Perch and nest
In barn egg farming, hens are housed in large sheds with a litter floor. There are perches for hens to roost and sleep on, and nest boxes are available for egg laying.
Unlike free-range farming, the birds do not have access to the outdoors. The marketing term ‘cage-free’ is often used to describe barn farming.
Currently, 33% of the national layer flock are housed in barn operations. Internationally, barn farming is particularly popular in Northern Europe.
The Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare 2012 sets out the standards of care and management for layer hens in New Zealand. It includes specific standards for barn egg farming.
At a glance
- Indoor stocking density (maximum)
- NZ Code of Welfare: 7 hens/m2
- EU standard: 9 hens/m2
- NZSPCA: 7 hens/m2
- Flock sizes
- NZ Code of Welfare: Not specified – dependent on size of barn
- EU standard: Not specified, dependent on individual farm land size
- NZSPCA: 5,000 hens per enclosure