> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith Turner [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 1999 5:55 AM
> To: 'Donna Fezler'
> Subject: Free Range
> Hello Donna,
> In all reality, there is no dietary difference between free
> range layers and
> cage housing layers. These birds can be fed the same diets.
> If someone
> gets into the "All-Natural" or "Organic" market, these have dietary
> differences, although the restrictions are still very questionable.
> Why do the yolks exhibit a darker color with more taste?
> Mainly because the
> birds forage. The color in eggs comes from xanthophylls,
> which comes mainly
> from corn or other sterol sources. In a cage layer the
> xanthophylls are
> stored in the legs, beak, ear lobes, and over the laying
> period the bird
> mobilizes these stores to produce the yellow color in the egg (you can
> distinguish an old layer by her pale legs and beak). Certain
> can be added to the diet to increase the dark yolk color, such as corn
> gluten meal, alfalfa meal, or marigold petal. These are
> often times not
> cost effective, so if the consumer does not pay any more for a darker
> colored yolk, the producer will not add these ingredients.
> On free range,
> birds have access to grass and other forages, which contain
> sterols and
> xanthophylls, so they have a more potent color source
> throughout the lay
> cycle. Also, birds on free range often times do not lay eggs
> as often as
> cage laying strains, and therefore the free range birds do
> not use up their
> body stores of these coloring agents. The taste I would
> guess emanates from
> the various items consumed by the free range bird that cage
> layers do not
> have access to, ie., grass, insects, worms, manure, etc. The
> shell quality has also been thought to be due to the
> decreased rate of lay
> in free range birds, which can be due to breed of layer.
> I hope this helps answer your question. Enjoy your $2/dozen
> return. The
> remainder of the layer industry is presently in the can.
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