Here in Costa Rica, the regular eggs that supermarkets sell for about c1700 or c1800 per carton of 15 are from chickens that are raised in what we call "battery cages" - meaning they live their whole lives with 4 chickens in a 1 foot x 1 foot cage- very inhumane! All they do is eat, drink and lay eggs for their entire lives! Please click on this link for photos of chickens in a battery cage commercial egg-laying operation. I do caution you that the photos from this website are very graphic but are very realistic about how chickens are raised in these types of operations. When chickens are raised in these conditions, then of course the cost of production is much lower, but what kind of life is that for the chickens?
Some supermarkets also have "huevos de pastoreo" or "huevos de campo", which cost about c2400 to c2500 per carton of 15. These are their "free range eggs", from what I can gather. Free-range eggs are from chickens that are allowed outside for at least a portion of every day. Their regular chicken feed is supplemented with insects and grasses that they gather from outside the hen house.
At Huevos de Amor San Jorge, our hens are outside from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM each and every day! For this reason, free-range eggs are more expensive because it is more labor-intensive to raise these chickens and gather their eggs. Please read about our operation and see pictures of how our hens are raised. Our hens are very happy hens and we care for them like our pets. I will also tell you that even at a cost of c2000 per carton of 15 eggs (our price), we manage to make enough money to cover our costs with a little left over so it is not a big money-making business!
We pride ourselves in how we raise our chickens and believe that eggs from free-range chickens are more nutritious for you. (Please read about the benefits of free-range eggs from our Educational Info section.)
If you are buying eggs for a lot cheaper price, then you may have to question where and how these chickens are raised - are they raised in cages, do they get to go outside, what are they eating, how are they treated? It is not for me to check these other sources out because I am comfortable with our operation and the price we charge for our free-range eggs. It is up to each individual to do their own due diligence and decide which eggs they want to serve on their breakfast table.
I hope I have answered any questions about the differences in cost and value between true free-range eggs and regular commercially produced eggs. We invite you to come up to our chicken farm anytime to visit our operation to meet Trixie, Corabelle, Queenie, Henrietta and the rest of our hens and see for yourself what a real free-range chicken farm is all about!
I invite any comments to this post.