Hens stand on sloping, wire floors, which cause deformed feet. They suffer feather loss and injury from rubbing against the cage and other hens. Feces from battery cages above lands on the birds below.
lays up to 15 eggs per year
usually in spring
lays up to 300 eggs per year
all year round thanks to us
A year of intensive egg laying without exercise depletes hens’ bodies of calcium. They have weak bones, so leg and wing fractures are common, when birds are aggressively pulled from their cages, first for transport and again for slaughter.
Chickens can feel bored, cooped up, crowded, or anxious just like us. Confinement to cages does not allow chickens to express positive natural behaviors like nesting and foraging.
Hens are flock animals, but they choose a secluded spot to lay eggs. Privacy and straw should be provided for a nest. Hens have an elaborate daily egg laying routine, which they can't do in battery cages. Image by mazaletel taken from Flickr on 23/08/2015.
Caged chickens can’t stand up fully or spread their wings. Chickens need space to walk around and scratch the ground with their feet. In nature, chickens up to 70% of their time foraging.
Chickens show self-determination and curiosity. They like to CHOOSE where to spend their time, just as we do. When given the choice, chickens prefer to forage for food themselves rather than take feed. They prefer to explore. Research also shows they can tell how much time has elapsed, predict outcomes, and delay gratification.
Bathing is an important ritual for humans and all birds. Chickens get a lot of pleasure while dust bathing. It's a way to remove excess oils, regulate body temperature, and brush off parasites. A sandbox should be provided for this. Image by sierravalleygirl taken from Flickr on 23/08/2015.
Jungle fowl prefer to sleep high in trees. Domestic chickens can feel exposed and cold without a raised place to perch. They also like a choice of perching spots.
Chickens maintain a complex social hierarchy by pecking each other. A well-defined pecking order is necessary for harmony in a flock and has wide implications. Example: hens learn more from higher status individuals, the same way we tend to value expert opinion.
What about colony or furnished cages? Birds don't belong in cages. Research shows that cage-free hens spend more time foraging and walk more than hens in furnished cages (Rodenberg et al., 2008). Download The Case Against Cages (PDF) from WAP for more info.
Males are of no use to the egg industry. They can't be used for meat either, because the meat industry uses faster-growth breeds.
There are other types of grinders that mix live chicks with discarded egg shells push them through a spinning blade. See how that works
Instead of improving the chicken's environment, the industry solution is to cut off chicks' beaks, usually with a hot blade or laser. Treating animals humanely is not profitable.
Birds use their beaks like hands to touch and dig. Their beaks are sensitive to touch, taste, and temperature. It's standard on farms to cut off a third of the beak. Beaks can partly regrow, but the process is painful.
They boil [laughs]... I have no sympathy for them anymore [laughs].