by Kevin Farrell for USA TODAY 10Best

Why are brown eggs more expensive than white eggs?

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Brown eggs rose to prominence largely through marketing. A carton of brown eggs seemed to communicate to the buyer that the chickens had been offered a better life, or had been loved even.

You don't need to shell out more for those brown eggs. They're actually no healthier for you than white eggs.

It turns out that the higher cost of brown eggs has to do with how the eggs are formed within the hen.

All eggs get their start within a hen’s ovary when it is released as a yolk. The yolk is then carried into the infundibulum, the first part of the oviduct.

If the egg does not get fertilized, the yolk then journeys on to the magnum, where the albumen (what we commonly call the egg white) is formed around the yolk.

After one more stop in the isthmus, where further membranes are deposited around the albumen, the egg advances to the uterus.

A hen’s uterus is also called her shell gland pouch.

Over the course of a 24-hour stay here, the shell is created around the soft innards of the egg in a process that sees layer after layer of white shell effectively "painted" on by the gland pouch.

Once the shell is formed, a white egg-laying hen will experience uterine contractions and eventually lay the egg.

But for hens that lay brown eggs, there’s an additional step before the egg can be released.

Creating this brown pigment daily takes more energy and nutrients, and therefore more food. Hens that lay brown eggs have to eat more feed than hens who lay white eggs.

Supporting a farm full of brown-egg chickens costs a farmer more money than if they were to support an identical number of white-egg chickens.

So it’s the additional feed costs that lead to brown eggs being more expensive than white eggs.

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