What's the difference?
Free range Hens are in hen houses but have access to an outdoor range for at least eight hours during the day. They use the houses for roosting, laying, drinking and eating. More than 25 per cent of eggs produced in Australia are free range.
Barn laid Hens in barn-laid farming systems do not live in cages and are housed in large hen houses that are designed to keep them clean and healthy.
Cage These eggs come from hens that are housed in crowded cages located within a hen house. Cages typically accommodate between four and 20 hens and range in size from 1800cmÇ to 11,000cmÇ. In Australia, the minimum space allowance for hens in cages is 550cmÇ per hen. Approximately 68 per cent of eggs produced in Australia come from hens housed in cage-farming systems. Choose thoughtfully.
Then there are....
Organic Produced under a free-range farming system from hens fed a diet at least 95 per cent organically grown. There are a number of bodies in Australia that certify organic egg production.
Omega-3 These are produced by giving hens feed that contains a higher proportion of omega-3 and vitamin E than regular feed.
Vegetarian These eggs come from hens that are fed a diet that does not contain any ingredient sourced from either meat or fish. Vegetarian eggs can only be sourced from barn or cage systems where the hens are directly fed and do not forage.
Things to remember
The nutritional value of eggs does not differ between cage, barn-laid or free-range egg farming systems, although partially cooked runny eggs are best avoided by infants, elderly and pregnant women. You can keep your eggs fresh by storing them in the fridge in their original carton, just make sure to check the use-by date before cooking them.