Unscrambling the Egg Aisle

  • Free Range Eggs from the happy egg co.

    Free Range Eggs from the happy egg co.

    Lets just say the hens have found their happy place. At our farms, we let hens be hens.

    Our farms each have 8 acres of green pasture for our girls to run, jump, flap and play outdoors everyday. Leafy trees and wooden play structures provide outdoor shade and a place for the hens to perch as well as dust-bathe in the sand pits. They sleep in their barn, but every morning the doors are opened and it's off to the races.

    Our barn doors aren't piddly little affairs either. The entire side of the barn is lined with 6 foot openings called 'pop holes'. This means our girls can pop in and out at will. Plus, our hens are given the happy egg standard of space - 21.8 square feet per bird. That's equivalent to a playground the size of six football fields.

    We are American Humane Certified

    american-humane-certified-logo

    The happy egg co. is the first free range egg producer to be certified by the American Humane Association. In order to qualify, the happy egg co. had to meet the program's rigorous standards, which include providing each hen with access to 21.8 square feet of outdoor space during the daytime, and access to sheltered areas at nighttime and during inclement weather, as well as nearly 200 additional science-based standards. The happy egg co. hens are free to roam outdoors on pasture daily, as well as flap, perch, forage and dust-bathe, which is natural hen behavior. This certification demonstrates the American Humane Association and the happy egg co. share the belief that these standards do more to support hen welfare and are appropriate to claim true free range production.

    (click each one to find out more)

    Other types of eggs

    Free Range

    Free Range

    In this set-up, the hens have access to the outdoors.

    Which sounds great. But all too often, that "access" is in the form of a teeny little door inside a crowded barn that few hens will actually use. And when they do, there's no guarantee that they'll have pasture outside. A concrete slab still counts as "outdoor access." But still, it's an improvement over cage-free and the very-not-nice battery cages. Unfortunately, over 40% of Americans incorrectly associate "cage-free" with the free range category.

    Cage-free

    Cage-free

    Here's where things get tricky.

    Cage-free means just that: the hens aren't kept in wire cages. This doesn't mean they go outside. In fact, they live their whole lives inside of a building. Sure, it's a heck of a lot better than a battery-cage system, but it's not the cheerful, pastoral scene that you see printed on cage-free cartons. And that really ruffles our feathers. Over 170 million Americans don't know what the term "cage-free" indicates, further adding to the confusion.

    Caged

    Caged

    aka: Battery or Enriched Cages, Conventional, Factory Farmed

    If the carton doesn't say otherwise, this is what you're buying. Caged hens get around 8.5" by 8.5" of space per hen - for a bird with a 30" wingspan. That's smaller than a piece of letter-sized paper! Conventional "battery" or "barren" cages, as they're called, have been banned in the European Union, which we wholly endorse, since the hens can't engage in any natural behaviors. Imagine being trapped in a crowded elevator just for a few minutes. Now imagine staying there your whole life. Simply put, it's pretty bleak.

  • Hendependence website

    Hendependence is allowing hens to enjoy the freedom of outdoors every day, spending their days under the sun, frolicking through acres of open space, socializing and just doing what hens do naturally.
    View the website


    Guide to the Egg Aisle

    Guide to the Egg Aisle
    Play

    The egg aisle can be a very confusing place so we have created this handy little video to help you guide your way through and learn about what all the different descriptions really mean.


    Additional Terms
    (click each one to find out more)

    Organic Organic

    These hens are given organic feed - that is, grown without GMOs or pesticides per the USDA standards. And despite the label's all-natural, wholesome image, most organic hens don't go outside (see "Cage-free," above). Use of the term organic applies exclusively to the feed, and has no bearing on the lifestyle provided to the hens.

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