8 out of 10 Kiwis surveyed in 2019 said that they care about buying free-range eggs, but most wouldn’t be able to tell you what free range actually means.
There is a surprisingly low bar in New Zealand for what constitutes free-range, which makes it tricky to know if the eggs you’re buying are coming from happy chickens. Luckily for you, we’ve got a few tricks on how to tell the difference and why it matters.
Does Free Range Matter?
NZ free range eggs come from hens who have a more natural lifestyle, compared to their caged counterparts. They get to forage and roam freely outside. Caged chickens live their entire lives inside, unable to stretch their wings and socialise.
Because free-range hens live a more fulfilling life and eat a more varied diet than caged hens, their eggs just taste better. This isn’t an urban legend – you can actually taste the freedom in the egg.
There are many reasons for this, but the extra vitamins and nutrients from the insects and worms that they eat is a huge factor. As unappetising as this can sound, they are a crucial part of a chicken’s diet and help keep them healthy and happy.
Keep it local
Chances are that the farmer near you who only supplies to a few stores will have a commitment to their chickens.
Small scale farmers often have the time to properly look after their hens, giving them the care and attention that they deserve. Try to find eggs from a local free-range farm at your supermarket.
Find a farm you can trust
If you can’t keep it local, the easiest way to ensure your eggs are truly free-range is to find a farm that you trust. One way that you can get an idea of which farms treat their chooks well and those that don’t is by visiting their websites.
Most multi-farm companies will have a tab on their website about each of their farms. These show what environments their hens are live in, giving you a better idea on what sort of farmers they are. Better chooks lay better eggs for you to enjoy, so it pays to do your research!
Use Trace My Egg
Trace My Egg is an initiative by the Egg Producers Federation of New Zealand that lets you see where your eggs are from. Every egg in the program has a code stamped onto it representing the farm that they’re from. All participating farms are audited annually by a third party to ensure that they are following all the rules.
If you’re interested in learning more about where your eggs come from, you can find more information at https://tracemyegg.co.nz/. While you’re there, test out our code FR538 to see how our South Waikato chicks enjoy their forested farm.
If you’d like to learn even more about how we raise our chickens to lay eggs-ellent eggs, you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or find us at select supermarkets throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty.