Free range is kind of a joke. They will have a large pen that holds about 1000 chicken and this pen has a small attached "Yard". The whole thing is on wheels and is moved about the chicky paddocks every day or so. (The pewns have a big clevis loop that a tractor will back up and hook up on their draw bars and then the driver will move the pen. The average "Free range" operation is about 30000 chickens aso these pens get moved on a schedule. The thing is, they define free range as captive fenced in , tightly packed chickens . So they will saw off the tops of their beaks to prevent the chickens from butchering each other.
Our 12 chickens just walk all over the fields and , when they feel the need to expell an egg, they hot foot it back to their cages and squeeze one out. WE keep a batch of feed near the laying areas and they prefer a snack after they lay.
Our eggs are as orange as an orange and stand high and proud and are very full flavored.
To underscore what set was saying, the food mix used in commercial feeds for market layers are loaded with oxytocin, this makes the damn chickens lay more frequently so the shells get thinner.
I once helped a neighbor who had a commercial chicken operation. HE had 60000 chickens delivered to a new building that was not finished yet. SO the pullet brooder just dumped the 60000 chickens on his parking lot. I helped feed them for the week or so that it took to finiosh building his new building.
LAughs ensued when we were loading the chickens into their cages. (The cages were so small that the chickens could only face one way. There was a feeding mechanism that came along with a chain driven doohicky that dropped feed int front of each cage. When the chickens were firt installed, this machine was not operating properly . Instead of dropping feed in feront of the chickens, it would lop off the head of any chicken that had its head sticking out of the cage when the feeder thing went by/ It took several days and several hundred dead chickens later to fix this. BEcause of that experience, eve only raised our own chickens and let them have the run of the fields. We lose one every so often but not 100's in a day from some stupid chain driven machine.
EAT MORE EGGS (but grow yer own)