Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Study Explores Hen Housing, Animal Care

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Sunday, May 18, 2014 10:00 pm | Updated: 1:36 am, Mon May 19, 2014.

(Family Features) From children’s books to advertising, consumers often see idyllic images of hens scratching in the dirt and pecking around the barnyard. However, these pictures can distort how most eggs are produced today. 

Differences in housing systems

Though eggs were once gathered from flocks that lived outdoors, by the early 1950s, egg farmers began seeing benefits to raising hens indoors. Today, the majority of hens are raised in one of three types of housing: conventional cages, cage-free housing and enriched cages.

Each housing system has advantages and disadvantages in terms of animal well-being, according to Dr. Joy Mench, animal science professor at University of California-Davis and a researcher leading hen well-being research with the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES). 

Conventional systems

“In conventional cages, the behavior of hens is very restricted – they have little freedom of movement and are unable to perch, nest or forage,” Mench said. Conventional cage systems account for approximately 95 percent of all eggs produced in the United States.

Cage-free systems

“Cage-free systems permit much more freedom of movement and also allow the hens to perform the behaviors that they cannot perform in conventional cages, but hens in cage-free systems also tend to have more health problems and higher mortality than hens in conventional cages,” Mench added. 

Enriched colony systems

A third type of housing has recently been introduced in the U.S., which is essentially a hybrid of the other two housing systems.

“The new enriched colony systems were designed to be intermediate between conventional cages and cage-free systems,” Mench explained. “They are larger than conventional cages and contain perches, a nesting area and a foraging area. They still do not allow the hens as much freedom of movement as a cage-free system, but they preserve many of the hen health advantages that are associated with conventional cages.” 

Animal well-being and beyond

CSES researchers are working to better understand how each of these hen housing systems affect various issues, including animal well-being.

“This research will offer additional insights into other aspects of each system, as well, including food safety, environmental impact, worker health and safety and food affordability,” Mench said. “Ultimately, this will allow researchers and others to understand the potential impacts, advantages and disadvantages of each housing system as they work to better understand a sustainable egg supply.”

For more information about hen housing, the CSES research and sustainable egg production, visit www.sustainableeggcoalition.org.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Poll

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists