Edit (13/10/2015): I have updated this post with new information.
No, there are none. Well, that’s a bummer way to start a blog post I know. But I found out some time ago that our local chickens are not allowed to roam freely outside because of restrictions by the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA). Free-range eggs are as essential to the paleo diet as grass-fed beef. Not only is it more humane to allow chickens to roam outside and live like chickens, free range eggs are also more nutritious. Chickens allowed to roam around get to feed on worms, grub and other creatures they dig out from the soil. Commercial chickens that are caged up eat only corn, soya or whatever commercial feed that is given to them.
Indeed, because there are no free range chickens in Singapore, we have to be wary of mislabeling. In Singapore and Malaysia, the word “kampong” conjures up images of happy chooks running around in the dirt surrounded by children scampering around barefoot playing with fighting spiders. However, “kampong eggs” are not the same as eggs laid by free-range chickens.
I have been buying this brand called Coral eggs (from Malaysia Kampong). The packaging also claims that the eggs are anti-drug residue and anti-colouring. They sell for $2.40 for 10 eggs and are available at NTUC Fairprice.
I read that one good way to test if eggs are from free-range chickens was to look at the colour of the yolk. An insect-rich diet is supposed to cause the yolk to turn more orange than commercial eggs. As you can see from the photo below, the coral egg yolks are indeed a beautiful orange, which made me hopeful that the eggs came from chickens that were eating worms outdoors.
I contacted Khwan Hup Farming to ask if their chickens are free range. Their reply was:
“All our kampong eggs are battery caged. However, they are housed in less congested environment. They are fed with added-value feeds to give you a better yolk colour.” – Freddy Choo
Alas, how disappointing. It looks like the best alternative are the Freedom Range eggs, where the chicken live in spacious barns in Singapore. The chickens are managed by Chew’s farm according to Freedom Range Co’s specifications.
The eggs can be found at Fairprice Finest stores located around the island, including Bukit Timah, Upper Thomson, Marine Parade, Tampines and Somerset 111. For a full list of locations, click here. Alternatively, you can purchase them online here. A box of six eggs go for $3.90, which I think is a fair price to pay for ethical farming.
I will continue to update this page as I uncover more information and as egg suppliers reply my emails. Ultimately, I think that the best we can hope for in Singapore are chickens that roam free indoors because I suspect that AVA will not allow eggs from true free-range chickens to be sold here. Please leave your advice and suggestions in this post as I know we are all concerned about animal welfare!