Know your eggs

In Britain, livestock classed as ‘organic’ is kept to higher welfare standards than other livestock. That includes being kept on ‘free range’. When animals are slaughtered, organic methods are much the same as conventional methods. I might blog about this in more detail, at some point, but today I’m thinking about eggs. I like this summary of how hens (Gallus gallus domesticus are farmed.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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5 Responses to Know your eggs

  1. I always buy organic eggs these days. There were no eggs apart from the caged ones the other week in my local netto, so I got those. The colour and taste of the yolk was so different from the organic ones I usually get that even if I was not buying them for ethical reasons, I would buy organic eggs for the taste difference alone.

  2. argylesock says:

    That’s interesting. You probably know that battery hens’ feed (often? always?) contains dye to make their eggs’ yolks yellower. I don’t know whether it also contains anything to improve the eggs’ flavour, but I expect such an additive to be used if it’s safety-approved and cost-effective. Having said that, I don’t know whether Soil Association standards require organic feed to be without dye.

    Personally, I don’t mind what additives are used. I do mind about the impacts on ecosystems, on the welfare of livestock and consumers, and on farmers’ finances..

  3. I keep nine hens in the pasture behind my house. There are many reasons why I keep chickens, and you and your readers have probably heard all of them. But here is one of my favorite reasons, one that is not so often mentioned.

    It all happens when my 6 year-old daughter and I go for the eggs. We walk out across the yard and up the lane to the pasture, then through the gate and on to the hen house. My daughter is carrying our old-time blue egg basket. Swinging it. She is talking about who knows what, and I listen and agree with everything she says. We open the chicken-house door, she gathers the 4 or 5 eggs, and places them carefully in the basket. Maybe we linger a bit, maybe we don’t. Then it’s back to the house, carefully with the eggs now, her commentary on her life and life generally continuing. The dog always has a part in all this, and sometime the cat. My daughter and I do this in the sun, the rain, the snow, the hot and cold. Sometimes there are no eggs. Sometimes she doesn’t want to go. Sometimes I don’t. But we go. It’s our life. On our small-mountain farm.in New Hampshire, my daughter and me making a life.

    • argylesock says:

      You write so well! This takes me right back to my own childhood, when I’d collect eggs from my neighbours’ henhouse. Later I kept hens myself. Now I’m not well enough to keep any livestock or pets, but I have a good friend who does keep hens and who often slips me a box of eggs.

  4. Daniel Digby says:

    This reminds me of a recent radio parody about organic free-range bourbon.

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