Talk Food

Comparison Between Free-Range Eggs, Kampung Eggs & Conventional Eggs


Updated 10th June 2023.

I’m an egg lover if you don’t know by now. I’ve been a fan of egg since I was little. Egg lights me up! 😍 Egg on everything is a welcome sight. Years back when we were told eggs are high in cholesterol, so don’t eat too much, I was broken. Why?? Why is this super delicious egg bad for health? The thing is my egg consumption and love for it never dwindled. And I’m glad I stayed through. Last year, I found out cholesterol is not a bad thing. Cholesterol is needed by our body for building and reparation. We need cholesterol to survive. In fact, our brain uses the most cholesterol. So yeah, don’t fear cholesterol ya. What you need to be mindful of is the processed and junk food out there. They are the culprit to inflammation.

Free-Range Egg, Conventional Egg & Kampung Egg
Eggs, eggs, I 💗 you!
Clockwise from left: Free-range egg, conventional egg & kampung egg.

Few months back, I was able to get hold of free-range eggs, kampung eggs (village) and conventional eggs (factory-raised) at the same time. I decided to make some comparisons on them because it’s not every day I get this chance. And in the process, I had a shocking revelation.

All this time, I thought kampung eggs are ‘almost’ free-range eggs because kampung chickens live in the village and therefore get to roam around freely and only at night or in bad weather will they stay in the coop. In actuality, kampung chickens are just a breed usually found in the village, and may or may not be caged (as in 24 hours without seeing the outdoors). *Horrors* Caged kampung chickens have the same quality as conventional chickens because they never get to run outside freely and instead, live in a packed area with many not able to move around at all. In summary, they are living in conditions similar to conventional chickens = not good. So, make sure you ask eggs sellers about the living condition of the kampung chickens. You don’t want to pay too much $$ for caged kampung eggs.

Let’s compare the differences between free-range eggs, conventional eggs & kampung eggs.

1. Sizes and colors of shells.

Free-Range Egg, Conventional Egg & Kampung Egg
Clockwise from left: Free-range egg, conventional egg & kampung egg.

The conventional egg shown here is size A and in Malaysia, conventional eggs are almost always brown in color. Because of the A size, it’s larger than the free-range egg and kampung egg. Kampung eggs are usually small in size and have a pale yellow yolk. The kampung eggs that I bought were from caged kampung chicken, unfortunately.

2. Volume and colors of raw eggs.

Free-Range Egg, Conventional Egg & Kampung Egg
Anticlockwise from left: Free-range egg, conventional egg & kampung egg.

In their raw forms, the conventional egg has the most volume and egg white quantity while its yolk is the lightest. Surprisingly, this kampung egg has the darkest orange yolk.

3. Taste test and colors of cooked eggs.

3a. Fried eggs:
Free-Range, Conventional & Kampung Fried Eggs
Clockwise from left: Free-range egg, conventional egg & kampung egg.

Once fried, the free-range’s yolk color is as dark orange as a kampung egg, while the conventional egg remains a light yellow. Taste-wise, both conventional’s and kampung’s yolks impart very less flavor. As for the yolk of free-range, it is creamy and has a great yolky flavor.

3b. Half-boiled eggs:
Free-Range, Conventional & Kampung Half-Boiled Eggs
Clockwise from bottom left: Free-range egg, conventional egg & kampung egg.

Obviously, I use different eggs from all of the above as they were fried and eaten. For these half-boiled eggs (aka soft-boiled), both the kampung’s and conventional’s yolks are yellow in color, while the free-range’s egg yolk is dark orange just like it’s raw and fried forms. Taste-wise, both free-range’s and kampung’s yolks are creamy and has yolky flavor while conventional’s egg yolk has very less flavor.

In conclusion, only the free-range eggs have full-bodied flavors and in my opinion, have the best nutrient availability compared to the rest. It’s rich, creamy and delicious and is my no. 1 choice among the three. Ultimately, the best eggs are from chickens that are pasture-raised, organic, not injected with chemicals, not fed with grains, non-GMO and live a good happy life.

Free-Range Egg
Free-range egg.

