The number of free-range egg producers in Wales has shot up to more than 300 from about 100 in 2006, as egg producers prepare for a ban on cage systems that takes effect in 2012, according to The North Wales Daily Post.

Each new commercial free-range egg operation houses about 12,000-16,000 hens, bringing the total number of hens in such housing systems to 2 million, the newspaper reported.

The Welsh Assembly Government has provided more than £1M in grants to free-range projects and is considering another £400,000 in funding.