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Pale yolks

(15 Posts)
InAStateOfReflux Fri 20-May-11 18:04:19

Hello ladies! You are obviously pros so the right people to ask...

At my local market they sell local free range eggs that are much cheaper than the supermarket, but I have noticed that the yolks are very pale yellow. I'm sure I read somewhere that the best eggs had very bright orange yolks? Or is this a myth? Of course I'd much rather continue to get these ones than the supermarket ones if possible...

MissBeehiving Sat 21-May-11 11:19:12

Pale yolks are the result of a lack of carotenoids in a chickens diet - doen't mean that they have any less nutritional value but it does mean that they haven't had much access to green stuff.

InAStateOfReflux Sat 21-May-11 13:38:48

Pah! Not very good "free range" eggs then! I know the actual guidelines for free range aren't quite as roaming-around-acres-of-green-fields as we'd like them to be, but is it possible that some free range hens live better than other ones? Would this then indicate that the supermarket ones actually come from slightly more ethically kept hens thus reflecting the higher price?

Also, I used to buy free range organic, but tbh I am as poor as a church mouse and prices have gone up so much that I now just buy free range. What is the difference as far as you know?

LittleB Sun 22-May-11 21:25:15

The organic will just be what food they are fed and any treatments they have. My birds aren't organic as they eat some scraps which aren't organic, but they don't have any chemicals except organic wormer. You could ask about how the chickens are kept at the market, mine always get paler yolks in the winter when there aren't as many greens about, but still a pretty good colour. Are there any farms or householders who sell eggs that you could buy from instead? there are loads of people round me (Somerset) who sell home produced eggs, we sell 12-18 per week which is enough to pay for our chickens feed and keep friends in good eggs!

InAStateOfReflux Sun 22-May-11 21:31:30

I live in Devon, but in a market town, so much easier to buy in town. We used to keep hens when I was much younger, and after that my parents live in a village so would get eggs from private farms etc, but there are no farms within trundling along in the pram distance! TBH I've cracked a few more that had a better colour, so must have just been an anomaly with the few I had initially. Thanks for the info!

nickelbabe Mon 23-May-11 12:02:21

a lot of free range hens have ground that is no longer green - they do destroy it quite quickly.
organic commercial farmers replenish their green space (usually doing that by having a rotation system in their fields), but free-range farmers have no obligation to do so, as long as the hens have plenty of space to roam around.

InAStateOfReflux Mon 23-May-11 16:07:15

Thanks nicklebabe. I remember when we had hens my Dad said they ruined the lawn!

nickelbabe Mon 23-May-11 16:09:36


they do that, that they do!
We started out with a lovely green lawn (and vegetables in their run, cos it used to be the veg patch), and now we have a half yellow "lawn" and no veg in their run - they've only been with us for about 8 weeks!

Punkatheart Tue 24-May-11 12:04:50

But nickel - they will air the lawn with their talons, fertilise it with poo AND pull out the moss and eat the weeds. We have a long piece of fencing that we use to rotate 'em round the lawn, then they go back to their dirt free-ranging - but in the spring our lawn is very lush. They shouldn't be on grass on day - a chicken will eat 40% of its nutrition from grass if left...

nickelbabe Tue 24-May-11 12:18:36

oh, yes, they do indeed!
It'll be better over winter, as you say - when there's not enough daylight for them to be let out on it grin

they don't eat the right weeds, though - we discovered a huge grass weed in our strawberry bed yesterday - like it sprung up overnight! shock
they didn't eat that, but they ate/scratched up the parsely andthe chives.

Punkatheart Tue 24-May-11 12:24:54

Mine won't touch chives - they say it gives them anti-social breath and you never know when a cockerel might come a-calling. (They've got a long wait)

nickelbabe Tue 24-May-11 12:39:15


(i'm just worried about which eggs are going to be chive-tainted - I want to make a cake!)

InAStateOfReflux Tue 24-May-11 14:52:36

That reminds me of when my house rabbit got into the veg rack when I wasn't looking and ate a load of leek tops (not sure they're supposed to), then she licked me (sign of affection) and her breath and saliva smelt like leeks for ages! Yuk!

nickelbabe Tue 24-May-11 14:57:02


all4u Thu 09-Jun-11 17:24:22

We moved from the London area to a hill farm in Wales twenty years ago and have never regretted it! We have had really free-range hens - heavy breeds starting with Rhode Island Reds a la my Ladybird book and now Buff Sussex which are gentler. They roam with their cockerel 'Galahad' and their egg yokes are incredibly yellow because of their truly mixed diet. Hens are omnivores like us and like pigs. We recylcle all our non chicken food waste into a mash which they adore, they have some mixed corn and roam about finding worms, bugs and seeds as their fancy takes them. They are tough old girls full of character and put themselves to bed in the stables so we do not confine them - if a fox came he would nab one and scarper; the others would scatter. Years ago we shut them in but got home late one night and the brave cockerel had been taken as he was guarding the doorway. If Mr fox gets into an area the hens cannot escape from he kills them all - it is our responsibility to protect them not take out our incompetence on the fox when we fail them! The cockerel keeps his hens close by when they are free-ranging but you really shouldn't keep them if you have neighbours as it is about as antisocial as it gets!

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