BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Soon all eggs sold at Colorado grocery stores will be from cage-free hens. The Colorado general assembly passed HB20-1343 to advance animal welfare by requiring Colorado’s egg-laying hens to be housed in a cage free environment. Additionally, the act also prohibits business owners from selling or transporting for sale in Colorado egg products that are not from a cage-free farm.
The act goes into effect on January 1, 2023 but there are modified requirements for the first two years to give farm owners the time to fully transition to a cage-free environment for their egg-laying hens. By January 1, 2025, all eggs produced and sold in Colorado will need to be cage-free.
“By including enrichments such as scratch areas, perches, nest boxes, and dust bathing, cage-free housing allows hens to exhibit their natural behaviors,” said Julie Mizak, Egg Program Manager at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “Starting next year, egg producers will have two years to phase in these changes into their operations to be compliant.”
HB20-1343 established enclosure requirements for farm owners or operators producing eggs and egg products sold in Colorado and requires businesses to sell only cage-free eggs starting in 2025. The law also prohibits Colorado business owners from selling, or transporting for sale in Colorado, eggs and egg products that are not from a cage-free farm. The Colorado Department of Agriculture’s supporting rule establishes an inspection and certification process for confirming that farms are cage-free, and outlines a recordkeeping process to affirm eggs sold in Colorado are from a certified farm. There are some exceptions to the requirements, including for farming operations with 3,000 or fewer egg-laying hens.
Producers and business owners are encouraged to learn more about the new law and regulations at ag.colorado.gov/eggs. For more information about the Cage Free requirements please contact Julie Mizak, Egg Program Manager at email@example.com.
–Olga Robak, Colorado Department of Agriculture