This housing system offers all the amenities of Free Run housing with the the additional option for the hens to go outside, weather and environmental conditions permitting. In order to meet organic standards, the hens must be fed organic ration and be housed in a Free Range barn.
The hens are free to roam indoors and outdoors – weather permitting, of course. Access to food and water can be more challenging to monitor with larger open-concept social groups like these. Monitoring and ensuring the well-being of free-range hens requires more resources to keep a healthy barn operating.
Outdoor access provides the hens the ability to scratch and forage. While Free Range and Free Run barn systems offer the greatest amount of freedom to the hens, they have a much higher carbon footprint and require a much higher operating cost than Conventional and Enriched.
The eggs are rolled out from the nesting area onto a conveyor belt for collection. These belts carry the eggs to a centralized collection area where the eggs are automatically packed wide-end up to keep the yolk centred.
In a Free Range barn, although hens have access to the outdoors, most prefer the inside comfort and safety of the barn. This is also true in the summertime, as the barn interiors are kept cool. Hens prefer the barn interior, where they feel safe and find their feed, water, and nesting boxes.