The benefits of biodynamic organic eggs
We’ve all heard of free-range and caged eggs, and most of us can say that we know the differences between the two.
However, there’s a new type that you might not have heard of, and that’s biodynamic organic eggs, created using the biodynamic method of farming.
If you haven’t heard of biodynamic farming, it’s a method of organic farming that is becoming increasingly popular today. While you may be familiar with organic farming, biodynamics varies in that it is holistic, ethical and based on a self-sustaining approach.
We’ll talk more about biodynamic organic eggs specifically a little later on, let’s first look into what biodynamic farming is, its history and the benefits.
What is biodynamic farming?
Biodynamic farming is an alternative, holistic concept developed to encourage plant growth and a completely self-sustaining ecosystem.
This type of farming is similar to organic farming in that it is more sustainable than traditional forms of farming in the modern world.
Biodynamic farms, rather than using chemicals within their practices, use manures and composts to promote soil quality and livestock health- and exclude the use of artificial fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides.
Biodynamic agriculture also advocates the fair treatment of animals and the environment- which is why you will find that biodynamic organic eggs are created from chickens that have been raised in the most natural conditions possible.
The essence of biodynamic farming, according to the Biodynamic Association is “...to be transformative” as it “seeks to maximise health and vitality”.
Biodynamic farming essentially seeks to work with nature, rather than to push the maximum production of products in order to balance the needs of both farming and growth. Hence why, within biodynamic farming, you’ll find that each product is created using natural methods- such as soil created from compost.
The history behind biodynamic agriculture
The biodynamic approach to agriculture was first developed in 1924 by Austrian scientist and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner.
Steiner’s approach was created from a foresight of the world becoming environmentally damaged due to there being too few protective practices in place to preserve the earth.
The approach was also created in response to farmers recognising the deterioration of the health of livestock due to the use of chemical fertilisers, accompanied by poor soil conditions.
Biodynamics is now thought to be one of the best farming solutions to combat climate change.
Nowadays, biodynamic farming is a movement that is increasingly growing in popularity, and for good reason. With environmental debates luring over almost every industry, it’s becoming more important for consumers to purchase products from businesses that are considered environmentally aware.
Since Steiner’s suggestions on how to improve the sustainability of farming back in the 1920s, the approach has been used around the world, with around 100 certified biodynamic businesses across the UK today.
The benefits of biodynamic eggs
There are lots of different benefits to biodynamic and organic eggs, primarily for the environment. Here, we list some of them:
Excludes the use of harmful chemicals
As discussed above, chemically produced pesticides, fertilisers, herbicides and even antibiotics are regularly used within the farming industry, which can be harmful to both livestock and the environment.
Pesticides are essentially pest killers, created to protect plants against fungal matter, bacteria and loss. While organic farms make use of natural pesticides, traditional modern farms usually use synthetic pesticides which can contaminate water systems, soils and air. Plants and fruit sprayed with pesticides could also harm humans, as they seep deep into the food and can build up in the body.
When you purchase biodynamic eggs, you can rest assured that no harmful chemicals are being used within the farming process. This leads us to our next point...
Biodynamic farms are generally better for the environment than modern farms. While modern farms use synthetic fertilisers, biodynamic farms make use of compost and manure to create an ecosystem that is self-sufficient. This makes biodynamic farms more environmentally friendly because they use fewer artificial resources which can be damaging to the environment and are more self-sustainable.
For example, they don’t use any environmentally damaging chemicals when planting or fertilising crops.
High welfare for chickens
Based on a biodynamic approach, chickens that are reared on a biodynamic farm will have access to fresh, natural soil, providing manure to fertilise the soil. So it’s a no-brainer that when you compare organically farmed eggs to traditional farmed eggs, you’re going to get eggs from chickens that have not been reared using any synthetic chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics or cages.
Choosing biodynamic eggs over others means you’re doing what’s best for the environment and for the chickens, which also means you’re consuming what’s healthier for you.
What’s more, biodynamic farms don’t use antibiotics with their livestock, and instead, allow the chickens to build up a strong immune system. For example, at Orchard Eggs, the chickens settle in movable houses throughout the orchard, allowing them to withstand various weather conditions.
Lastly, chickens in a biodynamic organic farm do not have their beaks trimmed. Instead, the large environment for living gives the chickens plenty of stimulation for activities like foraging and reduces the likelihood of behavioural issues within flocks.
Healthier chickens = better quality eggs
Happy chickens mean healthier eggs. When chickens get plenty of outdoor exercises, the quality of the eggs they produce is likely to be better than those created from caged hens.
In a biodynamic organic environment, hens are given the full outdoor treatment- plenty of space to roam around and lots of nutritious feed to keep their diets well balanced.
Biodynamic farms are also likely to be more sanitary as there’s more space for chickens to live, and since their immune systems are strong due to the environment, there’s less chance of nasty illnesses spreading.
Although there are currently few studies that prove so, there have been suggestions made that biodynamic organic eggs contain more omega-3. Chickens reared on a biodynamic farm generally have better diets, and therefore the eggs are likely to contain more omega-3 than other kinds. On a biodynamic farm, no grain or GMO products are used within the feed.
Organic vs Biodynamic: What are the differences?
While organic farming and biodynamic farming are regularly compared, there are some key differences between the two.
No external suppliers
In biodynamic farming, there is no use of external suppliers of fertilisers or feed for livestock.
Everything on a biodynamic farm is a self-sufficient ecosystem or a “self-sustaining organism in its own right” as the Biodynamic Association says.
While organic farms are generally considered better for the environment and for animal welfare, they are permitted to use organic fertilisers and other such products. On a biodynamic farm, everything used to take care of the plants and livestock is self-produced.
There are elements of spirituality
For some biodynamic farmers, there’s an element of feeling a spiritual connection to the land, life and their connections to food.
As Rudolph Steiner once said, “Every idea that does not become an ideal for you kills a force in your soul, but every idea that becomes an ideal for you creates forces of life within you.”.
Spirituality within biodynamics involves following a planting calendar, acknowledging the cosmic forces moon’s gravitational pull and the effect on different seasons as a result.
Monitoring constellations help biodynamic farmers to plan the planting and harvesting of their crops- something that is not traditionally monitored within other forms of farming.
There is a biodynamic accreditation
Demeter is the certification needed by biodynamic farms across the country to be verified in such practices. This accreditation ensures that such farms abide by the holistic and organic requirements set by the EU organic regulations.
To become certified, the farm must not use any artificial fertilisers or additives and must demonstrate processes in place to preserve and strengthen both soils and food. This helps to ensure that all biodynamic farms have the same level of quality so that consumers have transparency of exactly what they are buying and where it has been derived.
According to the Biodynamic Association, preparations are key to the practice of farming in Biodynamics. There are nine processes in total, all with their own characteristics.
From preparing compost using specific methods designed to promote soil health and to improve protection against diseases. To ‘spray preparations’, using a field spray created using cow manure and quartz meal to encourage healthy plant growth.
How to tell if something is biodynamic
Biodynamic farmers have to follow stringent rules to identify their farm as being biodynamic and to achieve the necessary accreditation. Look out for the Demeter logo when seeking biodynamic products, as this indicates that the farmer has taken the necessary steps to become certified in biodynamic farming.
Interested in buying biodynamic organic eggs after reading this blog?
Feeling Food stocks packs of six biodynamic eggs produced by Orchard Eggs, a family-run farm in East Sussex.