While I was learning about eggs, I found out that the color of the yolk doesn’t indicate how healthy the chicken/egg is. *Shocking to the max* I always thought dark orange yolk indicates the chicken is either pasture-raised or free-range. Take the kampung egg I experimented with above for instance. The chickens were caged and yet one of the eggs I showed above has a dark orange yolk. How is this possible? Easy. The colors of the egg yolks are determined by what the chickens eat. If one is to feed the chicken such as marigold, alfalfa or corn, the yolk will be dark orange in color.

Though pasture-raised and free-range eggs are the healthiest(er) choices and also the most expensive eggs in the market (but why?), I would buy it infrequently deeming the high price because I eat eggs by the cartons each month! I would go pokkai (bankrupt) if I buy everything free-range.

Btw, if you’re curious how I am able to eat eggs by the cartons each month, it’s because I eat at least 3 eggs every day. I eat 3 raw eggs as my first meal of the day in the form of a smoothie. And I might cook my eggs on someday like half-boiled, scrambled or fried as an accompaniment to my meals. Yes, I eat conventional-raised eggs and chickens.

Free-Range, Conventional & Kampung Fried Eggs
Eggs for days!

Tsk, pasture-raised is the traditional way of raising chickens. So, why is it that the chickens and eggs raised this way are so expensive while factory-raised-grain-fed-additives-and-antibiotics-injected chickens and eggs are affordable? I think it’s only when we lower the prices of pasture-raised and free-range chickens and eggs, can more people start choosing better options. And if the demand is not there for conventional-raised, that’s when poultry production (including other caged farmed animals) will make a great shift towards betterness (especially better life for the animals). Well, at least that’s what I envision and hope for.

In Malaysia, it’s extremely difficult to find (I think none!) animal foods that are 100% pasture-raised, grass-fed (cow, goat), free-range, not fed additives and injected with antibiotics, not fed grains, non-GMO and have a good happy life in the farm. If you know one, tell me.

Updated June 2023:
Over the years, I’ve learned more about eggs and here are my findings. For one, what’s labeled as pasture-raised/free-range/cage-free may or may not be what it is. Why is that so? Anyone can label anything for there’s no regulation in Malaysia. What constitutes pasture-raised eggs? What are the living condition and diet of the chickens for it to be called pasture-raised? Question it!

I’m not a fan of eggs where the chickens have been purposely fed with food to make the yolk (dark) orange and/or give other so-called benefits. They’re unnatural. If you want to produce the best eggs, pasture-raised and organic is the ultimate way. Period.

A while back, I found kampung eggs where the chickens free-ranged (as claimed by the seller). With many years of crushing eggshells with barehand under my belts for gardening purpose, I can tell you that healthy or high-quality eggs have tough eggshells. Try crushing conventional eggshells vs pasture-raised/free-range eggshells, you’ll feel the stark difference! And yes, this free-range kampung eggs have tough eggshells.

Then, very recently, surprise surprise I found pasture-raised eggs at one of the supermarkets. My jaw fell to the floor due to this revelation. But then, that’s what the label says. We would need to investigate further if the claim is real. I also almost cough blood because the price is steep. If I’m not mistaken it’s about +RM20~+RM30 for 10 eggs.

In recent times, I’ve also started to incorporate duck eggs into my diet. Duck eggs are way superior to chicken eggs. They have higher fat and protein contents which are good for us. However, duck eggs spoil easily in our hot and humid weather. But the effect it contributes on my health is so telling. For one, my hair and skin turned silky smooth in just a few days of consuming duck eggs! Never before with all those countless chemical-laden lotions I smeared on my skin.

Then, I started to question. Are duck eggs always pasture-raised or free-range? Because I’ve never heard of caged duck eggs. The duck eggs that I bought are always covered with mud and poop. So, surely it’s pasture-raised/free-range, right? Let me know if you know the answer. So, what I want to say is if you only have conventional eggs within reach, why not strive for duck eggs (although may be more difficult to source) which are more nutrient-dense and if I’m correct the ducks have a better life.

