.  It seems to be an acceptable food for chickens. I think the reason they are bragging about it is because at least they are not using the horrible kinds of animal feed which are sometimes used such as ground up dead animals and other disgusting things.

I'm lucky to be able to get eggs from a hobbyist whose chickens who have access to the outside and sometimes get green plants and insects to eat but there certainly not any of those things here in Canada at this time of year. But you need to be able to drive out to a farm to do that.

At least organic eggs should not have been produced from GMO grains.

Rita

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2014, 09:35:01 PM »
This always bothers me too Randall. 

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2014, 01:37:13 AM »
Randall,


This is exactly the issue.  Perhaps the advertisement on the carton needs to be "pastured free range".  Most producers feed their chickens grains so there is probably little you can do to avoid that.  You might try to contact the farmer and inquire about the feed and the access and time spent outdoors.  You might even get an honest answer!  I did this and got the vaguest non answer possible.  Hopefully this will change soon.  There are various articles being published about just this issue.  If you haven't shopped recently, then you've missed the explosion of different and confusing labels on egg cartons. 

The label from the eggs I just purchased says: free of pesticides and antibiotics, organic, from free roaming hens, receive no drugs, free to roam throughout their hen house and have access to the outside entering and leaving their nests at will, eat pesticide free organic feeds from day of birth.   Inquiries to the store stated that the chickens can leave the hen house at any time.  They didn't know how much time the chickens spent outdoors (weather permitting), and didn't know if that time spend outdoors was actually pecking in a pasture.  The did say that the chickens were allowed to roam around all day long, meaning they were in the hen house at the time of roaming as stated on the label.  The eggs cost $2. more per dozen than factory produced eggs and $2 less per dozen than the most expensive brand with similar labeling. 

Of concern was the small print stating they were packed by a firm that has been cited for misleading labeling and being uncooperative with ratings agencies.

I don't think there is any way to avoid GMO grain's in most chicken feed.  Perhaps the best we can do right now is to purchase our eggs from chickens that actually do spend time pecking the ground in a pasture and not in an open air truck parked in a pasture.  Who'da thunk buying a dozen eggs would be this difficult?

Jan in Key West

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2014, 03:29:47 AM »
Here is an egg buying scorecard, although it's from 2010 so it might not be up to date.....


http://www.cornucopia.org/organic-egg-scorecard/


** this might have been posted once before

Jan in Key West

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2015, 04:49:25 AM »

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2015, 07:30:52 AM »
Jan,

This article answered my question!  With all the publicity about vegetarian diets for chickens and eggs, I wondered if this was advertising hype or a good diet for the chickens and eggs.  Too many of the chicken labels and egg cartons promote anti-biotic, vegetarian fed products which are meaningless because the animals have minimal access to the outside and that outside access can be a concrete slab.  One of the few live chicken markets in my area uses all the buzz words except for "pastured".  They say the hens are raised out in the yard and are free to hunt and peck, leaving out that the yard is made of concrete. 

My guess is that they key word to look for when shopping for chicken or eggs is "pastured" printed on the label.  At least the chickens have a chance for a good diet.  This topic is getting a lot of attention now because of the bird flu virus that is decimating flocks of fowl.  I'd really bet that the fowl fall ill because they are malnourished.  Is there anyone on this forum who can opine on this?

Bob Niland (Boundless)

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 08:09:00 AM »
re:  I'd really bet that the fowl fall ill because they are malnourished.

That may well be the case for chickens subject to a vegan diet. Chickens are omnivores, like people, and on our farm, go first for the bugs. They will also eat small mammals if they can catch them, such as young mice and frogs. Yes, they'll eventually eat everything green in sight, but that stuff is lower on the menu. They go nuts when one of them spots a grasshopper. They still think that they're predatory dinosaurs.

CAFO stress, plus the confinement, plus the side effects of the antibiotic overload, places the whole building at risk if a bird disease gets in.

Free-range is not without its hazards, tho, as the chickens can pick up diseases from wild birds, and the wild birds will intermingle to steal chicken feed. Even a fine overhead net won't help, as the wild birds will poop through it. The netting is still necessary though, to prevent raptors from eating your breakfast factories.

