According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, there are four good reasons to question whether cage-free production is really better for the chickens:


  1. Bird flu. Free-range chickens, turkeys, and egg-laying hens kept outdoors are more susceptible to bird flu.
  2. Death rate. Cage-free hens die at more than twice the rate of caged hens, likely the result of exposure to one another and to their own manure.
  3. Broken bones. Cage-free hens, left to jump around the barn, suffer high rates of broken bones, as high as 67 percent, in one study.
  4. Stress. This year scientists at Sydney University in Australia found that free-range chickens experience just as much stress as caged birds, since they have to deal with extra pressures such as extreme temperatures, parasites, and predators.