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Free range eggs

What is in an egg?

Packed full of essential nutrients and vitamins, eggs are a great source of protein. And with just 74 calories each, they are also one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

As a source of protein, eggs are perfect since they contain nine essential amino acids which the human body needs. They are also a natural source of key nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, D, E, and B12, antioxidants, and choline. (according to Australian eggs)

But that’s not all. Eggs are also delicious, versatile and the perfect snack at any time of the day. If you’re looking for some inspiration on how to cook your eggs, we’ve got some recipe ideas for you.

Find RSPCA Assured eggs at your favourite supermarket

You can find RSPCA Assured eggs at your local supermarket. Follow the link below to add higher welfare eggs to your weekly shop.

How to cook your eggs

Whether you like yours scrambled, fried, poached, boiled or even deviled, we’ve got some eggstraordinary recipes for you.

  • Poached eggs- It’s not always easy to create that perfect hotel breakfast poached egg with a smooth ball of tender egg white enveloping a soft yolk. Quick and easy and a little bit lighter than fried, poached eggs are a great start to a busy day.
  • Eggs Benedict- It takes careful preparation and precise timing to put together this slightly elaborate American style meal, which is perfect for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. But when you get it to work, eggs Benedict is definitely worth it.
  • Scrambled eggs and poached salmon- More than just your basic scrambled eggs, these delicious little parcels are made with RSPCA Assured salmon as well.
  • Boiled eggs- It may sound simple but getting boiled eggs just right isn’t always that easy. With our helpful video, you can make sure your yolks come out just how you wanted them every time.
  • French toast- Also known as eggy bread or gipsy toast (and a whole load of other names), French toast was originally invented as a way to use up day-old bread but that doesn’t stop it from being delicious.

Eggs recipes

  • Eggs and soldiers - Don’t let anyone tell you eggs and soldiers are just for kids. Be sure to get your soft boiled egg times and your toasted soldiers just right for a perfect dipping experience.
  • Eggs breakfast - Great as a weekend treat or even as a morning-after cure, there’s something truly rewarding in having eggs for breakfast. Enjoy your breakfast eggs fried, scrambled, poached, by themselves or with RSPCA Assured bacon or sausages.  
  • Spaghetti carbonara - This typical Italian dish is also a family favourite and a welcome answer to the oft-shouted question “Mum/Dad, what’s for dinner tonight?”

The Egg Test

Not sure if your eggs are still OK to eat? 

Try the simple eggs test to test your eggs for freshness before you start cooking.  

Simply get a bowl of water and place your egg in it. If it sinks to the bottom and lies flat, it’s still fresh and good to eat. If it sinks but stands up to attention then it’s on its way out and should be eaten soon. But if it floats, then it’s no longer good to eat. 

How does the egg test work? 

As your eggs get older, gas begins to form inside them. The more gas, the more your eggs float in the water.

What is the meaning of free-range eggs?

All eggs sold in the UK must be stamped with the method of production: 0=organic, 1= free-range, 2=barn, 3=caged and this must also be stated on the eggs box. When you see the British Lion symbol on your box of eggs, this tells you that the eggs are British-laid and that the laying hens have been vaccinated against salmonella.

Free range-eggs  vs organic eggs

Much like free-range hens, organic hens enjoy unlimited access to outdoor pastures during the daytime. At night, organic hens are housed in barns that contain no more than six hens per square metre. The maximum number of hens that can be kept in an organic free-range flock is 3,000.

Free-range eggs

Free-range eggs have come from birds that, during the daytime, enjoy unlimited access to outdoor pastures. 

At night, free-range hens are housed in barns which keep them safe. This also allows them to express normal behaviour with perches for roosting and a maximum of nine hens per square meter of usable inside space. For free-range hens, the maximum flock size on an RSPCA Assured farm is 16,000 birds. 

Free-range hens must be provided with litter to allow the hens to perform natural behaviours, and which covers at least one-third of the floor surface. 

Free-range eggs in the UK 

About 55 per cent of all eggs produced in the UK are free-range. Marks & Spencer and Co-Op sell only free-range shell eggs and use only free-range eggs in their entire range of baked goods, processed products, and ready-made meals.

Barn eggs

Barn-raised hens have the freedom to roam freely indoors and perform many of their natural behaviours, like dust bathing and scratching. RSPCA Assured standards for laying hens can be applied to both barn or free-range systems, however, barn-raised hens don’t have access to a range and stay indoors throughout their lives. At present, only 2.5% of our egg producers still use a barn-raising system. 

Caged eggs

Even though the cramped battery cages were banned across the EU in 2012, the new “enriched” cages are not a great deal better. The hens have slightly more room to move than in conventional battery cages, but the ratio is still 13 to 14 hens per square metre, with few furnishings available and their ability to behave naturally is still greatly reduced. Farms using cages for laying hens are not permitted on the RSPCA Assured scheme. Find out more about old and new egg-laying hen battery cages

What makes RSPCA Assured eggs different?

Under the RSPCA Assured scheme, hens are provided with enrichment objects to peck at such as knotted rope and straw bales. They also have litter and dust bathing boxes which allow them to dust bathe together. And the raised perches improve bone strength and allow hens to rest undisturbed.

For more on egg-laying hens, please see our welfare standards.

Do white hens lay white eggs

There is no relation between feather colour and eggshell colour or yolk colour. For more information on this, you can read our pages on eggshell colour and egg yolk colour.

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