Most of the eggs sold in stores come from hens kept in cages. So why would you want to put hens in cages?
- The hens are kept separate from their poop which helps to prevent the hens from getting sick
- It is easier to feed large number of hens using automated feeders
- It is easier to examine each hen daily to make sure that they are healthy
- Once the eggs are laid they roll away from the hen keeping the eggs cleaner reducing food safety risk
- The eggs can be collected easier and quicker
- You can put more hens in a chicken house to produce more eggs per hen house
- The temperature of the room can be kept at a comfortable level so the hens do not get too hot or too cold
- It is easier to protect the chickens from wild animals when they are inside a chicken house
So what are some of the problems with keeping chickens in cages?
- The chickens are not able to perform natural behaviors like dust bathing, scratching the ground and nesting
- The amount of space for each hen to move around in can be small with some farmers giving their hens more space than others
- The environment can be boring for the chickens so that some hens will peck at each other resulting in hens getting hurt
Dr. Jacquie Jacob
University of Kentucky