Pastured birds are probably the most robust from an immunity standpoint.

Lynda (Fl)

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2015, 08:15:59 AM »
That echos what my farming forbears used to say, Boundless (they used to say chickens weren't cuddly, either).  I have friends who raise chickens who say the same, so: where did this nonsense come from?  Thanks for the article, Jan.  Barbara, I think 'pastured' is the only solution.  This type of thing is a big gripe of the author of the mineral book I am reading.  He says too many of our laws and guidelines were developed by scientists who never checked the science and refused to listen to farmers who knew better.  We are all paying the price of this arrogance; which is another of his gripes.

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2015, 05:01:50 AM »
Lynda,


Your author is correct.  Most companies pay their research teams to find ways to get the raw product to market faster and with less waste.
Little or no thought given to the ramifications of their interpretations and few long term studies.  These scientists represent their employers and are rewarded if their "discovery" increases the bottom line.  Our government agencies have failed to protect the public from this for many reasons, non of them good.  Thats why diet recommendations include things like ketchup made with high fructose corn syrup to be considered as a portion of vegetables!  You wonder what they could have been thinking!  Even those corporate or university scientists with a conscience were threatened with job losses if they "spoke up".

Taking this "scientific" train of thought further, I remember how the Chesapeake Bay was made into a stinking, polluted toxic wasteland thanks to the waste runoff from the chicken farms while the main culprits Perdue and Tyson were extremely successful corporations with their "modern" factory farms.  The beautiful tidal watershed was nearly bereft of any life forms until the embarrassed government eventually stopped the practice a bit.  Their most touted solution was to WARN the public to eat only hard cooked eggs and very well done chicken because CAFO farming was causing salmonella to be in yolks and meat.   Many acres of the tidal area were made into a protected watershed and some recovery has taken place.  There are fewer red tide overgrowths, but not eliminated because some toxic runoff still makes its way into the water.

Farmers had no say in the matter and were strongly discouraged from being vocal and were specifically not consulted.  Big Ag at work…..

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2015, 06:53:19 PM »
Boundless,


It would seem to me that the pasture raised chickens would contain more nutrients like the grass fed beef and wild caught fish.  Is that what you mean by "being more robust from an immunity standpoint?" 




Bob Niland (Boundless)

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2015, 07:24:47 AM »
re: It would seem to me that the pasture raised chickens would contain more nutrients like the grass fed beef and wild caught fish.  Is that what you mean by "being more robust from an immunity standpoint?"

It's their natural diet, supplemented with antibiotic-free feed, and with generous exposure to soil-based micros. Their native immune system is likely their optimal defense against diseases borne by migratory birds.

BarbinNC

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #12 on: May 06, 2015, 05:58:35 AM »
Does anyone know if the organic eggs at Costco are pastured?  I am not sure, it doesn't say that on the container, to my knowledge … will be looking around for a farmer who sells them, we use lots of eggs and this might be best way to get the Omega 3 we all like to get in our diets.

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2015, 06:39:34 AM »
BarbinNC,

That is THE QUESTION!  Seems that egg farmers can have a very small opening for the chickens to exit the hen house at will, one chicken at a time.  Once outside the hen house, the available yard is concrete, but the chickens are able to run around at will.  Organic, vegetarian feed, no antibiotic use all seem to be better quality than the CAFO eggs, but not as nutritious as the pastured and free range.  The egg cartons should have this clearly written on the label.  You might email Costco customer service to inquire.  There is a great deal of "fudging" on this issue. 

I even emailed a small supermarket chain about this and they fudged.  The eggs were packed by a company that one of the acceptable quality lists stated were not acceptable!  The supermarket did not specify who produced the eggs and if the outside yards were a pasture or concrete.  I went to a local live market and they also "fudged", stressing that the chickens were outside as long as they wanted to be.  The "outside" was an inner courtyard made of concrete.

Hope this helps!

