Free range

The last alternative I will present and discuss is the free range housing system. Again, this is separate and distinct from the free run housing system. The definition that distinguishes free range from free run is that free range “provides birds with access to the outdoors when the climate permits, consequently, exposing these birds to sunlight” (National Farm Animal Care Council, 2003). In essence, the free range housing system is a free run housing system that also provides the extra outdoor access. Thus, within the indoor portions, the housing specifications are exactly the same, providing the hens with the same benefits.

7166328170_23d010c74a_bChandler, A. (Photographer). (2012, May 9). My backyard chickens [digital photo]. Retrieved from

However, one of the biggest acknowledgments that must be made is that free range systems only have to provide birds with access to the outdoors. Literature shows that for the most part, these systems are actually not extremely different from free run systems, save for some version of access to the outdoors – which does not necessarily promise grass or soil to forage at.

Some other disadvantages to this husbandry method include outside diseases that cannot be controlled or prevented (Savage, 2008).

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