Hens have access to the entire barn floor. They can also perch, scratch and use private nest boxes to lay their eggs. Weather permitting, hens also have access to an outdoor space.
Free range large group housing systems are essentially the same as free run housing with hens also having access to an outdoor space (weather permitting in Ontario). The amount of space per bird required in the Code is similar to that provided in free run and enriched colonies. Hens in free range housing are also able to perch, scratch, lay their eggs in nest boxes plus forage for food.
Like free run housing, this large group setting again presents egg farmers with different issues to manage in their care for hens, including more social pressures for the hens and other issues including needing more feed, labour and veterinary care and higher mortality rates.
These challenges can be managed and mitigated, but higher costs of doing so means higher egg prices for consumers for eggs produced in free range housing. During times of the year where the birds do not go outside, the conditions for free range are essentially the same as free run housing.