In the egg section of the grocery store you’ll see egg cartons prominently touting that the chickens laying those eggs had “100 percent vegetarian feed”. That should actually be nothing to crow about. (I had to.)
From The Washington Post:
Chickens on an unsupplemented vegetarian diet typically fall short of an essential protein-based amino acid known as methionine, and without it, they fall ill. Worse, the birds will also turn on each other, pecking at each other in search of nutrients, and these incidents can escalate into a henhouse bloodbath, farmers say.
“They’re really like little raptors – they want meat,” said Blake Alexandre, the owner of a 30,000 chicken operation in far northern California that keeps its birds on pasture. “The idea that they ought to be vegetarians is ridiculous.”
Nature should be our default. It’s in the nature of a chicken, thanks to millions of years of evolution, to roam and forage for food and to be an omnivore, to eat bugs and other small critters. When we take a chicken out of nature and force our notion of a healthy chicken diet on it, it seems obvious that things can go awry, for the chicken and for those eating its eggs.
I eat eggs almost every morning —scrambled, usually, occasionally fried or in omelets and sometimes, when I’m feeling fancy, in a fritata. And then there are deviled eggs which, in my opinion, rue their name and are one of the more heavenly food treats. (Use this delicious and nutritious avacado oil mayo, though, instead of the lousy industrial-oil-laden conventional mayo.)
Eggs are tasty and filling and are potentially a potent source of wholesome nutrition.
It turns out, though, that eggs from chickens that are pastured are a lot better for you as well as offering a better life for the chickens.
Pastured eggs certainly cost more than the factory farmed conventional standard. But I don’t mind paying $6 for a dozen instead of a dollar. At 50 cents per egg, that doesn’t seem unreasonable for a healthier meal for me and a better life for the chicken.