Bird flu drives free-range hens indoors to protect poultry

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Some farmers are wondering if it’s OK that eggs sold as free-range come from chickens being kept inside.

It’s a question that arises lately as farmers try to be open about their product while also protecting hens from a highly infectious bird flu that has resulted in the death of roughly 28 million poultry birds across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that chickens be moved indoors to protect against the disease but not everyone agrees.

John Brunnquell, the CEO of Indiana-based Egg Innovations says his free-range chickens on more than 50 farms in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin will stay in “confinement mode” until the risk passes.