5 Reasons to Choose Mobile Pasture Eggs
SPONSORED — Scramble it, fry it, throw it in cake batter or use it to top a burger. There’s no question eggs are one of the world’s most versatile, delicious and nutritious foods. If you want to feed your family the most nutritious and humanely raised eggs available, it’s important to make sure you see “mobile pasture” on the label. Here’s why.
It’s a step above
The tradition of producing eggs in a strictly caged environment might be cost-effective for mass egg producers, but it’s not good for chickens (or the eggs they produce). Next time you’re buying eggs, take a good look at the label.
A “caged” hen is confined to a battery cage, offering each chicken a space about the size of a piece of paper. Slightly better are the “cage-free” hens, which are raised in a barn with room for walking and performing some natural behaviors. A “free-range” chicken is offered outdoor access, generally through “pop-hole” doors, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not require a certain time allotment or frequency of outdoor activity for this label. “Pasture” chickens, on the other hand, can forage in a natural environment, enjoying bugs, grasses and other natural food sources. “Mobile Pasture” hens houses are moved to fresh pasture every 4-7 days. These chickens demonstrate natural behaviors in their pastured environment, enjoying the protection of a barn for sleeping yet having fresh grass and protein to eat. Choosing pastured eggs is the surest way to get the highest quality on the market.
If you thought an egg was an egg was an egg, you might want to talk to the chicken that laid it. That’s because eggs laid by hens allowed to roam free getting exercise and enjoy fresh pastures rich with natural food sources are healthier, plain and simple. According to Healthline, pastured eggs are richer in vitamins A and E as well as omega-3 fatty acids and lower in cholesterol and saturated fat than their commercially raised counterparts.
It’s an investment in quality
For large egg farms, thinking beyond the cage is a big step — a big, expensive step. But for those that have adopted the practice of pasturing chickens, the end certainly justifies the means. Take Wilcox Family Farms, for example. Once a 100-acre plot on the edge of Harts Lake Valley, the farm — which has operated since 1909 — is now a 1,700-acre organic farm. In 2005, Wilcox committed to go “cage-free,” and it has since become both a free-range and certified organic egg producer. Andy Wilcox, director of operations at Wilcox Family Farms, estimates the company has invested $40 million in these endeavors. Why? Simply put, they produce a “good egg.”
The investment in mobile barns is sizable. The best way for hens to naturally move to new organic pasture is to move their house, says Wilcox. “It’s quite a site watching a 200’ long building being pulled to fresh ground and seeing the hens follow along. The first mobile barn housed 2,000 hens on nine acres, providing 216 square feet of open space for each bird. Now Wilcox has 15 mobile hen houses with more being built.
You might not think “cutting-edge technology” when you see a big red barn moving, but that’s exactly what Wilcox’s mobile henhouses are. Equipped with solar panels for power and huge doors that allow chickens to enter and exit as they like, the henhouses are a new and exciting development in the world of pastured egg farming. At the heart of the barns is the principle of rotational grazing, which allows chickens to explore new soil — with all its grass and bugs — on a regular basis. Even with free range, chickens tend to roam only about 100 yards, effectively robbing the ground directly around the coop from nutritional goodness. By moving the coops regularly, chickens are constantly exploring new, uncharted grounds. See the henhouses move by visiting WilcoxFarms.com.
It’s just kinder
It’s the first thing you’re taught in kindergarten: It’s important to be kind. And not just to humankind — animals need compassion too. Consider this: Spending all day inside can cause or exacerbate anxiety and insomnia in humans, even affecting the circadian clock, which regulates appetite, sleep schedule, mood and energy levels, according to Time. Now imagine your life as a chicken. Being “cooped” up (pun intended) likely takes its toll, although the exact effects of a captive life aren’t completely understood. Choosing pastured eggs is a good way to show some kindness — to your feathered friends.
Next time you grab an egg — or a dozen — opt for Wilcox Farms Mobile Pasture Raised eggs.