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New study finds no nutritional difference between free-range and cage-produced eggs
Date:8/26/2011

rown pullets. The pullets were raised in accordance with the laying environment (range or cage) in the 37th NCLP&MT. All of the pullets in the study were hatch mates. Identical rearing dietary programs were used for both the range and cage pullets, with the only difference being the access the latter group had to the range paddock, a common hay mixture for North Carolina comprising both warm- and cool-season forages.

Pullets designated for the range facilities were brooded on litter until 12 weeks of age and then moved to a range environment. At 17 weeks, they were then moved to one of three production range paddocks. A parallel pattern was followed for the cage hens, which were reared in a cage rearing facility, and then at 17 weeks assigned to one of three groups of laying cages. All other rearing parameters were maintained as similar as possible.

Research Findings

Egg samples were collected at 50, 62, and 74 weeks of age during the productive life of the flock and sent to four different laboratories commonly used for egg nutrient analysis. The results showed no influence of housing environment (range or cage) on egg levels of vitamin A or vitamin E. However, β-carotene levels were higher in the range eggs, which, according to Dr. Anderson, may have contributed to the darker colored yolks observed in these eggs during the study. The study also found no difference in cholesterol content between range- and cage-produced eggs. Based on these results, Dr. Anderson concluded that "a significant nutritional advantage of eggs produced by chickens housed on range versus in cages could not be established."


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Contact: Egg Nutrition Center
info@incredible-egg.org
312-233-1211
Edelman Public Relations
Source:Eurekalert

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