Farming Methods

Farming Methods

There are currently four farming methods in New Zealand. From 2022 this will reduce to three when the existing cage system is phased out.

What are the Different Egg Farming Housing Methods in New Zealand?

Barn Raised Eggs: Produced by hens living in flocks that are free to roam inside a barn with access to perches, nest boxes and scratching areas but do not roam outdoors

Cage Systems*: Produced by hens living in cages that do not have perches, nest boxes or catching areas.

Colony Raised Eggs: Produced by flocks of hens living in colony cages where they have greater space, perches, nest boxes and scratching areas but do not roam outside 

Free Range Eggs: Produced by hens living in flocks that are free to roam and access perches, nest boxes, scratching areas and the outdoors

For more information on egg farming in New Zealand visit For information on the NZ, Egg Production Industry click here.

Important Things to Know

  • Egg Farmers are committed to providing New Zealanders with choice, which includes – a range of price points, the way the hens are farmed, the size of eggs, brands, and retail packaging options. 
  • The barn, colony and free-range methods of farming eggs all meet the legislated Quality and Welfare Standards. No system (except for the cage) is better or worse for hen welfare than any other system.
  • Independent scientific studies have shown there is no meaningful nutritional difference in eggs produced by the different ways of farming.
  • All commercial egg farms operate within strict legal requirements for food safety and meet stringent health and safety standards which are audited annually.

For more information on Egg Farming in New Zealand visit: or

*The 2012 NZ code of welfare, based on an internationally recognised standard for all animal welfare known as the five freedoms, requires that conventional cages be phased out by 2022. The reason for this is that conventional cages do not allow the hens to behave naturally and do the things that hens like to do – nesting, scratching, perching and stretching their wings

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