Comparing eggs

I’ve done a comparison before between store-bought and pastured chicken eggs on this blog. But I wanted to show a size comparison and how lovely White Orpington eggs are.



The egg on the left is store-bought large grade A egg. The one on the right is my chicken’s egg. The hens are 18 months old now. Factory chickens are kept till one year of age for laying, then sent to places like Campbell’s for chicken noodle soup meat because their feed conversion ratio is no longer profitable (they lay a few less eggs as they age but eat the same amount). But what a treasure is lost from the more mature hen.

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14 Responses to Comparing eggs

  1. Dan Shaw says:

    After a summer of eating my own home grown eggs I would never go back to store bought eggs. The taste is so much better and they seem to have more substance to the egg. Would you say the time to make chicken noodle soup is after 2 years of laying?

    • Julie Helms says:

      Dan, I keep my chickens forever. Unfortunately they rarely die of old age because we have predator issues. I don’t worry about the whole feed conversion ratios because the bugs and the grass and the kitchen scraps are free. So even supporting an old non-layer through the winter isn’t that big of a deal on a small scale. The cool thing is how big the eggs will get With a chicken a few years old, the eggs will start not fitting in the cartons anymore-way beyond jumbo!

  2. Julie, the difference between any “free range chicken ” eggs and store-bought egg-factory is no less than amazing. The store-bought variety often do not look as good as the one you have shown in your picture. The yolks are often watery and weak, break in the pan immediately and the eggs have little taste.
    Chickens have a natural cycle like everything, they lay eggs for about a year, then “moult” , laying fewer eggs during that period, but if they are kept, will begin a full laying cycle again .
    By the way, Dan, it’s too bad the “soup” people don’t seem to know “the older the chicken, the better the soup”…………for it, like many old sayings, is TRUE. Keep your chickens for four or 5 years, they are quite capable of producing for that period of time, and even longer–and then still making better soup….. “:)

    • Julie Helms says:

      Ray, I can hear it in your “voice”…you need chickens!
      Good eye– you are right, our store bought eggs are not as bad as some. We have a lot of local farms so the eggs are local, though still totally factory-farmed. But they aren’t as old. I read a statistic that the average supermarket egg is 6 weeks old when it hits the shelf. That’s just gross.

  3. Glory Lennon says:

    Wow, who knew such a difference existed? Oh, yes, anyone raising chickens…like my father who always brags about his eggs being superior to anything.

  4. How do your larger – and gorgeous – eggs compare when baking? I wish I didn’t live in a condo…

    • Julie Helms says:

      Jeannie, I am not a baker, but one thing I know you have to account for is the color. If you are trying to make something white it will be yellowish because that yolk is so dark. You should see our deviled eggs at picnics amongst the other deviled eggs. Ours are topped with orange mounds and everyone else’s are pale and sickly looking in comparison!

  5. My husband and I noticed this too when we first kept hens. Amazing to know is that as light as the store bought eggs are those birds are still fed tartrazine yellow to make the yolks dark, imagine how pale they would be otherwise?

  6. Sigh. I only have access to store-bought eggs. I don’t think it’s legal to keep chickens here. Not zoned for it. I guess Amelia would be the closest place.

  7. Kathy Zimmerman says:

    I have heard from several people who have chickens that they don’t really feel they are saving money because of the cost of the feed. They choose to have chickens because of the freshness and health issues. Do you not agree with this? Why wouldn’t other chicken owners just let their chickens graze like you do? Seems that if they did, that it wouldn’t cost them much.

    • Julie Helms says:

      When I was selling eggs I broke even (but I was charging $1.50-$2/doz, not $4-6 like some do). So I considered my hobby paid for. We no longer sell them though. I would guess that while they are actively laying we are a bit ahead on the deal with free eggs and almost no feed cost. But we probably get behind in the winter when we feed and they lay less. I basically consider it a very cheap hobby with some wonderful benefits. I would not want to have to make a living doing it though.
      One problem with free-ranging is that the chicken is in more danger to predators or being hit by a car. You can fence them, but they’ll kill the grass off pretty quickly in a confined area. Some use chicken tractors…it’s a pen that can be wheeled around the pasture, so moving to a new spot every few days. You just have to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of management with your circumstances.

  8. Chickens can be ‘free-ranged’ by having alternative fenced areas ( with common gate area just outside of the coop ) to keep predators out. Put the chickens in one area for a week or three, then switch to the second and even third areas. The birds keep the bug populations down, but also the new green grass and weed sprouts–so alternating gives the “range” a chance to recover and grasses to grow. If weather conditions are dry, watering a “used” range a bit will make the range grow fast–because of the rich chicken droppings. It also helps to have a dump of sand or a low flat sandbox for the chickens to dust-bathe in. ( That helps keep the chickens mite/lice free, and in doing so also helps preserve the “range” from “dusting” activity and excessive scratching.
    By the way, laying eggs is also a “light” issue–if you have enough sunlight and warmth, with big windows in your chicken-house and even minimal light to extend light periods during shorter, darker periods in winter, chickens will continue to lay all year.

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