Pastured versus free range eggs

15 September 2016

Free range versus pastured

New free range egg rules allow for up to 10 000 hens per hectare but where do genuinely low density, pasture raised eggs fall?

Pasture raised. If the provenance of food is important to you, you may want to familiarise yourself with this term. New “free range” egg rules allow for up to 10 000 hens per hectare. It’s not exactly palatial. Farmers who run their chickens at low density on real pasture are labelling their product as “pastured eggs” to differentiate them from the more densely farmed larger “free range” commercial products.

Pastured – a definition: All animals are born and raised outdoors with continuous and unconfined access to pasture throughout their lifetime. They are kept at a stocking intensity that will ensure forage is always available in a sustainably managed rotational grazing system.

An independent licensing and accreditation company called PROOF- Pasture Raised on Open Fields has been created to provide transparency to the industry.

When lobbying for the new free range egg guidelines many producers, along with consumer group Choice, had argued the density should be capped at the lower number of 1,500 hens per hectare.

I’m in agreeance are you?

To help you navigate your egg choice, an app by Choice called ‘CluckAR’ scans egg carton labels and determines the stocking density of the company if they have made it available therefore the transparency of a producer is also supported by the app.

Want to know more?

Check out the Landline story on Pastured Eggs here:



Eggs to look out for


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