Which came first?
It is thought that wild fowl were domesticated a few thousand years ago according to Egyptian and Chinese records leading to what is now, about 200 breeds and varieties of chickens worldwide. Not surprisingly in the past century, just like a lot of other industries, the business of egg production has turned from a mostly small farm system to a highly industrialized system that has increased production of the hens and decreased their mortality rate substantially. There are roughly 300 million laying birds in the U.S. that produces about 75 billion eggs a year, about 10% of the world supply.
There has been evidence that the highly industrialized process of producing eggs isn’t a healthy environment for the chicken, due to the lack exercise, exposure to fresh air, and a diet higher in a broader range of nutrients from grazing. The result being a chicken producing an egg that might not have all the nutrients we would get from a chicken with a diet that was more “wild” and spending time outside. In response to this information, smaller scale industrial farms are attempting to produce higher quality eggs.
When shopping you will often see multitudes of choices with catch phrases emblazoned on the packaging such as