BarbinNC

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2015, 05:43:21 PM »
That's really sad, I guess better than chained and squashed in a factory setting, but still.  I never got out to shop today, but intend to stop by our Springs Peach Stand tomorrow, they have farmers delivering all sorts of foods - including raw milk, cream and butter.  They also grow strawberries and pick them daily fresh, if you go in the afternoon you can see the farmhands bringing them into the store in big baskets.  I bet they have farm fresh eggs.  Will make sure they are pastured, too.  Might go visit some farms soon, to find pastured meat too.  We will be eating well in the near future!  :)

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2015, 06:04:24 AM »
BarbinNC,


I've been actively searching out the organic, grass fed, free range foods we have discussed here.  A local supermarket carries free range lamb from Australia at a very reasonable price.  I had some in my freezer, but not enough for last minute dinner guests.  The store didn't have any more of the chops from Australia, but had some from the USA.  I prepared both kinds on the grill, same way, same seasoning.  The only difference was that the US chops were a little thicker than the others so you could tell them apart. 


I found that the Australian lamb was succulent and tasted almost sweet with a very mild lamb flavor.  The US lamb was a bit chewier, didn't have the same sweet essence and had a stronger "lamb" taste. 


The isn't any way for me to tell if there were any nutritional differences between the lamb chops.  I can say that I am benefitting tremendously from this way of eating.  Ever so slowly I am experiencing more energy and am much stronger with better endurance.  It isn't just not eating grains and sugar or a LCHF menu.  Rather, it is getting the proper nutrients from the food I eat instead of relying on vitamins. 


So BarbinNC, you are being very wise in seeking out the properly fed and raised food you eat.  It is a bit of work, but worth your time and any extra expense the item might cost.  As the market place is changing dramatically, prices do change as well.  You might find wonderful sources in the most unlikely places.

BarbinNC

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2015, 06:51:38 AM »
Barbara, I totally agree with what you say!


It's been interesting how fast the market place seems to be reacting to the public outcry for organic and non GMO foods.  A local chain, The Fresh Market, also carries the pastured meats from Australia and New Zealand, and I will have time again to shop there, and all the other small stores and butcher shops that cater to our need for wholesome food.  I'm rather lucky to have a few farms to check out in this area, but it seems some Aldi locations have a large variety of organic foods now - not every location though, that's been interesting, but of course they are going by demand.  I'm lucky to have one that is well stocked, as a matter of fact, their organic tomato sauce is so delicious, if I didn't know better, I would think it's home made with fresh tomatoes.  And so reasonably priced!


After eating the organic Smart chicken for a while, I decided to buy regular again, and I could not eat it.  It was truly horrible, and this was from Costco.  I don't think it was my imagination, and it was fresh etc. but the taste was revolting to me.  I will only buy organic going forward.  The fact is that appetite declines drastically when you eat this way, the more fat in the diet, the less you eat.  At least that's the case for us, I used to be able to eat a nice big steak, with all the things that go with it … now, I'm lucky if I can eat half the steak!








Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2015, 07:47:32 AM »
BarbinNC,


I live in densely populated northern NJ.  Within 5 miles I have 9 supermarkets.  In addition there are smaller specialty purveyors.  This has made shopping a game for me!  I have found my local Fresh Market to be more expensive than even Whole Foods.  Shoprite, a large supermarket co-op chain on the east coast sells the free range lamb and beef often at a price below their regular meats.  Astonishing! 


When I started this way of eating 29 months ago, few stores carried anything.  It was daunting and expensive.  As time went by, I spent less for all those OTC items for aches and pains at CVS.  I noticed that various food stores were expanding their organic and free range products.  I bought vitamins/minerals/probiotics as recommended by various gurus.  Now that I'm eating almost totally organic/pastured.etc. I'm not replacing most of these, so there alone is a large amount of dollars not spent.  I take one 1 medication, which is low dose Synthroid. 
Now that you officially don't go to work every day, you might spend your time stopping at the various food places in your area just to see what they carry and what they charge.  By doing this, I am actually spending less money overall or better quality items.  I still have a healthy appetite but meals usually suffice rather than that snacking.


 


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Re: What do my eggs eat?
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2015, 07:47:32 AM »

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