There’s nothing better than a delicious, perfectly cooked egg. Whether you like your eggs fried, scrambled, poached, or boiled, a better egg always makes a better breakfast. Are the eggs you’re eating from healthy chickens, or have you been unknowingly eating unhealthy eggs your whole life?
What Makes a Healthy Chicken?
First, it’s important to determine what a healthy chicken really is. A healthy chicken has access to a variety of foods and eats whatever it needs. This includes meat; chickens aren’t meant to be vegetarian. Chickens love bugs, snakes, rodents, whatever they can find and slow down long enough to eat!
The nutrients enjoyed by a well-fed chicken are passed on to their eggs. To get these nutrients, a chicken must have access to free space to move and fresh air. A chicken locked in a tiny hatch for its entire life simply will not have the same quality of eggs as free-range chickens.
Characteristics of a Good Egg
How can you tell what a good egg looks like? When you’re deciding whether to buy from a local farm or keep looking, check out these characteristics:
- Shell thickness and density: If you barely tap an egg and it cracks, keep on moving. The richer a chicken’s diet and the greater its overall health, the stronger the shells of its eggs. An egg should be fairly difficult to crack if it’s really healthy.
- Yolk color: Most Americans are accustomed to eggs with bright or light yellow yolks. This actually isn’t the ideal color for an egg yolk. Chicken egg yolks should be orange—the deeper the color, the better. Check out a few different eggs to compare colors and ensure that your supplier offers across-the-board good eggs.
- Yolk thickness: You should also look at the thickness of the egg yolk when determining the quality of an egg. Yolks from healthy chickens tend to be thicker and rounder. This means better taste and more nutrients.
Research backs up the importance of good nutrition in chickens. A report from the Oxford Journal notes that increasing a chicken’s intake of beta carotene increases the amount of beta carotene that is in its eggs. The Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry claims that increasing DHA levels in a chicken’s diet affected the omega-3 fatty acids found in its eggs.
Where to Find the Best Eggs
Great, you might think—I know what a good chicken egg looks like, but where do I find them? With the growth of the agricultural industry and the increase in homesteading, you may have plenty of options for eggs.
If you have space for a few chickens, you may well be able to raise your own chickens and get more than enough eggs for your family. They can eat the scraps from your garden, keep your bug population down, and give you the most delicious eggs you’ve ever had.
You can also contact local farms and ask about their chicken raising habits. If they let their hens roam freely and don’t force them to follow a vegetarian diet, it may be worth giving their eggs a try.
Give orange-yolked eggs a try. I guarantee that you won’t want to go back once you taste the difference.