The Egg Experiment: Store-Bought vs. Home-Grown

I could throw facts at you like home-grown eggs have seven times more Beta Carotene, two times more in omega-3 fatty acids and three times more Vitamin E than store-bought eggs.  I could even tell you that home-grown eggs have 1/3 less cholesterol and 1/4 less saturated fat than store-bought eggs.  Would you listen?  What if I told you that by raising your own chickens and eggs you could eliminate added hormones, anti-biotics, preservatives, other medications and pesticides?

Chances are most of you know this, but continue to buy regular store-bought eggs for your family.  Sometimes seeing is believing, right?  Here’s a photo comparison of three different eggs.  One is a white store-bought egg, one is a green home-raised egg, and one is a brown home-raised egg.  In particular, I would like you to look at the difference in the color of the yolks:

Egg Comparison 1

From left to right: Brown Home-Grown Egg, Green Home-Grown Egg and White Store-Bought Egg.

Egg Comparison 2

From left to right: Brown Home-Grown Egg, Green Home-Grown Egg and White Store-Bought Egg.

White Store-Bought Egg

This is a white, store-bought egg. Notice the yellowness of the yolk.

Green Home-Raised Egg

This is a green, home-raised egg. Do you see the differences in the yolks?

Brown Home-Raised Egg

Finally, this is a brown, home-raised egg. It’s a pretty stark contrast in the colors of the yolks when you compare this to a store-bought egg. If the difference to the naked eye is that significant, what do you think the difference is when you take a deeper look at the health benefits?  You decide.

My family has chosen to raise our own chickens for the benefit of having healthier eggs.  Our eggs taste significantly better than store-bought eggs, and I like knowing exactly what is going into our chickens.

For more fun facts on eggs, visit Mother Earth News.

Do you buy or raise home-grown eggs?  Have you noticed a significant difference between these and regular eggs that you buy at the store?

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  1. Unfortunately, we own a house within a HOA and can’t raise our own chickens. We do, however; buy our eggs locally from a farm where you can go pick your own eggs and see that the chickens are free-roaming.

  2. awesome comparison! I’m glad we live out in the middle of no where. We get milk straight from the local dairy (in glass bottles even!) and eggs from the local farms too. Not only is it cheaper because we aren’t wasting gas going to “town” (about 40 mins away to the closest walmart/big store) but they are cheaper too! I’m going to really miss this town when we move lol.

  3. It is so funny you posted this today, because we have had 6 chickens my grandparents gave us a couple of months ago, and we got our first egg yesterday! My grandparents have many chickens and it was in the Mother Earth magazine we found a small chicken coop to build for our small back yard. Our children have so much fun with them, we let them out and they love the bugs in the yard, great pest control.

  4. we started getting our eggs with our csa box. unfortunately there is no difference in color or taste. i have to say, i’m underwhelmed.

  5. Great post! I’ve bought some eggs from my CSA farmer and they are much more orange, for sure. Do you notice a lot more blood spots?

  6. We have raised chickens and gathered our eggs daily for years. A couple of years ago I signed myself and my husband up for a cooking class. (It was great fun). When we cracked the eggs at the cooking school I was about the throw them away, I thought something was wrong with the yolks! LOL

  7. How long does it take to get your first egg? Do you reccommend getting the chicken as a baby or getting chickens that are grown and already producing eggs?

    • It takes about six months before chickens start producing. We went ahead and bought some laying hens for $9 and $15, because I felt it was a better value vs. buying babies and feeding them for six months until they started laying.

  8. We can’t have chickens where we live but we do buy organic eggs and you can tell the difference between even those and regular non organic store bought.

  9. How do you go about finding how to find eggs from a local farmer? I’m just not ready to deal with chickens in the back yard. Unless they’d eat all the leaves back there, lol.

    • Check If you don’t find a farm that way check for a farmer’s market on there. Visit your local farmer’s market and you should make some good contacts and find people that have eggs.

  10. we have 11 hens (cookoo marans) & 1 rooster in our backyard. The eggs are amazing & we wouldn’t eat any other!

