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Old 07-31-2011, 12:10 AM
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Can someone tell me if there is any difference between brown eggs and white eggs? I see that in ME brown eggs seem to be preferred, and in Hannafords white eggs are not only fewer and far between, they are cheaper. I have noticed that brown eggs are often "fertile" - either that or they haven't been candled, because there is often a blood spot when I crack them open, and I haven't had that with the white eggs.
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:09 AM
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Brown eggs are local eggs, andd local eggs are fresh
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Old 07-31-2011, 04:16 AM
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Brown eggs are often fresher because they tend to come from local sources whereas you often never know where white eggs come from. Otherwise the only difference is in the type hen that laid the eggs.
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Old 07-31-2011, 05:00 AM
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I've been around some other folks' small chicken flocks and I've learned a few things, expanding on what Mainebrokerman and Skelaki said:

White eggs come from certain breeds of chickens and brown come from other breeds.

Generally, brown egg layers are somewhat heavier breeds of chickens that do better in winter weather and are somewhat more physically robust birds. They don't do quite as well in summer heat, especially when cooped up in a large building with 300,000 other birds as the white egg laying breeds do. For historical reasons back when chicken coops were smaller, these weather tolerance reasons of the different chicken breeds tended to make New England egg producers favor the brown egg laying breeds, especially producers in Northern New England, this even though the feed to egg conversion of brown egg laying breeds historically has been somewhat less efficient than that of white egg layers'.

Here is the web page guide to so-called standard breed (meaning standard size) chicken breeds from a well-known retail, mail order hatchery: Murray McMurray Hatchery - Standard Breed Chicks Large egg farms might use proprietary breeds, but even so, such breeds probably aren't much different than what hatcheries such as McMurray make available.

See especially, these breed descriptions for more on New England, brown egg history: http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/barred_rocks.html

and though from England, another good, cold weather, brown egg producer:

Nowadays, I suppose chicken genetics has altered these producer considerations somewhat, (along with the advent of large (huge!) chicken coop buildings), but egg shoppers around New England till tend to favor brown eggs, so that's what local (New England) egg farmers produce more of.

A blood speck does not, in itself, indicate a fertile egg. Rather, its just a small hemorrhage left over from the hen's reproductive tract. I've never noticed that brown eggs have more of them, but it's something I'll keep in mind. Commercial eggs might still be candled to catch general imperfections (I'm not sure) but they won't be candling to catch embryonic growth. Fertile eggs obviously require roosters and the *last* thing egg producers need is to keep around are useless eaters such as roosters to drive up production costs. Then too it takes a couple of days of a hen sitting on an egg to start embryonic development and that just can't happen in a contemporary battery egg building where the egg drops down onto a conveyor moments after it's laid. I suppose some so-called cage-free and free-range egg operations might be different, but that's only a small percentage of egg farms out there even though such operations are slowly increasing in number (and even though I buy from just such an operation.)

I'm also probably going to keep a few hens one of these days myself, when I'm home more. When I do, they'll be so-called dual purpose (meat and egg) birds and almost certainly, brown egg layers.

Back yard chickens have made quite a comeback over the past ten or so years and I suspect a fair amount of Maine City-Data readers have a goodly amount of direct chicken experience as well.

Last edited by beltrams; 07-31-2011 at 05:14 AM..
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:00 AM
Location: God's Country, Maine
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Originally Posted by mainebrokerman View Post
brown eggs are local eggs, andd local eggs are fresh
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Old 07-31-2011, 06:45 AM
Location: Union, ME
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But...as is true with a lot of things...it's not what you see on the outside, but what's on the inside that matters.

White or brown layers can both produce mediocre eggs. A really good egg, whether it's three weeks old or three minutes old, is a result of the hen's diet. Pastured hens are more likely - not always true, though - to produce an egg with a beautiful, yummy orange yolk!

Geesh, with all of the choices available, buying eggs ("free-range organic cage free") has become almost as bad as buying a cup of coffee ("Grande Latte Half-Caff"). What does the nomenclature on the side of the egg carton at Hannaf**d's really mean???
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:51 AM
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thanks beltrams for all this great info!
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:12 PM
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It's strange, because we're told there is no difference between brown and white eggs, but my wife has a definite allergic reaction to white-shelled eggs and she doesn't to brown-shelled eggs. She grew up in the Midwest, which is uniformly white egg country, and could not eat those eggs straight, as scrambled or fried eggs, although she could tolerate them as part of a larger recipe. When she moved to Maine, she had no problem eating brown eggs.

We thought perhaps it was just that she had outgrown the allergy, but she still has reactions to white eggs when we travel outside Maine. When the kids were small, we would buy white eggs to boil at Easter because they took dyes better. She couldn't eat those, either.
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by beltrams View Post

White eggs come from certain breeds of chickens and brown come from other breeds.
I didn't know that--I always thought white eggs were white because they bleach them.

Anyway, the brown eggs I get here in NYC taste better than the white ones. White eggs also have a kind of stale refrigerator smell when you open them.

I always buy brown eggs when I have a choice.
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:33 PM
Location: Log "cabin" west of Bangor
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Originally Posted by mainebrokerman
brown eggs are local eggs, andd local eggs are fresh

Originally Posted by dmyankee View Post
Just a marketing gimmick. As has been noted, it's just a matter of the breed that produced it. Personally, I don't care if an egg is white or brown- I look at the name on the carton to see if it's a local farm. I prefer to support the local producers even if the price is slightly higher- the more local the better. In fact, when I can, I get my eggs from one of the three farms that are just down the road a piece. (I still haven't quite convinced the wife that we should have a few chickens of our own.)
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