As you may know I have had bantam hens for a number of years now. My girls get to free range and eat a very natural diet. As they are natural bantams (rather than hybrids) they only lay from approximately the spring equinox to the autumn one, with a few extra laying days either side dependent on sunshine and the overall weather.
I was reading today about how hens who live a more natural lifestyle lay eggs with more vitamin D, or reverse that to hens who lay in barns and indoors with no opportunities to scratch about in daylight have lower vitamin D levels in their eggs.
I am someone who firmly believes that the quality of our food makes a huge difference. To me eggs need to be free range or pasture raised (in the UK I look for Freedom Food if possible too if buying from supermarkets) and organic (Soil Association or if smallscale and local then trusting that the people rearing them have high standards).
I don’t like to buy eggs from corn or other grain fed sources and soy fed is an absolute no go. Another important aspect of natural chicken behaviour is when they are scratching about they eat all sorts of plants and insects. This gives them a good Omega 3:6 ratio (essential fatty acids) which helps optimising not only their own health but ours too when we eat the eggs. Healthy diets for hens = overall good health which results in less need to medicate them. We often eat far too many Omega 6 oils in the Western diet and they are believed to create inflammation when out of balance. Omega 3 EFAs are believed to help regulate cholesterol in the body -the science is no longer in support of not eating eggs because of cholesterol issues. However, it is important to adjust for hen welfare and diet and lifestyle. If a hen is cooped up all day, fed medication, depressed, not getting a natural diet but is instead eating an inflammatory grain one, not able to access sunshine and so on then why would the eggs they lay be any good?
It isn’t hard to find people with back garden/yard hens or smallholders in your area. Do consider supporting them or even having your own hens.