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Are jumbo eggs crueler?

I can't help but notice that high priced "cruelty-free" eggs don't come in large, extra-large or jumbo.

Anybody who knows something about egg production out there?

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  1. because the giant chickens that produce them are frankenchickens???

    1. young hens(pullets) = smaller eggs
      mature hens(layers) = large to jumbo depending on breed and diet.
      old hens(stew birds) = less average/smaller size eggs

      There are egg layers, think Leghorns, combination birds, think Rhode Island Red , and meat birds, think Cornish Cross.
      All lay eggs, but some more efficiently for the amount of feed.

      You can get jumbos and even double yolkers from any breed if conditions are right and still be less cruel.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Raffles

        Just realized I haven't seen a double yolker in years. Used to get one every couple months.

        1. re: daislander

          Double yolks are more common in the spring time. Now that it's daylight savings time, you might start to run across them.


          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Interesting - I had no idea! I usually buy jumbos and hadn't seen a double yolk in a while, then I went two for two in my omelet yesterday!

            1. re: biondanonima

              We also bought a Dz. Jumbo Eggs and 11 out 12 were Double Yolked!

              1. re: chefj

                I once had a whole dozen, it was frightening.

        2. re: Raffles

          <<young hens(pullets) = smaller eggs
          mature hens(layers) = large to jumbo depending on breed and diet.
          old hens(stew birds) = less average/smaller size eggs>>

          Yup, exactly. Our nearly two year old hens sometimes lay some monsters but when they first started laying the eggs were small.

        3. Not sure what you mean by cruelty-free, but I buy cage-free large eggs all the time (whole foods and farmers' market). Don't know that I've seen extra large or jumbo, but then I wouldn't have been looking for them.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cookie monster

            I buy eggs from local, pastured hens and they come in assorted sizes and colors. I enjoy opening the carton every time :)

            1. re: c oliver

              I just love getting those green and blue eggs- haven't had access to them in a while, tho.

            2. re: cookie monster

              Cage free is one of those terms that do not guarantee the chickens decent living conditions. Cage free hens can still be crowded indoors in sheds with little to no access to the outdoors or much room due to crowding.

            3. If you mean "cage free" here's just one of a few I found when I did a Google search.

              btw... in doing this search, I found a brand called "Nest Fresh." What a horrible name! it makes it sound like they are stealing babies right from their beds! lol

              2 Replies
              1. re: ttoommyy

                "cage free" doesn't necessarily mean "cruelty free"

                imho, what is MORE important about the eggs in your picture is that they are labeled CERTIFIED HUMANE,
                which, i've been told, is much more meaningful than "cage free."

                i, too, buy CERTIFIED HUMANE eggs that are also
                "cage free"

                1. re: westsidegal

                  "Certified Humane" is one of the higher standards.

              2. We buy cage free from the Amish in our area. Love them, the yolks are almost orange!! Sometimes she has to go to the hen house to fill out a dozen carton.

                1. I find my eggs "right from the farmer" can range from average to huge.
                  I got a double yolker for the first time last year. I thought they were urban (rural?) legends!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: monavano

                    Laying hens in their first year often lay 'jumbo' eggs with double or sometimes even triple yolks. Breakfast in a shell!

                  2. I get the organic brown jumbos from Trader Joe's. Eggshells like rock, mostly, and around $5/dozen. Of course TJ's egg sources are different depending on where they're located - this is in SoCal.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      WOW, that seems so expensive... we get browns from the Amish for $1.40....usually large but ungraded , smaller gets less expensive, $.90 for pullet eggs...

                      1. re: Raffles

                        I buy through our co-op who get them from a local farm that has pastured hens. I'm paying $9/dz! But the nutritional component is huge also.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Whoa, $9 is steep!
                          What are they feeding them there birds?!
                          Bugs are free!

                          1. re: monavano

                            Here's the article that turned me on!


                            When you get down to the nutritional value, that really blew my mind.

                            This farm seems very personal to me though I've not yet met any of them. Last year they lost their entire flock due to an infection brought in by a critter (can't remember which one) and they're now rebuilding.

                            1. re: monavano

                              I've just started selling mine for $5 a dozen. I feed organic Scratch and Peck that I've added things to: garlic powder, dried seaweed, flax, probiotic powder, brewer's yeast, herbs, DE.

                              I'm not even sure that is high enough. I love my chickens!

                              1. re: Becca Porter

                                That's great, congratulations!
                                My dream home has guinea hens running amok.

                                1. re: monavano

                                  We 'inherited' guineas over 20 years ago when we moved from SF to So. Oregon. If there's a dumber creature on this planet, I've never had the pleasure of meeting one :( They would just stand in the driveway and start dully at the car. They would fly up in the trees at night and leave their babies to become coyote bait.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      And how! These are among the most obnoxious creatures on earth. Pretty tasty, though.

                              2. re: c oliver

                                Wow $9 a dozen! We have some chickens that are pastured/free range and fed organic feed and we generally give the eggs away or sell them for $1 a dozen. Our flock is mixed so the eggs are all different sizes and colors.

