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Mar 15, 2013 11:12 AM

My Quest for Fresh Eggs

Having moved from GTA to 1 hectare property west of London, I decided I could raise a few back yard chickens. I got nine chicks last summer, lost one to a predator, watched them grow, and started to get eggs late last fall.

They provided (daily) beautiful fresh orange-yolk eggs with good shells. The birds were outside on the grounds every day until a cold snap in January. I was puzzled by the lack of change in the fresh yolks and firm whites from the winter eggs. I called the feed company, and they quickly confirmed that they do not use orange additives such as carotene, but the color and flavor
are due to corn as the major ingredient.

I believe you can find eggs with orange colored egg yolks from the major Ontario producers, Gray and Burnbrae. I know I have purchased them from Highland Farms, and they were not Omega 3, but something labelled 'naturally fed'.
They should be available in many stores. Many of them will come from humane small operations, but this is difficult to say, and we need to keep pressure on Gray and Burnbrae to watch their suppliers.

To get a good batch, they have to be very fresh, perhaps less than 7 days from the nest. You can tell if there are three distinct layers when you break them into a pan.

I'll come back to this this thread in a month or so after my hens go out on grass. They will still get Shur-Gain corn based feed, but the yolks may change a bit.

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  1. Hey jayt90, so wait, are we looking for orange-coloured yolks or not?

    Or we are looking for yolks that change in colour with the seasons?

    1 Reply
    1. re: mnajji

      I am saying that orange-colored yolks are available in many stores now, and will stay that way all year because the main feed ingredient is corn. If you find eggs that are fed corn-based Ontario grains, non caged, and sold within a week of laying (packing and delivering will take two to four days), then you are getting a humane product that tastes good, is healthy, and low cost. If the chickens can get out on grass in the early spring, the yolks may be slightly darker and richer, but this is unrealistic for most buyers and sellers. And, the few that go out on grass still have access to grain based feed, as grass, seeds and bugs will not sustain them.
      Burnbrae's Nestlaid seems to fit the profile,

      The chief competitor, Gray Ridge, is not as forthcoming on their site ( ) with less information about feeding or barn conditions.

    2. Hi jayt90. Could you expand a bit on the 3 distinct layers. I have never heard the term before and would like to know more about it.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Herne

        The eggs should appear very plump in the pan or in water. There is a base layer on the bottom, with a layer of white, and the yolk on top.This photo shows a plumpness, 2 days old, from a free range corn fed bird.

        1. re: jayt90

          Wow, I want to bite into that...

        2. So does anybody know which stores in downtown Toronto carry these Burnbrae Farm eggs?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ER2

            I saw the Burnbrae eggs on Saturday at the Loblaw Great Food at Yonge St and Yonge Blvd (south of York Mills), so I'd guess that the main Loblaws downtown would have them.

          2. Sorry no answer for you but I too would love to find such eggs. Not sure if anyone saw DDD on Friday but GF was @ Hey Meatball and they had the deepest orange yolked eggs I'd ever seen. Even GF was stunned and questioned their origin.

            1. I ask for lettuce and other green trimmings from my local supermarket to feed the gang. They love a bit of green in the dead of winter - which it still is for some stupid reason. Also give them all - and I mean all - kitchen scraps. The only thing I won't feed them is chicken.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Nyleve

                When I was a child, my mother lived on a farm (where I spent a fair bit of time). She had a deal with the fellow in charge of the produce at the Loblaws in town to pick up their discarded stuff. Yeah, there were some rotten bits here and there, but mostly we got huge quantities of lettuce leaves and other veggies to feed to our chickens, plus quite a few past dated Dimpflemeier loaves, which the chickens (and our sheep and pigs) also devoured. Don't think such an arrangement would be allowed today...

                1. re: Full tummy

                  I don't know - I do it. You just have to have a relationship with your produce people. It's no trouble to them to give you a box of old leaves. I've never asked for bread - but I get old bread from the soup kitchen where I volunteer.