    • We have a cuckoo maran hen too and her eggs are so pretty! Huge too!

  11. In Maryland the MOM’s Organic Market stores sell eggs from a local farmer with nutrient-rich-looking orange yolks.

  12. We have 6 hens that are all between 3 & 4 months old. They are lovely little things. We should start getting eggs in the next 2 months or so. I’m so excited. We live in the “county” on 1/3 acre but not in the country…we live in a development with CCC’s, but no HOA. hahaha…they can’t enforce the CCC’s without an HOA, so its pretty lame. Our neighbors have not complained one bit yet. If they do, they’ll receive some fresh eggs soon enough. Our garden and chickens are the best thing EVER. I’m SO looking forward to the yummy eggs from our own backyard. Currently we get farm fresh eggs from a church friend and we will never go back to store bought.

  13. As someone who used to use white store bought eggs exclusively…but have thankfully learned the benefits of free-range eggs in the last few years……the farm or home raised free range eggs taste INCREDIBLE! There is a HUGE visual, taste and nutrient difference in the eggs. Good eggs are not too hard to come by….you just have to be willing to look around a bit. If you are paying more than in the store for them….they still are a very inexpensive source of protein. We eat many, many dozens a week in our large family…and once per week we have a meatless meal with an egg dish being the focus.

  14. cudo’s to supporting local farmers!
    I do know store bought eggs can vary in age from 1 month to 3 months from the producer.
    I think it’s great to be able to know when stuff was harvested.

  15. I had a pair of rhode island reds when i was a kid as pets until the dog next door ate em… i LOVED them … got them as chicks kept them under heat lamps in my closet built my own coop took em out in the yard every day to roam they were so soft and fun to pet… the eggs where so funny in the beginning odd shapes and tiny..LOL then they did get more regular , and my parents LOVED them… i made them pay me for them LOL
    now i do try to buy local or organic, although ive been guilty of feeding hubby some cheapo sale eggs i do buy my baby only the good ones (hehe)
    im still debating on the birds now … id love to have them again ,,, i just hate the idea of cleaning the poopy coop with all that i have to do day to day

    • What do you mean by “odd shapes” (for the “new eggs”)? :)

  16. Wow, the difference is amazing. Unfortunately I can’t do this (also in an HOA area – and even if not, I am afraid to get into this).

  17. When I was a kid, we raised chickens. And you’re right, the taste difference is amazing. I really miss fresh eggs. (I can’t raise them in my tiny backyard, because we have an HOA and live in the city.)

    I looked into getting fresh eggs from a local farm, but the cost was unbelievable. I can get 18 eggs at the grocery store for under $2. One dozen from the farm goes for $7.50! As much as I’d like to, I just can’t make that fit into the budget.

    It can be very frustrating, sometimes, knowing what is best and feeling unable to do it.

    • It’s funny, people won’t take a second thought to a value meal at McDonalds or a 20 oz Coke for $1.20, but when it comes to being natural, healthy, and supporting the people who really deserve our support, everything is always “too high”

      • Amanda, I don’t think that’s a very fair comment. We spend a lot of money on healthy food and almost none on fast food and soft drinks. That doesn’t make $7.50/dozen a reasonable price, or something that will fit into a budget.

        • There are plenty of people in that camp, but a blanket statement is probably a little too much. We need to be good stewards of what we have and, Emily’s right … sometimes it doesn’t matter how healthy, natural, going to the ‘right’ people, etc, some things are too expensive for my family.

  18. Amazing article! Nice mix of statistics & pictures – it really hit home for me! So much so that I shared the link to this article on my blog to be sure all my readers see it as well. Thanks for writing it!

  19. I live in Lawrenceville, but I haven’t found any place where I can get fresh farm eggs. I keep thinking about the idea of having a couple of chickens but whatI wouldn’t like is cleaning the poopy from the coop and also I won’t have anybody to take care of them if we go on vacations.

