Barn-laid eggs are a good alternative to cage eggs, and a well-managed barn that provides enrichment for the hen can be just as welfare friendly for a hen as a proper free-range facility. From an animal welfare perspective it’s a myth that barn is second best. It’s all about who is operating the system and to what standards they adhere.
Many eggs are now being marketed as ‘cage free’. Essentially, cage-free eggs are barn-laid eggs. Hens are not kept in cages but instead are able to move throughout large sheds. All barns have nest boxes, but not all barns have perches or litter (some barns have slats or wire-mesh flooring). Australia needs good poultry welfare standards to ensure that all birds are provided with the things birds need.
RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme standards require that the hens in a barn-laid egg production system are provided with nest boxes for laying their eggs, perches for roosting, objects to peck at, and litter for scratching, foraging and dust bathing.
To learn more about the RSPCA Approved Farming Scheme or to download the standards visit our website.