Pasture-Raised Eggs Meet Space Requirements of California's Egg Law

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California's new egg law incrementally improves the living conditions for caged hens causing prices to rise for the same quality egg. All eggs sold in the state must be produced from hens that can turn around and stretch their wings inside cage confinement. According to the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA), pasture-raised hens are raised in environments that allow the birds the ability to express a full-range of natural behaviors, such as flying, roosting, and foraging while improving the quality of the egg.

The American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) would like to make consumers aware that hens raised on pasture produce eggs that comply with California's new law, which requires all eggs to be laid from hens with slightly more spacious cages. Pasture-raised hens are not raised in cages, and their eggs are commonly available at farmers markets and directly from local, small-flock farmers.

Before Californians voted to ban battery cages for hens in the state, pasture-raised hens were living significant portions of their lives outside in spacious housing on range. The living environment provided to the typical pasture-raised hen allows her to express a full range of natural behaviors, such as flying, roosting, and foraging.

Proposition2, California’s Egg Law, has been interpreted to mean caged hens require at least 116 square inches of space in order to express the most basic of motions, such as turning around and extending its wings. To demonstrate the approximate area needed to achieve 116 square inches, draw a square that is 10-3/4” x 10-3/4”.

By reducing the amount of eggs produced from a caged production system, the California law increases the cost of eggs, but the quality will remain the same. The quality of pasture-raised eggs compared to confinement eggs can be demonstrated in taste, texture, and nutritional improvements. Various studies have shown that pasture-raised eggs tend to have beneficial nutritional qualities in terms of lower omega 6:3 ratios and increased levels of vitamins A, D, and E.

Consumers who care about high animal welfare, high quality, and high nutrition already have a choice in the marketplace. That choice is to eat locally produced pastured-raised eggs from smaller flocks.

APPPA is a nonprofit educational and networking organization that encourages the production, processing, and marketing of poultry raised on pasture. Visit for more information.

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