  20. Have you looked at the eggs of white free-range chickens? Their eggs have lighter yolks, just like the store bought white eggs. Hens that are darker in color just naturally have eggs with darker yolks and vice versa. I agree that free-range chickens and eggs are healthier, they certainly lead happier lives than a commercial chicken, but just comparing the yolks is very unscientific and doesn’t mean one is necessarily healthier for you than the other two based on color.

    • I have to disagree. One of my chickens lay white eggs. Their yolks are still much darker than the store bought eggs.

      • we have hens that lay white eggs and their yolks are very rich in color, it is due to what they eat, the more the hens are able to eat green plant material, bugs which are high in protein or yellow corn the beta carotene concentrates in the yolk making it a rich color

  21. I’m lucky enough to get eggs for free from a chicken-raising friend. I’ve seen the difference in the look of them.

    But where does it say that a darker yolk means it’s healthier? Confused.

    • the color of the yolk is by what the hen eats, the more grass, bugs, scraps the hen eats the darker the yolk will be.
      the hens that eat bugs and grass get omega 3 and when allowed to eat fruits and veggies they get more vitamin E, their eggs are healthier too when they are allowed to run and take dirt baths.

      It all shows in the color of the yolk, the darker or richer the yolk the healthier the hens diet is. :)

  22. My son asked for chickens when he was in 6th grade. I said he could have them if he earned all A’s and B’s. He did! Darn it…we bought 3 chicks that summer and he raised them in his bedroom. He got almost no sleep because they peeped 24/7. We even took them on vacation with us, hiding them in the bathroom of a fancy resort hotel. We thought we’d get ratted out by our neighbor that weekend, but it turned out she had brought her small yappy dog and was worrying about us snitching on her.

    When the chicks got bigger, we had to build them their outdoor pen. None of us are good builders. My husband, who did not want chickens, was coaxed outside to help, but was pretty disgusted with the low grade lumber we had bought. He called me a “goddam hippie hillbilly,” which our neighbor overheard. (At the time, I was mortified, but now it makes me smile every time I remember it. Definitely a low point in our long and happy marriage.) Then the neighbor came over and helped us make the pen. Of course he and his family got some of the first eggs when they were laid 6 months later.

    My son wanted chickens so he could feed them extra calcium and get them to lay eggs with super tough shells. Why? Because his older brother had had to do a projectile project in 8th grade. The students built containers for eggs that teacher shot across the playground in a big sling shot. If your egg didn’t break, you got a good grade. Unfortunately, by the time the younger son got to 8th grade, the teacher had moved on to other projects. He told he what he had been up to all these months and she actually brought the project back into the curriculum (what an awesome teacher). She let him use one of his toughie eggs (didn’t break) and then made him use one of hers (also didn’t break).

    The eggs have noticeably darker yolks, taste better and have better nutrition than store bought, so I’m glad my son talked us into the chickens. The chickens cluck at us whenever we go outside, consent to be petted, and go for rides on his shoulders. All chicken chores are his (cleaning egg boxes, feeding and watering). With a large feeder and water bin, he only needs to do these chores once a week. I do nothing but gather and eat the eggs. (Ok, I admit to buying a fancy coop and paying a real builder to make us a nicer pen after we lost one hen to a raccoon.) We’ve had our girls for 5 years now; the eggs are still great. Neighbors never complain about the clucking, there is no bad odor and the bugs in the garden get eaten. Chicken poop makes good compost. About 25 families at the school where I teach have chickens too, and lots of people in our community have come up to ask me information about getting started. I have done a lot of stupid things in my life, but letting my son raise chickens isn’t one of them. I’m considering getting more when these stop laying.

    I wanted to get bees and grow my own honey to drive my husband really nuts, but then he passed away of cancer. We miss him a lot. I often wonder what choice words he would toss out about a bee growing endeavor, especially since I have recently discovered I’m allergic to bee stings. I think I’d better skip that particular project; maybe I can arrange a swap with a honey grower.

    To the person wondering about red spots in home grown eggs: those eggs are fertilized. That must mean there’s a rooster around. We have no rooster, so there are no red spots–and no chicks. If you do decide to raise chickens, I encourage you to do so. They are very easy to care for–that is, once you’ve got the pen built!

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