Cracking Open Our Commitment to Soy Free Eggs
This week we would like to focus on our commitment to raising our flock of laying hens, without the use of soy. There are numerous considerations for avoiding the eggs that soy-fed hens lay and we share some of them below.
Unfortunately, many industrial egg producers utilize feeds that contain soy - and the eggs that their hens produce are impacted negatively.
Many hens that are raised commercially, would have soy included in the feed that they receive. Commercial egg producers appreciate that the soy increases the protein content of their feed, allowing the hens to both grow faster and begin laying eggs more quickly. Soy is often combined with other grains in their feed, such as corn. It is not uncommon for both the soy and the corn to come from Genetically Modified seed. For those seeking to avoid GMOs, it is especially concerning.
Hens that are raised as quickly as possible, are more stressed than those raised more naturally. This additional stress can cause them to become weakened, sick, or both. The commercial farm may utilize antibiotics, to counter these effects - which is especially concerning to those seeking to avoid antibiotics in their foods.
In some cases, farms that are certified organic include organic soy in their feed. While their eggs may retain their organic distinction, they are not able to be labeled as “soy free”.
Why second-hand soy from animal feeds, is cause for concern.
For those that have an allergy to soy or may be soy sensitive, commercially farmed eggs pose an immediate risk. Soy contains a high amount of isoflavones, specifically a plant estrogen called phytoestrogen. Studies have found that phytoestrogen is present in the yolks of eggs from soy-fed hens. Many believe that phytoestrogen can contribute to hormone imbalances in humans, both male and female. Children are most susceptible to developmental issues, stemming from these hormone imbalances.
Diets high in soy have been shown to reduce Vitamin D stores in both hens and humans. Not surprisingly, eggs from soy-fed hens have been shown to contain up to 6 times fewer the amount of Vitamin D, than eggs from pastured hens that did not have any soy in their diet. For those that are concerned about Vitamin D deficiency, it may be especially important to seek soy free eggs.
Here at Hidden Camp Farm, we are committed to raising hens that are not fed soy at any stage of their life.
Our hens arrive on the farm as pullets, and they will not have access to any soy products throughout their lives. These hens are skilled foragers that love roaming the pastures, in search of: grasses, seeds, insects, and worms. On days that are too cold for the hens to be outdoors, they are fed a mixture of organic grains that includes alfalfa meal, barley, wheat, flax and corn. None of these grains include GMOs.
We look forward to sharing even more details about the hens at Hidden Camp Farm and their eggs, in a future post. Until then - we hope that you can continue enjoying our pastured, soy free, certified organic, brown eggs.