Barnyard Buddies

Egg Yolk Color and Richness

By Jesse Laflamme

Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Share

Egg Yolk Color and Richness

We frequently receive compliments about the dark, rich color of our egg yolks, especially when compared to the light, pale egg yolks from factory farms.

What causes a richer, darker egg yolk color?

The answer is, not surprisingly, the hen’s diet. Our Nellie’s Free Range hens receive a high-quality feed mixture of protein sources, minerals, and essential elements to help them thrive. But, contrary to what some people think, hens are not vegetarians. The feed they get at Nellie’s is vegetarian and contains no animal by-products (or antibiotics), but when they get to head outside every day, the world is their oyster, so to speak. They love to nibble on clover and whatever other tasty flora they can find in the pasture. They also love to eat worms and insects, which is another great source of protein for them.

The combination of our healthy feed mix and whatever they can forage for outside is what creates the deep, full egg yolk color you see.

Are darker egg yolks more nutritious?

You can’t judge on that basis alone, but more than likely, darker yolks like ours have been fed a richer, healthier diet.

We’re proud of the free range lives our hens lead and we love that their happiness can translate into your happiness with a better egg.


TinaAugust 02, 2019

Where may I purchase your eggs? Do all the major grocery store carry your ages.


Hi Tina! Thanks for reaching out to us. Yes, you'll find our Nellie's Free Range Eggs in many grocery stores nationwide. We welcome you to check out our egg locator for specific area information: Thanks for reaching out!

JasonApril 21, 2019

I just got 2 dozen of your eggs and all 4 of the first eggs I used we're light yellow yolks. This is not normal from my experience with your eggs. Did something change?


That certaily is not normal, Jason, and we thank you for bringing it to our attention. You’re absolutely right that free range eggs should have darker, sometimes orange yolks, and that is indeed what we and other consumers tend to see in our eggs. While free range has many benefits, we’ve also found that it leads to more variability in yolk color due to different grazing habits and preferences from hen to hen. Flock age can also be a factor when it comes to inconsistencies in yolk color. Whatever the case may be, we really appreciate you letting us know and we’re incredibly sorry for this unfortunate experience. We’d like to look into your particular batch of eggs right away, so if you could please send us an email at [email protected], we'll gather some information from you and also make sure we can replace those eggs for you as well. 💜Jocelyn

Teresa BowenFebruary 16, 2019

How long are Nellies eggs stored before they are put out on a grocery store shelf? Are Nellies eggs safe to eat raw?


Hi Teresa! We would encourage you to check out our other blog post called "Adventure of the Egg." The typical time from nest to table is about 25 days. That is well within what USDA recommends for fresh egg consumption and still leaves plenty of time for you to store in your refrigerator before eating. The 3 digit number printed on the outside of your carton tells you what day of the year the eggs were packaged if you're curious to see at the grocery store. Unfortunately, we cannot officially recommend eating our eggs raw, because they're unpasteurized, but you can pasteurize them in your own kitchen if you so desire. We hope this helps!

DavidJanuary 17, 2019

Where are the majority of your eggs produced? What states in the USA, or other countries if applicable? Thanks for the great eggs.


Great question, David! You can find a map of our 45 partner farms here:

AshleyJanuary 12, 2019

I discovered what yolks should look like when I went glamping and purchased fresh eggs from the owners of the campsite's gardens section. At first, When I cracked open the first egg, I was shocked at the rich orange color and thought something was wrong, then I thought about it. I can never go back to eggs with pale yellow yolks - I am thankful for the humane treatment and happy environment you provide your hens.


How fun, Ashley! We appreciate your support for local egg farmers and for our hens, too. Most importantly, thank you for voting for humane practices with your dollar.

Judith Gage-NesmithOctober 29, 2018

What a difference in the free range eggs! I’ve known that since I was a little girl, and I am 77 now! All my life I’ve looked for farm eggs and that orange gold yolk. I found it in your eggs!


Hi Judith! We too are glad that you found our eggs. Thanks for supporting our small family farms!

Regina WrightOctober 10, 2018

I read that corn helps give yolks a darker color. Do you include corn in your feed mixture?


Great question, Regina. Our supplementary feed is primarily made up of corn and soy, but we find that the high-protein insects and grubs that our free range hens forage for outdoors has a much greater effect on yolk color than other factors. We hope this helps answer your question!