Hens have access to the entire barn floor. They also can perch, scratch and use private nest boxes to lay their eggs.
Free run group housing gives hens, in one large group, access to the entire floor area in the barn. Hens in this type of housing are also able to perch, scratch and lay their eggs in nest boxes. The large group setting presents egg farmers with some different issues to manage in their care for hens, including more social pressures for hens, such as increased aggressive behaviours.
These challenges can be managed and mitigated, but higher costs of doing so means higher egg prices for consumers for eggs produced in free run barn housing since more feed, labour and veterinary care are required and higher mortality rates occur.