America’s egg farmers believe in consumer choice. We work hard to provide you with the highest-quality variety of eggs, no matter what kind of eggs you choose. Following is more information on some of the most common egg production systems.
Most egg farms in the U.S. run more than one production system. Almost all have both conventional and specialty egg production systems operating simultaneously – all committed to providing humane and nurturing environments for their birds.
Depending on your preference, you can spend anywhere from about $1.50 per dozen for conventional eggs, to more than $3.00 per dozen for specialty eggs, which typically cost more to produce.
Eggs laid by hens living in cages with access to feed, water, and security. The cages serve as nesting space as well as for production efficiency. In this type of hen house, the birds are more readily protected from the elements, from disease and from natural and unnatural predators.
Eggs produced by hens that have access to outdoors in accordance with weather, environmental or state laws. In addition to consuming a diet of grains, these hens may forage for wild plants and insects and are sometimes called pasture-fed hens. They are provided floor space, nesting space and perches.
Eggs laid by hens at indoor floor operations, sometimes called free-roaming. The hens may roam in a building, room or open area, usually in a barn or poultry house, and have unlimited access to fresh food and water, while some may also forage for food if they are allowed outdoors. Cage-free systems vary and include barn-raised and free-range hens, both of which have shelter that helps protect against predators. Both types are produced under common handling and care practices, which provide floor space, nest space and perches. Depending on the farm, these housing systems may or may not have an automated egg collection system.
Eggs produced according to national U.S. Department of Agriculture organic standards related to methods, practices and substances used in producing and handling crops, livestock and processed agricultural products. Organic eggs are produced by hens fed rations with ingredients that were grown without most conventional pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or commercial fertilizers.
A production system that contains adequate environmental enrichments to provide perch space, dust bathing or a scratch area(s), and nest space to allow the layers to exhibit inherent behavior. Enriched colony systems are American Humane Certified.
The color of the egg shell has nothing to do with the eggs nutritional value, quality or flavor. Hens with white feathers and white ear lobes lay white eggs hens with red feathers and red ear lobes lay brown eggs.
Pasture Raised Eggs
Laid by hens who roam and forage on a maintained pasture area. The USDA does not recognize a labeling definition for pastured eggs as no standards are established.
Certified Organic Egg
Laid by cage-free or free-range hens raised on certified organic feed and have access to the outdoors. The feed is grown without most synthetic pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or fertilizers and of the agricultural ingredients must be certified organic.
Eggs heated to a temperature just below the coagulation point to destroy pathogens.
Omega-3 Enriched Eggs
Laid by hens fed a special diet rich in omega-3s. These eggs provide more omega fatty acids, from 100 mg to over 600 mg per egg.
Laid by hens fed a vegetarian diet.
Take a look at an egg processing plant
See how shell eggs become egg products
Learn about Biosecurity measures here
Aprende sobre las medidas de bioseguridad aquí.