Cage-Free Eggs Rolling Off The Farms
Cage-free eggs are growing in popularity, with the market experiencing slow, but steady growth. United Egg Producers estimates that 5% of 2007 U.S. egg production is either cage-free or organic, up from 2% three years ago.
Egg farms are increasing their production of cage-free eggs, including committing significant funds to convert their facilities. United Egg Producers estimates that 5% of U.S. egg production is either cage-free or organic, up from 2% three years ago. “Organic” eggs are produced by cage-free chickens that have access to the outdoors and are fed only organic feed.
Fort Recovery Equity (the 9th largest egg producer in the United States) does not anticipate that cage free eggs will ever make up the majority of egg production in the U.S., but they project that 5% of the 6.5 million birds raised by the company’s contract farms will be living in a cage-free environment within 6 months.
Producing cage-free eggs is said to be profitable, but more expensive and labor intensive. Converting a barn to cage-free costs from $12 to $22 per hen. A new building can cost up to $30 per bird. A dozen Grade A caged eggs sell at an average price of $1.18, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey of 17,000 retailers, compared with $2.58 for a dozen cage-free and $3.53 for a dozen organic eggs.