Pasture raised eggs come from hens that are raised on actual pasture – not confined in barns or cages. Hens have access to hills, woodlands and plenty of shade and water. Hens are American Humane certified if they have 108.9 or more square feet of pasture each. That’s a lot of space – 54x more space than most “free range” hens enjoy. It means they get to roam, forage and flap like real chickens which makes for a happy, stress-free hen – and that makes for a better egg.
A hen’s improved life not only benefits her – it benefits us too. It only makes sense. Treating animals well allows them to produce better products for us, whether that product is eggs or milk or even bacon. In our case, this means rich, creamy egg yolks with an orange hue and firm egg whites. It’s a difference you can taste.
Pasture raised eggs also mean better egg nutrition. In a study by Penn State University and in an earlier study by Mother Earth News, pasture raised eggs demonstrated higher levels of Omega 3s, Vitamin A and Vitamin E than conventional eggs. Omega 3s support heart health, while Vitamins A and E support brain and eye functions, respectively. It turns out that pasture raised eggs are not just better tasting, they’re better for you too.
Hens weren’t meant to live 350,000 to a “cage-free” barn with a small pop-hole. Even “free range”- which often requires only an average of 2 square feet of space – is not enough for a decent sized flock to roam. Hens need room to behave like chickens in a non-competitive environment and have room to forage for vegetation and bugs.
Ample pasture allows hens to forage a much larger piece of land. It is critical that hens can wander away from the barn to reach fresh, frequently-rotated pasture land where they can find the vegetation and insect life they love. When the chickens don’t have enough space to roam, the land around the barn gets worn down and loses its vegetation and insect life. Handsome Brook Farmers frequently rotate their pastures to promote sustainable vegetation and agricultural best practices.
At Handsome Brook Farm, our hens have access to shade, shelter and water to keep them safe and healthy. The extra space for our certified pasture raised hens allows them to lead a much more pleasant, normal, stress-free and happy life doing chicken stuff. You know, eating bugs.
At Handsome Brook Farm, we ensure that our hens have ample roosting space, access to supplemental feed, clean air and fresh water. Why? Because sometimes hens feel like hanging out at home (don’t you?). We want that home to be as comfortable as possible. Our small family farmers walk the barns multiple times a day to make sure our hens are getting out, getting healthcare, and growing and maturing appropriately. It is part of our commitment to an overall better lifestyle, in the barn and out.
There you have it: taking better care of our hens allows them to take better care of us.
Check out our next post for more info on organic eggs!
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