Know your farmer, get meat and eggs from organically-fed and pastured birds who are able to forage, and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Not only is it a better life for the birds, but superior nutritionally for you as well. Pastured animals have a higher ratio of Omega-3 fats, higher levels of beta carotene and vitamins A & E as well as less cholesterol and saturated fats. The taste is superior as well!
Cage-free hens are able to walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests, vital natural behaviors denied to hens confined in cages. Most cage-free hens live in very large flocks that can consist of many thousands of hens who never go outside. Free-range and Organic standards are not much better. They have to have the “ability” to go outside. Which often means the same housing, but somewhere there will be a dog door and outdoor kennel where a few birds may actually go.
This is where most of your store bought eggs come from. On average, each caged hen is afforded only 67 square inches of cage space-less than a sheet of letter sized paper on which to live her entire life. Because of their close quarters, most are fed antibiotics to keep them healthy.