For me, I go for free-range and conventional eggs depends on whichever one I can find when I need to buy eggs. If both options are available, I will choose the better one. Pasture-raised chicken eggs are not within reach for me yet. If I find duck eggs, I will buy both chicken and duck for variety purpose and because duck eggs cannot keep fresh for long (even refrigerated & why not many are selling duck eggs anymore) so I don’t buy many.

I wish all the animals are free to roam. That’s the way of life. We can only do what we can and take one baby step at a time. So, if you’re a chicken/pork/beef and egg producers, we hope and wish you would go the pasture-raised & organic route. Many will be supporting you, including me!

p/s: I’d removed the word grass-fed in this post. I was sorely mistaken. Chicken can never ever be grass-fed. They are omnivores.

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22 Comments

  • Reply Edward Lim May 7, 2019 at 11:09 am

    You are right about yolk color determined by chickens diet. I’ve been consuming Yummykai Free Range and recently made a comparison with Premiers Free Range eggs. Latter is much lighter with clear yellow yolk (just like in the link) and pleasant flavour whereas Yummykai has much darker orange yolk with a heavy eggy taste (hope u know what i mean). I am still trying to compare which is better for long term consumption. Let me know if you have tried these free range eggs.

    https://www.malaymail.com/news/life/2016/02/21/uncle-rani-chicken-farm-where-happy-chickens-live-and-change-the-way-we-thi/1063851

    Cheers..
    Edward

    • Reply Che-Cheh May 7, 2019 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Edward, I’ve have tried the eggs from both Yummykai & Premiers. I placed a little caution on those eggs because of the cage-free labeling. I don’t really fancy cage-free eggs because they are just a level better than conventional eggs but no better than pasture-raised or free-range eggs. Cage-free and free-range ain’t the same. Ideally, a pasture-raised + free range chicken hence eggs really just spend their days foraging the lands, and in this modern world, they are given feeds in addition to their foraged meals.

      I’ve read about Uncle Rani but have not given the farm a visit. Would love to check the place out soon. Have you tried Uncle Rani’s chicken and eggs? Also, DQ chicken and eggs, have you tried them? I’ve tried DQ chicken and their sister’s company Al-Mashyur chicken and find their chickens quite tough. Have not had the chance to try their eggs yet.

  • Reply Edward Lim June 21, 2019 at 3:46 pm

    Hi Che-Cheh, pardon me for the late response. Yummykai does indicate both cage & free range on its cover though we can’t tell which is which. There isn’t much info we can find online on these supposedly ‘free range’ producers. I just read bout DQ but i have no idea where to purchase their eggs. As for Uncle Rani, i’ve yet to pay them a visit but i’ve heard they only sell/serve free range chicken

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 23, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Hi Edward, it’s okay. 🙂 You can try Pasar Besar Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (stall no. TS18) for DQ eggs if you live near there or even several shops at Damansara areas. Check out their FB for more info.

  • Reply Puva February 13, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Jaya grocer has it

    • Reply Che-Cheh February 24, 2020 at 12:33 pm

      Hi Puva, recently I saw Village Grocer carrying Yummykai & Premiers.

  • Reply Fahmin August 24, 2021 at 2:17 am

    Which brand in Malaysia is truly pasture raised free range chicken egg?

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 24, 2021 at 10:28 am

      Hi Fahmin, for branded ones, I have no answer for it as I do not know how they TRULY operate.

  • Reply krystle October 31, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    Hi, wanted to find out where we can get a pasture-raised free-range chicken eggs in bulk?

    • Reply Che-Cheh November 5, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Hi Krystle, sorry for the late reply. I can’t find any pasture-raised eggs here. Only free-range.

  • Reply Gerard Runham June 4, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Hi really interesting article. I am an expat in KL and even eggs labeled ‘free range’ actually do not appear to be so.

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 10, 2023 at 2:12 pm

      Hi Gerard, yes, you’re right. There’s no regulation on pasture-raised/free-range/cage-free namings in Malaysia.

  • Reply Isaac June 14, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    Yeah, the terms of free-range, kampung, organic is merely a marketing gimmick, does not bring true meaning

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 15, 2023 at 1:41 pm

      Hi Isaac, yes, some are marketing gimmicks, but I think some just don’t know the real meaning of those terms.

