What is Pasture-Raising?
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Pasture-raised eggs are simply the best eggs that you can find: Laid by hens that get to spend their days outside on fresh pastures – not cooped up in small cages or huddled by the thousands in cage-free barns. The eggs are simply better in every way. They taste better. They look better. They’re better for you. And the hens that lay them live happy, healthy lives as close to natural as is possible for domesticated animals.
With a space allotment of 108sqft per bird on rotated pastures, the grass and bugs that our girls forage for form an essential part of their diet. Any less space than that is simply not enough for this to be true. So while you may see other farms claiming pasture-raising, without the Certified Humane shield, and the measure of space that’s required to carry that shield, it’s not true pasture-raising.
As you’ll hear us say, that’s what’s so great about 108!
You can learn more about pasture-raising, our eggs and our farms elsewhere on this site, and we’re always happy to hear from you with any other questions that you might have, so feel free to drop us a line!
Better for you!
So just why is pasture-raising so much better?
Although our girls, domesticated ladies that they are, have changed in some ways from their ancestral cousins, they’re still voracious and ravenous omnivores given the chance. Which means that they love to roam about and eat just about anything that they can get their beaks on, though they do particularly love seeds, grasses and critters!
They’re certainly not supposed to be confined to small cages and fed the sort of monotonous, and sometimes dubious, mixture they get in factory farms.
So pasture-raising is a way to get chickens back where they belong and with a healthier, more natural diet, the eggs they lay are far superior – it’s just common sense!
By dining on wild grasses and bugs, our ladies are getting a whole lot more vitamins and minerals than they would on a corn-based feed alone. Add in the clear benefits of the outdoor lifestyle our ladies enjoy – cleaner, less stressful, less competitive, plenty of fresh air and sunlight – and it’s obvious why the eggs are so much better.
In 2007 Mother Earth News, a strong advocate of better farming practices, ran the most thorough nutritional comparison of pasture-raised and factory eggs that we know of. And the results are quite something.
In comparison to a conventional egg, pasture-raised eggs contain:
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- 1/4 less saturated fat
- 2/3 more Vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more Vitamin E
- 7 times more beta carotene
In 2008, a follow up study showed that the significant sunlight exposure the hens enjoy translates from the sun to the hens to the eggs in the form of increased levels of Vitamin D – by as much as 4 to 6 times more than conventional eggs!
Other tests have also shown that pasturing yields higher levels of folic acid, and even (in a test that we ran ourselves) measurable levels of Vitamin C, which is a first for eggs! (Must come from all the grass they’re eating!)
So next time you crack open one of our eggs (or the first time, if you are just checking us out to see what all the fuss is about!) you can feel great about at least 2 things: the hens that have laid these eggs are raised in the most humane and caring environment we know, and the eggs that they reward us with are the healthiest for you.
Or more simply: Our happy hens lay the healthiest eggs!
SUNSHINE As long as the sun is out, our girls love roaming their pastures looking for their favorite snacks, breathing in the fresh air.
SHADE Many of our farms have plenty of natural tree cover - our girls love the shade and sense of security that provides
ROTATION While our girls each get 108sqft of pasture in total, for the wellbeing of the land it’s important that we rotate the pastures, sectioning off between a quarter and a sixth at any one time. As soon as the grass starts to wear thin, we move the girls onto a nice fresh patch!
WATER Roaming is thirsty work, so we make sure that there's always fresh water for the girls to drink. And the water fountain is always a good place to catch up on the latest gossip!
CHANGING VEGETATION Over the course of a year, the girls get to enjoy an ever-changing salad buffet. From spring’s lush grasses to winter’s hardier vegetation, there’s always something fresh to dine on.
SEASONS All our farms are in southerly states that stay snow-free for the most part, so our girls get to be outdoors all year round - even when there's a brisk breeze blowing!
ADVENTUROUS Our girls come from a long line of jungle-dwelling fowl, so they just love to root around in the undergrowth. After all, that's often where the choicest bugs can be found!
VARIETY We take as much care of our pastures as we do of the girls, planting different grasses and succulents over the course of the year. That way there’s always some greens on their plates!
SPRING FLOWERS When the meadows are in flower, our girls sit pretty in a field of sunshine 🙂
SECURITY At night, our girls are tucked up safely and securely in comfortable barns, but as soon as they've had their breakfast, we open the barn doors and they're free to go outside whenever they like.
JUNGLE FOWL Our girls are curious and adventurous - just like the Asian Jungle Fowl they're descended from.
FREEDOM to CHOOSE We train our girls from a young age to lay in their nest boxes, so they’ll come and go throughout the day as they need to, but they can be outside as much as they like.
FRESH GRASS Heads down, tails up, in a field full of flowers. This is what happy hens look like!
SOCIALIZING Our girls are a social bunch. They just love to gather round their favorite dust-bathing spot to catch up on the latest barn gossip!
PEACE AND HAPPINESS Every girl needs a little alone time, somewhere cool, shaded and just a little bit dusty. Luckily, with 108sqft each, our girls always have plenty of space to get away from it all!
NATURE’S BUFFET Our girls are natural omnivores, and just love to root around in their plenteous pastures for whatever goodies they can find!
NO CHEMICALS Our pastures are never treated with herbicides or pesticides, so our girls get to enjoy a natural diet free of unnatural additives!
DUST BATHING Our girls love to stay clean and parasite free, so it’s important that we leave some areas around the barn for them to dust-bathe. A flurry of feathers, a cloud of dust and they’re clean and comfortable again!