"Free Range" Eggs Are Not All They're Cracked Up To Be

Many consumers buy eggs in the grocery store that are labelled as "Free Range" believing that the eggs are from birds that are more humanely raised than those on "factory farms."  The term "free range" conjures up idyllic images of chickens raised in open green fields.  However, the truth is very far from this.

According to the USDA definition, free range chickens are ones that "have access to the outside." There is no requirement that the birds have access to pasture or what number of birds can be kept in a given amount of space. What "free range" often means in practice is that hundreds or thousands of birds are kept in a crowded coop with a small door leading to a concrete yard.  Many of these so called "free range" birds may never actually see the outside in their lifetimes.

The reality of "free range" is a reminder why we can take pride in our decision to become backyard chicken owners.  We can provide birds with a better life in return for the joy and eggs they give to us.

What we believe "Free Range" should look like. It's a far cry from the reality of industry today


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