                                1. re: Springhaze2

                                  Sure, but that is not the true cost of production and gives people the wrong idea about what quality is worth. We charge $3.50 for our pastured eggs, which barely covers the cost of feed. That doesn't cover the effort we put in at all.

                                  1. re: earthygoat

                                    I agree earthygoat. We certainly don't get back what we pay into them in terms of dollars. But they make people happy and that is priceless. We live in a very rural and poor area. Sometimes our eggs are the only protein source these families can afford.

                                  2. re: Springhaze2

                                    "Pastured" actually means out with the cows all day, eating all kinds of things - definitely not vegetarian :) And this isn't a hobby for them. It's their business, one which is extremely hard to make a living at. You might enjoy their website. I love supporting a local business while making myself hopefully a little healthier.


                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      Thanks for the link. I also love supporting local businesses.

                                      Our chickens are pastured with mini goats, mini horses, mini donkeys and a pig. The chickens are a hobby the mini livestock are a business.

                                      1. re: Springhaze2

                                        Perfect! I wish you could have seen my old mare the first time she spotted a mini-donkey!!!!! For the first time I understood what "jump out of your skin" meant :) I had to take her around my trailer so she could see the demon that was surely going to eat her :) Fun memory.

                                2. re: Raffles

                                  $5 is pretty standard at the farmers markets by me.
                                  I use grocery store white eggs for things like baking, but for dishes like poached egg, I use the good stuff.

                                  1. re: Raffles

                                    In our region, farmer-direct pastured-hen eggs are in the $4-$8/doz range. Commercial certified organic or cage-free eggs are each $6-8/doz.

                                3. Eggs are measured by weight, not size.

                                  1. Wow, some of the prices here for a dozen eggs are thru da roof! I get mine at the local farmers market, and the price range is $3.25 - $3.75.... yep, that's pretty much the "high end" egg price here.

                                    Of course, they're not all jumbo size, but come in pretty different colors and are absolutely delicious.

                                    I can't imagine paying nine dollars for a dozen eggs. Unless they already had crispy bacon or shaved truffles included in them :-D

                                    19 Replies
                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      :) I like people to know that they come from "pastured" hens which is far, far different than 'just' free range, which sometimes is good but not as good. It's just the two of us and a dozen lasts more than a week. It's a splurge but one I make because of the nutritional component as well as supporting a local, family business.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        These live in a hen house and have consistent access to the outdoors.

                                        Free-range as a supermarket term means about as much as "cage-free", but I've seen the laying hens. They're pretty happy :-)

                                        1. re: linguafood

                                          The farm I'm talking about the hens are out with the cows every day, returning to their mobile coop at night. When the cows are moved to a different pasture, the hens move also. And here are the results from a Mother Earth News from 2007 about the nutritional comparison:

                                          • 1/3 less cholesterol
                                          • 1/4 less saturated fat
                                          • 2/3 more vitamin A
                                          • 5 times more vitamin D
                                          • 3 times more vitamin E
                                          • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
                                          • 7 times more beta carotene

                                          It was just a personal decision that I made.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Yeah, in this case, there are no cows involved. It's just a friend of ours who has the space and the passion to raise her own chickens.

                                            1. re: linguafood

                                              Which I think is very cool. A number of cities are now allowing chickens to be raised - as long as there's no rooster. Noise abatement :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                I cannot imagine having chickens without a rooster or two.
                                                Noise abatement my xxx, sounds like sexual discrimination to me. The exuberance with which they greet the morning always brings a smile to my face and music to my ears. In chicken language they are saying, "Wake up you lazy ladies I'm ready to go a roostering!!"

                                                1. re: mudcat

                                                  If only they just crowed in the morning.... We had a sweet Salmon Favarolle roo, but he had to be rehomed when he got too loud too often. I didn't want to bug our neighbors.

                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                  Our next door neighbor has hens. When the (unsexed) chicks arrived, half turned out to be males. Lots of crowing going on until they got big enough to be a meal. Having lived in the country many years ago, their crowing didn't bother me. My dog finds the chickens mesmerizing.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    My dogs find the neighbors chickens tasty... wish a mile away was enough....shock collars work...
                                                    when the wind is out of the south the dogs smell those hens...no problems tho, we are on top of it... but I wish I could afford enuf property to let the girls run loose...

                                              2. re: c oliver

                                                There is a symbioses between the cows and the chickens, the cow poop attracts flies/maggots which the chickens love to eat. Also undigested grains etc. in the poop are
                                                a treat to the birds. The chicken poop is a great fertilizer for the grass/hay in the field.

                                                The method of moving the hen house around the field is called, get this...a "Chicken Tractor".

                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                  Yep. I first read about this in Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. And that's probably where I read that when you read on a carton of eggs that they've only been fed a vegetarian diet that's not really such a good thing as they also are omnivores :)

                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                  Sounds awesome! And its still a significantly cheaper protein than humane meats or wild fish.....

                                                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                    We really like eggs, esp for breakfast, so this seems like a good way to eat them. And they're just so darn cute when I open the carton - all different sizes and colors :)

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Wait -- so these aren't even all *jumbo* eggs you're getting for the proud price of $9/dozen?

