For those who are familiar with the Eggzi brand, you’ll know we’re serious about our eggs. But what many people don’t know is our dedication to partnering with families that employ the best free range egg farm practices and conditions for hens that can be found in regional Australia. When we encourage our partners and suppliers to Egg Responsibly, we don’t just mean pasteurising eggs. Egging Responsibly encompasses a much wider and richer range of values that aligns our business with the suppliers we have carefully selected to work with. We’ve taken time to select passionate and committed egg farmers across regional Australia that share our commitment to hen welfare and excellent living conditions for our hens.
Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. Not only is it ethical to produce the best possible growing conditions for our hens, it benefits our customers, too. It is our belief that happy and satisfied hens produce the tastiest eggs. So what is the difference between free range eggs and other eggs that are found on supermarket shelves? And where can you find the best free range eggs Australia has to offer? Keep reading to find out!
The Difference Between Free Range Farm Eggs vs Other Eggs
In Australia, eggs are one of the most common grocery essentials for that form a regular part of the grocery list. Economical, nutritious and delicious, there’s not much that isn’t loved by Australians about eggs. In fact, research findings of Australian Eggs states that Australians consume more than 15 million eggs annually. As such, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to egg selection. On our supermarket shelves. In Australia, we have regular access to a selection of five main types of eggs:
- Cage Eggs
- Cage-Free Eggs
- Free-Range Eggs
- Organic Eggs
- Pasture-Raised Eggs
As a committed business operating in the egg industry, we feel a responsibility to outline the differences in eggs that can be found on supermarket shelves across Australia. So, what is the difference between cage eggs, cage-free eggs, free-range eggs, organic eggs and pasture-raised eggs? The next section of this article will define each type of egg and outline the benefits and limitations of each variety.
Free Range Farm Eggs VS Cage Eggs
Cage eggs are exactly what the name indicates – hens that are raised in cages. Typically, cage egg farmers keep hens in a battery cage which is shared with three to eight other hens. Although cage eggs are likely to produce the cheapest eggs available, we do not recommend supporting this industry by purchasing the eggs. Observational research indicates that cage-raised hens appear to be less happy and comfortable as other hens as they cannot engage in natural behaviours such as foraging and walking. Additionally, cage raised hens may be subjected to unethical practices such as beak and claw clipping which are necessary in such cramped living conditions. Despite differences in the quality of cages, cage-raised hens do not have access to outside space and often live in cramped conditions. Common sense will indicate that being raised in a cage can’t be beneficial to the well-being of any creature.
Free Range Farm Eggs VS Cage-Free Eggs
Cage free hens are typically housed in indoor barn or chicken coop environments and may not have access to outdoor areas. In fact, some hens may never be exposed to natural daylight. Some guidelines outline that cage free hens should have a maximum density of 9 hens per usable square meter and one nest for every seven hens. Cage-free environments can vary greatly and differ in welfare practices as the cage-free environment is not clearly or universally defined. However, hens are more likely to demonstrate natural behaviours in these environments such as roosting and nesting.
Free Range Farm Eggs
Free range farm hens share a maximum outdoor stocking density of 10,000 hens per hectare. The difference between free range farm eggs and cage or cage-free eggs is that the hens have more freedom to roam, access to outdoor areas for at least eight hours each day. As a result of obtaining meaningful access to natural daylight and freedom to roam outdoors, free range farm eggs are better quality as the hens have access to a varied diet. Free range egg farm hens tend to show signs of comfort and happiness as they can engage in natural behaviours such as dust bathing, nesting and perching.
Free Range Farm Eggs VS Organic Eggs
Hens that produce organic eggs are similar to free range egg farm hens in that they have access to high welfare standards. The high welfare standards free range eggs and include regular and meaningful access to the outdoors. However, hens that lay eggs that are organic are only organic feed which contains no animal by-products. As such, organic eggs are laid by hens that have a superior quality diet to most other hens and therefore are more likely to lay high quality eggs with unique flavour profiles.
Free Range Egg Farm VS Pasture-Raised Eggs
Lastly, pasture-raised hens are arguably some of the happiest hens in the world as they experience a high level of animal welfare. Pasture-raised means that hens have access to outdoor spaces with ample vegetation to pasture. Their diets are largely made of grass, insects and are often supplemented with grain feed. Pasture-raised hens are similar to free range egg farm hens; however they have a specific set of criteria that deems them pasture-raised. The criteria to be classified pasture-raised includes access to 1.8 square foot of indoor space and 4 square foot of outdoor space per hen, uninterrupted access to the outdoors, and access to nesting and perching boxes.
The Verdict: The Best Free Range Eggs Australia
If you’re looking for the best free range eggs Australia has to offer, you’ve come to the right place. We stock some of the highest quality eggs that are available in Australia from some of our finest regional producers. We’re obsessed with eggs and the nuances between the flavour profile of eggs depending on where they are sourced from. That’s why we also stock a variety of eggs from different producers to ensure we’re providing our customers with a suitable variety of eggs. Finding the best free range egg farm eggs Australia has to offer will depend on what you’re searching for in your egg.
Our Free Range Egg Partners
The Hunter Valley free range eggs are supplied from the Moncreif family are farmed across lush pasture. The chickens are housed in four insulated barns for protection and have access to 150 magnificent hectares from 10am to the sunset in the evening. Hens are free to roam and have ample space across different paddocks at 950 hens per hectare. These eggs are rich in flavour with a deep coloured yolk.
Our Organic Egg Partners
The hens that lay the Hunter Valley Ranges Organic eggs are fed a special certified organic grain mix and are free to roam upon pesticide free pastures. The Caccomo family pioneered organic farming in the early 200s and are now a leading choice of certified organic eggs across New South Wales. The russet red Hy-Line Brown chickens are raised with 1000 hens per hectare across a 40 hectare farm in the Wollemi National Park.
Our Pasture-Raised Egg Partners
The Fryar family of Kangaroo Island raise pasture-fed Hyline Brown Chickens across 2000 hectares at 190 hens per hectare. The Fryar’s keep their pasture-feeding methods sustainable by maintaining purpose-build mobile sheds which are designed to move with the hens as they pasture and allows pastured areas to re-grow. The high quality diet of constant access to pasture supplemented with a grain mix results in premium eggs with a rich and wholesome flavour.
Chickens also love the lush pastures of the Sadler family farm situated in Riverina. These chickens are pastured day and night on a former turf farm at 1500 hens per hectare. With rich soil, lush grasses, access to fresh water and plenty of space to roam freely, the hens are as happy as can be. The White Leghorn chickens which produce the less commonly found all white eggs. The flavour profile of these eggs is deep and earthy, which the family attribute to the hens’ freedom to graze on pasture and a special seed mix.
Secure the Best Free Range Eggs Australia
Now that we have outlined the differences between cage eggs, cage-free eggs, free-range eggs, organic eggs and pasture-raised eggs, we hope that you are equipped with all the information required to make an informed, educated decision about the types of eggs you purchase at the supermarket. As for us, we’ve searched far and wide for some of the finest free range egg farm conditions in regional Australia and believe that we have found some of regional Australia’s finest. Discover more about free range egg farming in Australia at Eggzi, and remember, always #EggResponsibly.