Animal welfare is a priority in Colorado and the state has passed its own sort of bird bill of rights.

According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, starting January 1, 2023, farmers and business owners must begin a transition to cage-free hen housing.

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What Are Cage-Free Eggs?

Typically hens laying eggs are enclosed in battery cages, which according to the HumanLeague, are "small, drawer-shaped cages a few feet wide and only about 15 inches tall—barely taller than the hens themselves."

Several hens are placed in the battery cages depending on their size and are given minimal room to move. These living conditions often result in sickness and disease for the hens, not to mention a very miserable existence.

Cage-Free Egg Law in Colorado

HB20-1343 requires Colorado’s egg-laying hens to be housed in a cage-free environment beginning January 1, 2023.

“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 also prohibits business owners from selling or transporting for sale in Colorado egg products that are not from a cage-free farm. By January 1, 2025, all eggs produced and sold in Colorado must be cage-free.

In addition, farm owners will be required to obtain a certificate from the CDA that confirms that the eggs produced are compliant with regulations.

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