Comparative Assessment Of Layer Hen Welfare In New Zealand – Final Report
This New Zealand study explored the welfare of egg-laying hens using a comparative assessment of different commercial production systems, concluding that on a scientific basis there are minimal differences between cage-based and alternative systems.
This study is based on data from layer hens on 60 New Zealand farms. Data was collected from the farms by type including large cage, small cage, large free-range, small free-range, organic free range, and barn. The findings show that cage and free-range layer hens adapt to their environments similarly and show similar stress levels. However, significant variation in factors such as mortality, feather cover, and wound prevalence were found between farm types.