Why Are My Egg Yolks Orange? The color, while gorgeous, isn’t necessarily a sign of better flavor or nutrition. An egg with deep, sunset-orange yolks is a thing of beauty, but where does that color come from? It’s not a natural trait of a fancy European breed of hen or a sign of overly pampered birds.
The shade of an egg yolk is completely determined by the hen’s diet. Hens who are given feed full of yellow-orange pigments will lay eggs with darker yolks. It’s as simple as that! No artificial coloring is allowed in chicken feed, but some farmers will add marigold petals to give egg yolks an orangey color boost.
No artificial color additives are allowed in chicken feed, so any orange yolks you spot come from a pure source. Often marigold flowers are added to a hen’s diet to achieve the color. Free-range birds often snack on grass and small insects, which are also high in carotenoids.
An orange yolk and a yellow one are the same nutritionally. Some studies say that free-range eggs have more omega-3s and lower cholesterol, though we know now that any hen, free-range or not, can make an orange yolk with the right diet.
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