Australian farmers use three main systems to produce the eggs we buy in the supermarket. Each production system has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, efficiency, animal welfare, disease control and environmental impact.
Here is an Overview of each production system to save you time staring at the shelves.
Most eggs sold in Australia are cage eggs. These eggs come from hens that are permanently housed in cages within a shed. Hens in this system enjoy the benefits of better disease control, protection from predators and significantly lower mortalities.
Cage Free Barn Laid
Hens in barn systems are free to roam within a shed, designed to keep them clean and healthy. Although they do not have access to an outdoor range, hens in this system can move around freely while benefitting from protection from predators and poor weather. Greater monitoring is required by farmers to prevent disease and attacks from other hens in a barn laid system.
Free range eggs come from hens housed in sheds with access to an outdoor range during the day. They return to the sheds for roosting, laying, eating and drinking. Farmers who house free range flocks must pay close attention to their birds to minimise the occurrence of cannibalism, disease and predator attacks.