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Sustainable eggs – and how to choose one

by Jenya Rubanova |

Want to learn more about sustainable eggs, how to choose them, different types out there and more? In this article, we got you covered!

My family, including the dogs, eat a lot of eggs. An egg is a whole protein, meaning that it has all 10 amino acids that both you and your dog need. But here’s the question – do we care about where our eggs come from and how the chickens are treated? I think that we should!

how the hens are treated: cage-free, free-range, pasture made and more

sustainable chicken

Where do sustainable eggs come from and what the hell do all the terms mean? When I first started buying cage-free eggs, I admit, I felt good. The image of green, rolling hills and chickens roaming freely without their cages filled my head. Yet, the reality is far off. We are here to decode many of these confusing terms for you!

cage-free

Cage-free literally means that hens do not have cages. They can move freely in the hen house, and get unlimited access to food and water. However, these barns still have limited space, with the USDA regulations stating a minimum of 1. 5 sq feet per hen.

free-range

Free-Range is a step better, with hens getting outdoor access during their production cycle. Yet, the USDA doesn’t actually control how much outdoor access exists – it could be anywhere from a few feet to acres of land. Thus, look for a label that says Certified Humane, which means that hens have a minimum of two square feet of outdoor space per hen.

pasture-raised

While this term is not regulated by the USDA, it is the closest to the rolling green hills that I was imagining in my head. Look for Certified Humane, which regulates that there is 108-square-feet per hen. Vital Farms, one of our favorite egg brands, is accredited as Pasture Raised by Certified Humane.

other terms you might encounter

  • Organic is regulated by the USDA and means that the product has been produced through approved methods and without the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering.
  • Non-GMO eggs come from hens who are fed a diet free from GMOs.
  • Vegetarian Feed means that the hens have been given a feed that doesn’t include animal byproducts. However, with outdoor pasture, hens can eat worms and grubs.
  • Natural generally means nothing and only applies to the processing of eggs and meat.

can dogs eat eggs every day?

Yes, but the amount that you give depends on the size of the dog. Usually, a dog weighing about 20 pounds can have one egg a day. 

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