                                                      Mine are all different colors and sizes for the most part, too.... but at a third of the price tag.

                                                      Maybe it's a NorCal thing?

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        That looooong article I linked to explained the cost among other things. I figure $1.50 for the two of us to have eggs for breakfast is just fine.

                                                        I hope your fish gutting practice is going well :)

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          No way. I'm such a precious lil flower I only buy (and eat) fishsticks, dontcha know '-P

                                              3. re: c oliver

                                                I buy pastured eggs for close to $6 per dozen... but not direct from the farmer. I would if I could, though.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  I've exchanged emails with a member of the family, after they lost their flock and then recently when they've had a limited number available for sale. I like it :)

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    I would, too. I know my DD liked going to the Union Square market, meeting all the farmers, asking about their practices, learning about their items for sale, etc.

                                              1. I pay from $C1,75 to $C2.50 per dz. to local non-quota farmers.

                                                Their flocks reach an age where they can't produce and the eggs seem just average-sized before that - maybe a tad smaller. The hens are often processed and sold although I've never tried one.

                                                When the new flock starts producing I'm offered "pee-wees" - usually @ $1 to $1.50 dz.

                                                Yes, double yolks are common when the flock is at its prime - one producer tries to pack one in each carton.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: DockPotato

                                                  Double yolk eggs are most likely to occur when the chickens (pullets) are young and just starting to lay. It takes a while for the pullets' system to get into the proper cycle of production. Once the chickens mature they general lay one single yolk egg a day. (So getting double yolks does not mean the flock is at its prime.)

                                                2. What about those blood spots in the eggs? Anyone notice them more in the cruelty-free eggs? I would think so , well because those hens are being treated right !

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: Raffles

                                                    Yes, I rarely crack an egg without them.

                                                    1. re: Raffles

                                                      I was always told that blood spots were because the egg was fertilized, but I have just learned differently.

                                                      1. re: Springhaze2

                                                        Blood spots are also found in unfertilized eggs. The reason they are not found in commercially farmed eggs is because they are sorted out during the grading process through candelling. Maybe TMI, but the blood spots are similar to when a woman ovulates and has a little bit of spotting at the same time.

                                                        1. re: earthygoat

                                                          Oh wow! My father always said it was because they were fertilized and I never looked into to learn otherwise. Thanks for educating me! I've had chickens for all of my long life.

                                                          (Actually they can show up in both fertilized and unfertilized eggs.)

                                                          1. re: earthygoat

                                                            Yabbut, the ones I've seen in other eggs or "cage free" vs pastured are not big like the ones from pastured hens' eggs. Dots vs. some I have to pretend not to see.

                                                          2. re: Springhaze2

                                                            A fertilized egg has a white bullseye actually.

                                                            1. re: Becca Porter

                                                              Exactly! Then the "bullseye" spot starts to run veins in order to nourish a developing embryo. It looks different than just a regular blood spot. If anyone is getting this bullseye with veins reaching outward on the yolk, it means that egg has been under a broody hen for quite a few days and an embryo has started to grow. Eggs should be picked up daily to prevent this, but if eggs are found under a broody hen, they should definitely not be sold. They won't hurt anyone, but it's just not a pleasant thing to encounter.

                                                              1. re: earthygoat

                                                                I found 18 eggs under a broody hen of mine. She had been flying over the fence and laying in an abandoned dog house. We don't have a rooster, so they weren't fertile. I did a float test. They were all still good! The temps were cool but not below freezing. We were able to eat them all. We didn't sell them of course though.

                                                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                  That's happened to us also. It amazes me how long unfertilized (and fertilized without a broody hen) eggs last. We have roosters, so if a hen goes broody in a secret location, it's more likely that the hen will march back with a trail of chicks than us actually finding the nest.

                                                                  1. re: earthygoat

                                                                    Eggs have a very long shelf life , especially if coated with wax etc....keeps the O2 out and whatever in....

                                                        2. I'm the millionth person to say this, but:

                                                          1.) It depends on the age and breed of the birds.

                                                          2.) We sell pasture-raised eggs, and the farmers usually put them in recycled "large" cartons. Sometimes the eggs are swimming in them, so they're probably mediums, and sometimes it's hard to get them to close. Two summers ago, we were getting dinosaur eggs. I don't know what that man was feeding his girls (red sex links, I think), but those eggs were huge!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Kontxesi

                                                            The chicken's diet has nothing to do with egg size. As you said, it depends on the age and breed of the birds.

                                                          2. When used to throw at cars, houses, and other people, YES, I would say that Jumbo eggs are more cruel!

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                              I have NO idea what you are talking about!!

                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                Jumbo=weighs more,hurts more when it connects, or makes a larger mess

                                                                1. re: Raffles

                                                                  No, but some of my Latino friends wear his mask to avoid deportation.

                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                    Tell'em to be careful, they might deported to Canada!

                                                                2. re: Tripeler

                                                                  It is critical that they be thrown accurately. A miss is as bad as a mile.