What’s in a Free Range Egg?

Battery farmed eggs are eggs produced by chickens kept in ‘battery cages’. These are cages that confine the chicken to a tiny space which allows very little movement, they generally do not even allow space for the bird to turn. Considering that chickens, generally thought of as ‘bird-brains’, have been proven to be intelligent creatures, capable of grasping complex mental concepts including ‘cause and effect’ an advanced comprehension skill that puts their intellect beyond that of dogs. For example, chickens are able to understand that objects still exist even after they are hidden or removed from view. This level of cognition is actually beyond the capacity of small human children. This makes for the obvious conclusion, that these farms are extremely cruel, and should definitely not be supported; but how much better are ‘free range’ eggs, in terms of nutrition and anti animal cruelty status? What does the term ‘free range’ really indicate?

what's in a free range egg?


Recently while attending a workshop on the new labelling laws of South Africa I had a bit of a shock, my perception had always been too confuse ‘free range’ with ‘organic’. Surprisingly they are not one and the same thing. Free range does not indicate that the birds have not been fed GM food or injected with hormones. ‘Free range’  simply implies that the eggs were produced by chickens kept in an ‘open enclosure’ either a farmyard, a shed or a coop with access to the ‘outdoors’. As it turns out that often these enclosures will be packed to capacity though and have few exit points, which due to the capacity of the enclosures are hardly used by the birds. It’s simply an indication of the producers ethics. So, if you are buying ‘free range’, perhaps do some research on where the birds eggs you are buying, are kept and more specifically, how they are kept. The onus is on us as the consumer to do this, although those that are truly ‘free range’ are more likely too, and should advertise this fact.

In our next two articles we’ll be discussing the meaning of the term ‘organic’, ‘grain fed’ and ‘grass fed’  and For more great articles and tips, please subscribe to receive our latest articles or join our new Facebook group. Got a childcare related question? Drop us a line at sitters (@) sitters4u.co.za or visit our website: www.sitters4u.co.za


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