  • Reply janet June 25, 2023 at 5:14 pm

    hi. thanks for your article. enjoy duck eggs too. may i know where did you get the duck eggs?

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 30, 2023 at 2:04 pm

      Hi, thank you! I buy duck eggs from Village Grocer and Jaya Grocer. AEON also have them but they’re not fresh. You can also try searching duck eggs at your local wet market.

  • Reply Damien September 30, 2023 at 5:24 am

    There are pasture raised chickens/eggs. But not known by many. Because supply is not always consistent with demand depending on the chicken laying eggs, if it’s sick etc. I buy pasture raised chickens/eggs. You have to find those who breed their own chicken.

    • Reply Che-Cheh October 6, 2023 at 10:12 am

      Hi Damien, thanks for sharing. Yes, it’s just not known. Would you kindly share you source? I’m sure many including me would like to consume pasture raised chickens & eggs.

  • Reply Sherifah November 1, 2023 at 1:06 am

    Just curious about your remark with regards to hair n skin being better after your duck eggs consumption. Are you still eating duck eggs and is the hair n skin getting better? Byw why would duck egg spoils easier than chicken egg, assuming it is refrigerated the same as we do with chicken eggs.

    • Reply Che-Cheh November 2, 2023 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Sherifah, I only buy duck eggs if I’m able to get them at the fresh market or pasar malam which is far in between. I tried buying duck eggs a few times from supermarkets and almost always they gave me diarrhea. I guess they’re not fresh. As of now, I’m using ghee as my main cooking fat (I use it very liberally) and the effects are just like duck eggs. Ghee also makes my hair and skin awesome and the more I eat it, the more benefits I experience. You should try it. Don’t be afraid of cholesterol. They are not what we’re told. Eat animal fats and stay away from vegetable oils. You can find out more about cholesterol at https://www.westonaprice.org/.

      An egg seller told me that duck eggs spoil easier hence she doesn’t stock up duck eggs. Also, from my experience of eating chicken eggs and duck eggs, I only have trouble with duck eggs (even when they smell good) aka diarrhea unless the chicken egg is already rotten and I consume it. From this, I conclude that duck eggs spoil faster. Of course, I may be wrong. I’ve read that if you don’t wash the eggs, it will last longer and duck eggs that I buy are 100% unwashed plus they come with poo on the shells. So, duck eggs should’ve lasted longer. My guess why duck eggs spoil easier is because of their precious high fat content and way of storage before reaching the buyer’s hand (Malaysia is hot and humid). Egg sellers most probably don’t refrigerate their eggs (air-cond for some but still not cool enough). I don’t know how egg suppliers store the eggs though. Also, we don’t know how the egg suppliers treat the eggs. Did they inject some preservatives into the chicken eggs since chicken eggs are eaten by the masses, mass-produced and so they need the chicken eggs to last longer? Duck eggs meanwhile are not so popular.

      Lastly, (I know this is getting very long), if I were to compare duck eggs and ghee from my own experience, duck eggs will give me shiny and smooth hair and skin in just like 2-3 days of daily consumption while I can see the effects of ghee after 3-6 days. So, yeah duck eggs are superior!

      p/s: Consuming huge amounts of chicken eggs, butter and lard never gave me these kinds of effects. Only duck eggs and ghee do, so far. I haven’t tried tallow, suet, schmaltz & other animal fats.

      pp/s: If you ever buy eggs from the fresh market or pasar malam, try asking them if it’s true that duck eggs spoil faster. I will do that too because I’m still curious.

  • Reply Ting January 19, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    Was researching on eggs quality and found your write up.. do you also know what’s the difference between pearl and Napier egg in comparison to the other types of eggs? I’m under the impression that pearl and Napier eggs comes from chicken eating better quality feeds and tends to have more outdoor time..?

    • Reply Che-Cheh January 28, 2024 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Ting, I’ve never heard of Pearl & Napier eggs. For me, as long as the chickens consume its natural food, live a good life and have a clean home, that is good enough for me.

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