Free range egg production

The EU egg marketing regulation stipulates that for eggs to be termed 'free range', hens must have continuous daytime access to runs which are mainly covered with vegetation and a maximum stocking density of 2,500 birds per hectare. The hen house conditions for free range hens must comply with the regulations for birds kept in barn systems, with a maximum stocking density of 9 hens per square metre of useable area.  

Hens must be provided with next boxes.  Adequate perches, providing 15 centimetres of perch per hen, must also be provided.  Litter must be provided, accounting for one-third of the ground surface - this is used for scratching and dust bathing.

Additional requirements of the Lion code

The Lion Quality Code of Practice stipulates the same additional standards for Lion Quality free range hens as for Lion Quality barn hens plus provision of outdoor shading in absence of a veranda and one pop-hole per 600 birds open for 8 hours daily to allow access to the outside; maximum flock size of 16,000 birds divided into colonies of 4,000 where flock size is over 6,000 birds in total; a maximum stocking density of 2,000 birds per hectare.  The width and height of the popholes is greater than required by EU legislation.

Find out more about egg facts and figures.

Find out more about egg production.