All my life I have been eating conventional eggs that were pale yellow. I don't know when this changed, but I noticed this year that certain brands of conventional eggs that I buy are deep orange-red. Are these eggs pastured, or are the chickens fed something to add colour to the egg like that? For you Canadians reading, you might be familiar with "Selection" brand and "Everyday Market" eggs. These two I can always rely on now to be this deep colour. However, one day my mom bought eggs from Walmart(because they were really cheap) and the brand was "Great value" which is Walmart's store brand, and they were so pale, and tasted "watered down". What do you guys make of this? Is it possible that pastured/"semi-pastured" eggs are being sold for conventional egg prices?
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Check out Joel Salatin on this on You Tube. The orange yolk comes from eating green grass which greatly increases the Omega 3 in your eggs and also gives the darker color. That is why some chickens that are supposedly pastured but are really only on a dry dirt lot have just as pale eggs as caged layers. You can put Flax seed in the feed to raise the Omega 3 but I don't know that that will change the color much.So yes the darker colored eggs are likely to be healthier and from healthier hens.
There are lots of ways to doctor feed to make the yolks look a deeper yellow/orange. Could be a ploy to get customers to buy more eggs because of the publicity behind farm fresh eggs over the past couple of years.
When you look on Google Scholar you find lots and lots of studies on how feed influences yolk color.
So I don't think you can say that dark yellow means that there are more nutrients.
On the other hand from personal experience all the cheap battery supermarket eggs are pale yellow and therefore that could be seen as an indication of using inferior feed. Perhaps more nutritious feeds used in the industry also happen to have substances that darken the yolk.
I live in Atlantic Canada and yes you can buy pastured eggs at superstore in the natural food section. They are full of flavor and the yokes are more yellow than the supposed free range eggs from my local farmers market or the eggs from the farm next door (they keep their chickens indoors). I have heard that you only need about 10 feet of "dirt" for your chickens to move around on in order to qualify for "free range").
I live in Toronto and I found these: Small Flocks' Delight ("brown eggs from hens on green grass") by Hope-Eco Farms. http://www.choosecagefree.ca/news/hope_eco_farm.html They sell them at a few places including Big Carrot on the Danforth. Bright orange-yellow yolks and very tasty.
But good to know there are other eggs around that measure up.
I think it's more about the feed. For some reason, all the organic eggs I've bought hve paler yolks than the free range. If it had to do with just letting them roam, they should be more the same colour, but I'm sure the free range have more supplied feed.
I'm in Canada, too. I stick with the free range, because I like the richer colour.
I saw on the Farm channel a show about raising poultry. One segment compared how the yolks of eggs looked more orange and darker on the brand of chicken feed they were promoting. They said it made the yolk more nutient dense. I don't think pasturizing is the reason. Pastured foods are heat treated and that would cook the egg. I am sure it deals with the chicken's diet.