A2 beef vs A2 dairy. What's the difference? One doesn't even exist in the US. LEARN MORE HERE.

Egg yolk changes. We were greenwashed and are furious! Here's the scoop.

written by

Marie Reedell

posted on

March 22, 2024

laying-hens.jpg

Why we switched our chicken feed

If you've followed our blog for some time, then you know that I do a good amount of muckraking on the food industry - conventional, organic, or otherwise.  But, this week, I need to rake the muck on us (more specifically on our corn & soy free eggs)!

I recently found out that I was duped!!! I'll be honest, I'm pretty pissed. Here's what happened.


Our laying hens' feed has come from the same feed supplier for years (not gonna mention any names). I've had lengthly phone calls with this feed supplier, and everything they told me has always sounded amazing. All the natural standards you could hope for.

Don't get me wrong. There were some yellow flags every now and then. 

For example, how did those yolks stay deep orange in the winter without any added colorants? How did the birds transition so easily to a corn & soy free feed? How are you absolutely certain that the feed is chemical free if you don't always buy directly from a farm and aren't always buying organic grains? Is a glyphosate test every once in a while enough?

But then, a few weeks ago, there was a major red flag. One of our egg farmers noticed something very alarming: A soybean oil tag was on a feed bag for our corn & soy free feed! What!?!?

This prompted an egg farmer to share a complete feed list with me, which showed that there was, in fact, marigold and paprika in the feed as a natural colorant. This explains why the yolks have been orange in the colder months. Ugh, to my knowledge there was no added colorants and I even wrote a blog post about it last year.

Why wasn't the feed supplier honest? What else was he not being 100% truthful about? Well, I have no idea. But, I'm glad I can make it right now.

That soybean oil tag was the final straw and prompted a very quick switch to a new feed supplier for our laying hens.

They're new, they're local, and they have full transparency

Egg Yolk Changes

You may notice pale egg yolks as the birds transition to the new feed and we get all the rations in place. It may take a few months to normalize.

The new feed supplier is working with us to customize the feed. It's our goal to produce a feed that's (1) the most natural; (2) provides optimal nutrition for our laying hens; and (3) produces the most nutrient-dense eggs for you. 

Please know we are actively working on this. It's a top priority. We will make sure to update the corn & soy free eggs product description with accurate and current feed ingredients.

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As of today, here are ALL of the ingredients in our corn & soy free laying hen feed (including the ingredients in the ingredients, too). It has the same basic basic ingredients advertised as the old feed... with some added vitamins and minerals.

MAIN FEED INGREDIENTS

This makes up 90%+ of the feed. About 20% of the grains below are sourced from local farms and about 80% come from Canada. All ingredients are GMO-free. If bought in from a distributor and we can't verify if chemicals were used, it will likely be organic.

  • Oats
  • Rolled wheat
  • Peas
  • Alfalfa hay leaves
  • Barley
  • Fishmeal (Fertrell's FERFISH): 100% whole sardine meal that is wild-caught off the coast of South America. The fishery has a sustainability certificate so they only harvest what they can take to sustainably keep the fish population going for the future. They used mixed tocopherols as the preservative (the only preservative allowed under Organic Regulations) and never use Ethoxyquin. The fish meal is used in the ration both as a great source of protein and amino acids, but also because it attracts the birds to their feed and actually helps them digest it better.
  • Sesame Meal (from Tipple M Farms): Ground sesame seeds
  • Goat Whey (raw liquid): From local pasture raised goats

VITAMINS & MINERALS

All supplements are certified for organic and GMO-free. There are no added oils or additives (like preservatives or anti-caking agents). The loooong lists below are exactly what's in them. There's a nutritional reason for each and every one.

  • Poultry Nutri-Balancer (from Fertrell): Monocalcium Phosphate, Organic Dehydrated Kelp Meal, Salt, DL Methionine, Calcium Carbonate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite, Riboflavin Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenic Acid, Niacin Supplement, Choline Chloride, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Manganese Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Copper
    Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Fermentation Extract, Active Dry Yeast, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation product, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation product, Dried Bacillus licheniformis Fermentation product, Dried Bacillus subtilis Fermentation Product.
  • Aragonite: This is just ground aragonite rocks
  • York Calcium Chips: Limestone
  • Monocal Phos (from Fertrell): Monocalcium phosphate (which is phosphorous and calcium that has been chemically bonded together)
  • Spnutzym Nutri-Zyme (from Fertrell): Enzymes derived from lactic acid bacteria and ground limestone. The enzymes are grown on dairy but there's no dairy in the final product.
  • Redmond Salt: Unrefined ancient sea salt from Salt Lake City, Utah which contains 60+ naturally-occurring trace minerals
  • Paprika: This is a natural coloring that makes the yolks orange... even when the birds aren't eating fresh grass in the warmer months. It gives the birds (and the eggs) antioxidants and vitamin A, too.
  • Marigold Flowers: This is a natural coloring like paprika. It also gives the birds (and the eggs) extra antioxidants.

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Why such a long ingredient list?

I know what you're likely thinking. It's probably the same thing I thought as I was doing extensive research on this: Why such a long ingredient list? Can't we do this more naturally? Can't we eliminate synthetic vitamins? 

I've emailed back and forth with the egg farmers and the new feed supplier. I read the technical sheets for every single ingredient (and reached out to the companies if I needed more info). I had a 45-minute phone call with a feed specialist from Fertrell. I've done some additional research online. Everything has been very enlightening. 

We also conducted an egg survey with our customers, which was extremely helpful in deciding which direction to go in. 

You can find all the answers to your questions as well as current egg feed ingredients here:

READ MORE: What's in our natural egg feed? And why is it in there anyway?



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A2 beef vs A2 dairy. What's the difference? One doesn't even exist in the US.

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What's in our natural egg feed? And why is it in there anyway?

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