Does anyone else get confused when looking at the many different varieties in chicken eggs? I used to think eggs were eggs and your only choice was between brown and white. But now there's free range, free run, added omegas, veggie fed, organic, etc.. (and this is just from one company!). In my quest to buy the most ethical eggs, this is what I found for store bought chicken eggs:
Free Range: These are the happiest chickens (imo) as they get to roam around a pasture.
Free Run: While these chickens aren't kept in a cage (most egg laying chickens are), they are still kept in a barn and do not have access to roaming a pasture.
Veggie Fed: Just that... the chickens are fed an all vegetarian diet, no animal by-products.
Organic: Chickens are fed an all organic feed, no hormones, no pesticides and no antibiotics. Organically raised chickens are usually packed less tightly than those given antibiotics but this doesn't mean that they are free range. Most are but check your labels!
Omega 3 eggs: Basically, the chickens are fed lots of flax in their feed which then produces a small amount of omega 3s in the eggs.
White eggs vs. Brown eggs: Chickens with white feathers and ear lobes produce white eggs and chickens with red feathers and ear lobes produce brown eggs. There is no difference in taste or nutirition values but for some reason I always choose brown.
However, the average laying hen is caged up 24 hours per day and lives a horrific life. To learn more about the abuse laying hens go through go to Farm Sanctuary. Also, I've recommended it before but seriously watching Food, Inc. changed my life and how I eat.
The best eggs you can buy are local small farmed eggs. Not only are they the most ethical, they are also the best tasting.