Q. What’s the difference between Caged, Cage Free, Free Range and Pasture Raised eggs?
A. Caged: under 8 x 10 inches per hen and are caged for life
Cage Free: average 1 square foot per hen and not caged, but are inside a barn for life
Free Range: protective barns with doors to 2+ square feet per hen outside pasture space under open skies (weather permit)
Pasture Raised: protective barns with doors to 108+ square feet per hen year-round outside pasture space under open skies.
We are 100% Free Range and Pasture Raised and committed to continually raising the natural quality of life for our hens.
Q. What do you do with all your male chicks?
A. We source our chicks already hatched (as do all commercial egg companies and most back yard flocks) from certified humane suppliers. Unfortunately at this time, virtually all chick suppliers euthanize male chicks when they hatch. Our vision is to see a time where all hatching chicks are valued. We are committed to influencing our suppliers’ humane practices and with technology advances hatcheries have announced that they will soon have the ability to determine the sex of eggs shortly after they are laid to allow only hens to hatch.
Q. What is an Organic egg?
A. Organic eggs are produced by Free Range chickens that are fed certified organic feed. This means that there have not been any chemicals, herbicides, or pesticides sprayed on the feed that comes from fields where their grain is produced. The eggs are certified organic by Quality Certification Services (QCS).
Q. What do you feed your hens?
A. A nutritious diet of natural grains (corn, soybean, wheat), enzymes and calcium free from hormones, antibiotics, GMOs and animal by-products. We do also have a soy-free line of eggs available for those with dietary restrictions.
Q. Where are your eggs produced?
A. Egg Innovations eggs are produced on local family farms in WI, IN, IL, KY, and OH. We are committed to supporting small farms and next generation farmers by providing farm partners with some of the industries longest contracts and best financial returns.
Q. Your cartons look different, what are they made of?
A. Our new Blue Sky Family Farms Hybrid cartons are 100% biodegradable and recyclable. Fiber trays are made of 100% recycled, post-consumer newsprint. Water based soy inks are used in printing. The Hybrid carton is wider, longer and higher than standard cartons. This allows more space between eggs and lowered breakage. Compression testing shows cartons withstanding over 130 pounds before any eggs breaking.
Q. How do you read the dates on the side of the carton?
A. There are two numbers on the side of the carton. The first one is a Julian date. This is a number between 1 and 365 based on the day of the year the eggs were packed. (ie. 365 is December 31st). The second number is the sell by date expressed as a month/day. This is typically 30 days later than the Julian date, but can range anywhere between 21-45 days following the package date.
Q. For what length of time can the eggs be used after the expiration date?
A. American Egg Board best practices suggest throwing eggs away after the expiration date.
Q. What is the brown spot I sometimes see when cracking open your egg?
A. In brown eggs, it is not uncommon to find a pigmentation spot. When the hens’ internal pigmentation gland puts the brown cover on the white egg (yes, they all start white), small bits of pigment will float into the oviduct upward to where the next egg is being formed. If this egg does not have a shell around it yet, these specs of pigment will come to rest on the yolk or white of the egg. There is no safety risk and you may remove this with the tip of a knife or simply leave it in if you are baking. It will dissipate
Q. What makes an egg brown?
A. The shell color of an egg is determined by the breed of chicken laying it. Typically brown hens lay brown eggs or you can look at the ear lobe color. Contrary to popular belief, there is no nutritional difference between a brown egg and a white egg.
Q. How can you get an egg to peel?
A. A really fresh egg is very difficult to peel, it needs to be aged. If you have a really fresh egg, set it on the counter overnight before you hard-boil it (this is safe as long as you thoroughly cook). Put the eggs in cold water, then bring to a slow boil for approximately 10 minutes. Immediately cool under cold water.
Q. What is the thick, white lump that I find in my eggs?
A. This is called the chalazae (pronounced “sha lay za”). It is ropey strands of egg white that anchor the yolk in place in the center of the thick white. They are neither imperfections nor beginning embryos. The more prominent the chalazae is, the fresher the egg. Chalazas do not interfere with the cooking or beating of the white and need not be removed although some cooks like to strain them out.
Q. Can I come visit a farm?
A. Due to biosecurity reasons, we do not allow any public visits of our farms. However please see our YouTube page for videos of all our facilities.
Ethical Eggs for the Humane Race
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