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Diet and Chickens


An 86-year-old woman bought eggs from me the other day. Although a longtime farmer, she is down to just one hen now; I’ll be bringing her more in a few days. But with the one hen, she doesn’t get a lot of eggs so she has been buying them from the store. But she tells me they don’t taste any good. So until she has more hens to provide her with more eggs, she’s buying her eggs from me. She gave me her egg cartons from the last eggs she bought. Little wonder they didn’t taste very good!

Label up close

Looking closer at the label we can see that these chickens were fed an all vegetarian diet, no antibiotics! No added animal products! No doubt they were caged up too and only fed a mash that they could barely turn around to get at. Chickens are not meant to be vegetarians. I call them opportunists — they will eat anything that won’t outrun them. Within minutes of reading this carton and chuckling about it, I saw a hen running across the lawn, frog in her beak, chased by a bevvy of her biddy buddies. A few hours later I witnessed a trio of muscovies do the same thing.


Truth is these Land O Lakes chickens are probably fed very well, probably a corn-based diet that keeps them fat and happy and producing. But a chicken needs to run around and do that chicken thing they do so well. Don’t be fooled by labels when you are buying eggs in the store. If you can’t buy them straight from a farmer, look at labels for where the eggs are coming from and try to buy as close to local as you can for the freshest eggs you can. Then you will find eggs from the store that you will really like.

Big egg

This chicken must have eaten a couple frogs to pop out an egg like this! Believe it or not, this is not a double-yolker. I ate it for breakfast today, poached, and it was delicious.

Posted in Poultry.

2 Responses

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  1. Farm fresh eggs are the best – growing up that is all we had. One day we ran out and had to go buy some my mom brought them back and cooked them, they tasted so bad she took them back and told the store they were bad. She got a new dozen and they tasted the same . . . then she realized that the store eggs just taste like that – nothing compares to a fresh egg!

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  2. To be fair, a carton stating the chickens are fed vegetarian feed doesn’t technically mean they never eat insects or even frogs of their own volition. It just means that what’s set out for them is vegetarian feed, and allows the Land O Lakes folks to imply that the chickens ate a purely vegetarian diet (something I’m sure vegetarians want to hear) without ever saying so, and without it having to be true.

    Meantime, people do seem to have a goofy impression that brown eggs are inherently better than white eggs, when actually, commercial brown eggs have been pretty easy to find for years.

    When I had to buy store eggs at one point last year, I was pleased that the Eggland’s Best were pretty tasty. Nothing to rival yours, of course, but better than the average supermarket egg by a good margin.

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