Cage-Free vs. Free-Range Eggs: What’s the Difference?

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Cage-Free vs. Free-Range Eggs

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At the grocery store, you’re probably faced with a choice between cage-free and free-range eggs. But what’s the difference between the two? And which one is the better choice for you?

In this blog post, we’ll look at the key differences between cage-free and free-range eggs and help you decide which one best fits your needs.

What are cage-free eggs?

Cage-free eggs come from hens that are not confined to cages. Instead, they are raised in larger, more spacious housing where they can move around freely. This is unlike in conventional factory farms, where hens are typically kept in small wire cages.

While cage-free systems provide hens with more space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors like walking, perching, and nesting, it’s worth noting that cage-free does not necessarily mean the hens have access to the outdoors.

The specific conditions and standards for cage-free systems may vary. You need to understand the specific practices of the farm or brand you are purchasing from to ensure the welfare of the hens.

What are free-range eggs?

Free-range eggs come from hens that have access to the outdoors. This means that they can roam freely and scratch in the dirt, which is thought to improve their overall health and well-being.

Free-range chickens are typically housed in barns or structures with outdoor access during daylight hours. Free-range systems aim to provide hens with a more natural and spacious environment, allowing them to exhibit their natural behaviors and have a higher quality of life.

However, there is no set definition, specific standards, or regulations for “free-range,” so the amount of time that hens actually spend outdoors can vary depending on the farm.

The pros and cons of cage-free eggs


  • Cage-free hens have more space to move around, which can improve their overall health and well-being.
  • Cage-free eggs are typically more affordable than free-range eggs.


  • Cage-free hens are still typically kept in large barns with thousands of other hens.
  • There is no guarantee that cage-free hens have access to natural light or fresh air.

The pros and cons of free-range eggs


  • Free-range hens have access to the outdoors, which can improve their overall health and well-being.
  • Free-range eggs are typically higher in omega-3 fatty acids than cage-free eggs.
  • Free-range systems promote a more sustainable approach to egg production. Hens can forage for insects and plants, reducing the need for synthetic feed and minimizing the environmental impact associated with intensive farming practices.


  • Free-range eggs can be more expensive than cage-free eggs.
  • There is no guarantee that free-range hens have unlimited access to the outdoors.

Which type of egg is right for you?

The best type of egg for you depends on your preferences and priorities.

If you’re concerned about the welfare of hens, then free-range eggs may be a better choice for you. However, if you’re looking for the most affordable option, then cage-free eggs may be a better choice.

Ultimately, deciding which type of egg to buy is up to you. But now that you know the difference between cage-free and free-range eggs, you can make an informed decision that’s right for you.


Cage-free and free-range eggs are both better for hens than conventional eggs, but there are some key differences between the two.

  • Luke Rooks

    Luke is a passionate environmental advocate based in upstate New York. When he's not sharing tips on sustainability and wellness, you can find him hiking with his dog, Max.

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