The Australian state of Queensland has altered the legal hen stocking density for free range egg producers.

Free range egg producers can now stock up to 10,000 birds per hectare as long as they meet certain welfare requirements. The previous limit had been 1,500 laying hens.


Other states in Australia already allow higher stocking densities, and the change was made to allow Queensland's free range egg producers to better compete in the national egg market. The change, however, has not been universally welcomed.

There is an ongoing debate in Australia over what consumers understand by free range. Consumer group Choice claims that the stocking standards have been altered by "stealth" and has launched an on-line petition against the change.