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What’s the Difference between Pasture Raised and Cage Free or Organic Eggs?

Where most commercial Organic and Cage Free chickens are raised in cramped warehouse conditions, and never go outdoors, Handsome Brook Farm hens actually go outdoors and are encouraged to graze and forage to their heart’s content. Handsome Brook Farm chickens are provided acres of real pasture to forage  – Large doors to the outside encourage foraging – Outdoor shade, protection, and water provided – Protected nests indoors.

Do your eggs contain Hormones or Antibiotics?

No. Handsome Brook Farm Pasture Raised hens, feed, and eggs are hormone and antibiotic free.

What do your chickens eat?

At the beginning of the day, we open our barn doors wide and encourage our hens to move freely between their roomy indoor space and our outdoor pastures.   While outside they can eat grass, bugs, and other natural fare.  In addition, we provide our girls with supplemental feed to help ensure their balanced nutrition.  Below is a video of Handsome Brook Farm hens in pasture.

What is in your chicken feed?

Our feed consists of corn, wheat, oyster shell, trace minerals, and soymeal for protein. All of our organic feed is GMO free. In many cases, our farmers grow their own feed.

Is there soy in your chicken feed?

Yes. A small percentage of the feed is soymeal, which is needed to supply the chickens with adequate protein for laying. We have looked into alternative protein sources, have not yet found a non-animal source that meets our chicken’s nutritional needs. We have consulted with allergists, who have advised us that the soy protein in the soymeal broken down inside the chicken prior to egg laying, and is not found in eggs in sufficient amounts to trigger allergic reactions in most people. Of course, if you have a medical condition regarding soy, it’s essential you consult your physician. To date, we have not received any complaints regarding a soy reaction by any of our customers. In fact, many customers who usually have reactions to eggs (due to gluten intolerance), find that they can eat ours.

Do Pasture Raised Eggs taste or look different than other eggs?

Customers frequently write us telling us that Handsome Brook Farm Pasture Raised Eggs are the best tasting eggs they’ve ever eaten, thus our slogan – “Taste the Difference”.  Our chickens’ naturally healthy diet translates brighter orangey-yellow yolks and thicker whites, and fresh, rich taste. Our customers have also noted superior baking performance, with lighter texture in muffins and cakes.

What is a day in the life of a Handsome Brook Farm Pasture Raised Chicken like?

Our chickens wake up each morning in a nice roomy barn. Just after daylight, we open the BIG barn doors and the hens go outside to forage about, pecking at grass and bugs, socializing with each other, and lying around relaxing in the sun or shade. We provide them with covered areas and fresh water outside. Instinct tells the chickens to return to their barn to lay their eggs and to sleep at night – so when its laying time, they go inside, and when they are done they usually go back outside to play. As it gets dark, the hens go back to the barn on their own (no, we don’t have to “herd” them), we tuck them in by closing the barn doors, and say good night, till morning.

What do you do when the weather is bad?

Even when the weather is bad, we open up the barn doors so any hardy souls can go outside if they wish. But just like people, if the weather is too ugly, the chickens may prefer to stay inside. During the winter we also provide a “winter garden” inside the barn, full of hay for them to peck at and play, sort of an indoor chicken playground.

Nutritional Differences-Happy Chickens, Healthy Eggs

“You are what you eat” certainly applies to eggs. It makes sense. Handsome Brook Farm’s Pasture Raised hens have a naturally healthy diet, foraging outside in the fresh air – and this translates into a more nutritionally dense egg than non-pastured eggs. Studies show that Pasture Raised eggs have lower cholesterol and fat, more Vitamin A, D, and E, higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids, and higher levels of carotene.

Do you have any special certifications?

Yes. Here are a few

  • USDA Certified Organic
  • American Humane Certified