Do Eggs from Pastured Hens Have a Greater Nutritional Value?

Chicken eggs, wheat and flour on the old wood
Chicken eggs, wheat and flour on the old wood

A study conducted by researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences has shown that eggs produced by chickens allowed to forage in pastures are higher in some beneficial nutrients than are eggs laid by caged hens. The research, titled “Vitamins A, E and fatty acid composition of the eggs of caged hens and pastured hens, ” was published online this year in the January issue of “Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.”

The researchers examined how moving pastured hens to forage legumes or mixed grasses influenced hen egg omega-3 fatty acids and concentrations of vitamins A and E. “Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,” said lead investigator Heather Karsten, associate professor of crop production ecology.