Free Range for Hens for Omega-3 Eggs

 There is a lot of marketing, promoting eggs that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, but do you know how to get your hens producing rich omega-3 eggs?


Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids, sometimes called ‘good fats’. These are essential for human growth and good health and a deficiency in them has been associated with some horrible illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. So what can we do to have eggs rich in omega-3’s which will help us stay healthy?

Well, depending on what your hens eat will depend on the nutritional value of the eggs they lay. Research has shown that the amount of fat in an egg doesn’t actually change when you allow hens to free range, however, the percentage of polyunsaturated fat that they contain does.

If you want to have eggs rich in omega-3 fatty acids then allowing your hens to free range or at least access to fresh grass is the best solution. Free range hens lay eggs that are high in these omega-3 fatty acids because they are found in the green leaves of many plants, including grass which most of us have in our back gardens as well as insects that they find whilst foraging.

Free-Range-HensIf you can’t allow your chickens out safely to tuck in to the back lawn, then don’t worry, there is also a food you can give them to boost the omega-3 content in their eggs: flax seed.

Flax seed can be added to the diet (no more than 10% though). It is high in protein, vitamins and minerals so as a feed itself it is valuable, however flax is also rich in omega-3s and this is how some commercial egg producers are topping up the omega-3’s in the eggs they market and sell at a premium price.

Our body’s total omega-3 fatty acid requirement may be met by eating half a dozen omega-3 rich eggs every week, so get those hens out onto the lawn to start topping up on omega-3’s!

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Tim Daniels

Tim is the founder of the poultrykeeper website and lives in Herefordshire, UK. He keeps Cream Legbar chickens, Silver Sebright bantams and hybrid layers for eggs, Abacot Ranger ducks, Brecon Buff geese and some quail.

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