What Are “Free Range” Eggs?
(And is it the same as Cage Free?)
It’s a sad fact of agriculture: Most U.S. egg-laying hens spend their whole lives confined in cramped, wire-floored “battery” cages, often stacked in frighteningly high towers. There’s no room to stretch their wings, or even move much. It’s an unhappy and unhealthy way to live.
Our hens are free range, and always will be. They live in spacious barns, with pasture access, where they can move around as they please, lay their eggs in a nest, scratch, and roost. Our free range hens can act like chickens!
Don’t be fooled by factory CAGE FREE! More and more organic eggs are now touting “cage-free” on their labels these days because of the high consumer demand. Some of them are still crowding too many hens into simply bigger cages than before (and thus able still to say cage free as they are considered “enhanced cages”). Others are using Aviary Systems that are floor to ceiling enclosures that do allow hens some freedom of movement, but are also being used to cram hundreds of thousands of hens into a single “barn.” This video will show you what we mean when we say don’t be fooled.
Even some Organic brands are being allowed to deny their hens any outdoor access because they were “grandfathered” in. Learn more about the types of eggs in this VIDEO.
That’s why all our organic, free range eggs are also labeled Certified Humane®, meeting the rigorous requirements of the “gold standard” of farm animal care. That certification and our brand name is your guarantee that our free range hens’ are truly raised in a humane, sustainable, and healthy manner!
Outdoor access to organic grass—with care. Our organic, free range hens have plenty of access to the outdoors, on organic grass fields. Most of the year, they roam as they please outside our barns on organically-grown grass, amid clover and wildflowers.
Outdoor access for our free range hens is important, but we also have to ensure that our hens are safe from predators and disease from wild birds.
In accordance with Certified Humane standards, we protect our free range hens by not allowing them outside during the following conditions:
- During cold and inclement weather (would you want to go outside barefoot in the middle of a New England winter? Hens generally feel the same way).
- When ground predators such as fox and coyote are seen in the immediate area.
- During migratory bird season, or when large flocks of small birds roost nearby, to prevent exposure to diseases such as avian mites or Avian Flu.
When the free range hens do need or want to be inside our barns, they still have dirt “scratch areas” where they can contentedly engage in their natural behaviors.