Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods & contain proteins, vitamins & fats that are essential to our well being. Now, you must be thinking of chicken eggs, the most popular variety available in the market, but there are more types of eggs than just brown and white.
In this article, we’re going to discuss eggs laid by various animals, including those laid by hens bred differently.
Types of Eggs Laid by Various Animals
It’s not just chickens that lay eggs ( and that we eat ). There are almost a dozen types of eggs laid by different birds & animals.
Mostly, we’ll be comparing eggs laid by other birds to chicken eggs because that’s the most common type of eggs available & everyone knows about it.
Chicken eggs are the most common type of eggs that we consume. In general, these eggs are mild in taste, but it varies significantly based on what the hens eat. Chicken eggs have a lot of protein & the yolk has a good amount of fat.
What you buy from the supermarket or grocery store may be standard white or brown, but chicken eggs have different varieties, based on the breeding of hens & what they eat. Since chicken eggs have a lot of subtypes, we’ve classified them separately below.
These eggs are smaller in size & have a delicate appearance. These eggs taste light but have nutritional value almost similar to those of chicken eggs.
Though, you’ll need to eat multiple quail eggs to match the nutritional value of one chicken egg as these eggs are smaller in size.
Many eat Quail eggs as a delicacy in many parts of the world, including North America, Europe & Asia.
Duck eggs look and feel a lot like chicken eggs, but they have a slightly larger yolk & a thicker shell. These eggs are smoother in taste when compared to chicken eggs & have more proteins & fats.
The thick shell allows duck eggs to stay fresh for a longer period.
Almost double in size to a chicken egg, Goose eggs are heavier & have a dense taste. These eggs have thick shells & are harder to crack. The protein content is significantly higher compared to a chicken egg.
Geese lay only about 40 eggs in a year, so these eggs are much harder to find & comparatively costlier.
Turkey eggs are similar to duck eggs, with a thicker yolk. They also have a thicker egg white, which gives it a creamy taste & consistency.
People prefer using turkey eggs for making desserts, because of it’s rich flavor.
Just like Goose eggs, Turkey eggs are also hard to find in stores. But this is because raising the bird is more profitable than selling the egg.
Ostrich Eggs are by far the largest eggs laid by a bird. They weight around 3lbs & are twenty times the size of a chicken egg.
The creamy looking thick shells are tough to crack. However, if you do manage to break it open, you’ll find 2000 calories packed in, but with a similar nutritional value of a chicken egg.
Ostrich eggs can cost upwards of $40 in an average store if you do manage to find it.
Pheasant eggs are slightly smaller than chicken eggs & have a typical ovoid shape. Standard eggs laid by pheasants are pale olive, with or without spots.
Even though these are smaller in size, Pheasant eggs have a surprisingly large yolk which gives it a creamier taste & texture. Eggs from a Pheasant with a natural diet have a gamy taste. But if it’s eating a normal diet, eggs may taste similar to chicken eggs.
These dark shelled eggs weight slightly less than ostrich eggs & are usually black, sometimes speckled with a dark green color.
These eggs have a rich taste & the yolk is a bit consolidated. Which means, if you cut into the egg, nothing will ooze out.
Emu eggs can cost about $50, but then again, these aren’t usual chicken eggs.
Bantam chickens are a smaller breed of standard chickens, and so are the bantam eggs, almost a third of the size of a regular chicken egg.
The nutritional value of Bantam eggs is almost similar to that of regular chicken eggs, but with higher iron content.
These eggs are laid by the Hilsa fish, a favorite type of fish in the Bay of Bengal region. Although the fish is more popular than it’s eggs, they are used in making Omega-3 supplements.
Caviar ( Fish Eggs )
Caviar isn’t your normal fish eggs, It’s unfertilized salt-cured eggs of different species of the sturgeon fish.
The taste can vary depending on the age & size of eggs. The finest & most expensive caviars are older, with larger eggs & lighter color while the lower quality caviar is just the opposite, with a less fishy flavor & darker color.
Caviar is quite costly, mainly because most of the 26 types of sturgeon fish are now endangered species.
Types of Eggs Laid By Hen
As we mentioned earlier, there are many sub-types of chicken eggs. This mainly depends on how the hens are bred and what they’re fed.
Standard White Eggs
The most common type of eggs you’ll buy at the supermarket. These eggs are laid by white-feathered hens, with white earlobes & bred in a conventional housing system.
Standard Brown Eggs
Brown eggs are almost identical to standard white eggs in nutritional value, the only difference being higher omega-3 fat content.
Brown eggs are laid by hens with brown feathers, read earlobes & slightly larger size.
It costs more to farm brown eggs, because the hens have larger appetite due to their big size, hence they cost more than white eggs.
Free Run Eggs
These eggs are laid by hens that are raised in a cage-free environment, inside a barn or aviary. Free-run system allows the hens to roam freely within the enclosed barn, while also providing nests & perches.
Free Range Eggs
The free-range system is identical to a free-run system, the only difference being outdoor access.
The hens can roam freely in the barn or aviary as well as outdoors.
Nest Laid Eggs
In this housing system, Hens are raised in a furnished housing that provides a larger space & a variety of enrichment for the hens. It can include nesting boxes, perches, scratch pads & dust baths.
This arrangement allows hens to express natural behavior.
Vitamin Enhanced Eggs
These eggs are laid by hens who are fed nutritionally enhanced diets rich in certain vitamins.
As a result of this rich diet, the eggs contain higher amounts of certain vitamins.
These eggs are laid by hens that were fed only plant-based diets.
These eggs are laid by hens raised in a free-range housing & fed a certified organic diet. The certified organic diet only contains ingredients that were grown without the use of pesticides or commercial fertilizers.
These eggs are laid by hens that were fed extra flax in their diet. As a result, the eggs are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Liquid, frozen or dried egg products are made from eggs that were broken by special machines & then pasteurized. Often, standard white eggs are used in the process.
These products often contain added ingredients like preservatives, flavors or colors.
Health Benefits of Eggs
Now that we’re done with the different types of eggs, you might want to know it’s health benefits :
Eggs raise high-density lipoprotein levels, also known as ‘the good cholesterol’.
Eggs contain choline, an important nutrient used in building brain cell membranes among other uses.
Studies have linked Eggs to a reduced risk of heart diseases.
Omega-3 rich eggs can help lower levels or triglyceride.
Eggs are filling foods & help people lose weight.
Eggs are one of the few foods that can be classified as superfoods, as they’re loaded with nutrients, some of which are rare in our modern diet.
On top of the health benefits, Eggs are cheap, easy to make & taste awesome. But be sure, not to overeat. Check out our guide on how many eggs should you eat in a day for more reference.
Featured Image Credits – Pixabay/Paolinio