In recent years, there has been a growing concern about the welfare of battery hens, also known as caged hens. These birds are kept in cramped conditions and subjected to stressful situations, leading to health problems and a reduced lifespan. As a result, many animal welfare organizations, farmers, and individuals are advocating for the rescue and rehoming of old battery hens.
The Plight of Battery Hens
Battery hens, as the name suggests, are kept in cages, often in large-scale, industrial farming operations. These cages are usually small, measuring about 18 inches by 20 inches, with a capacity of up to 6 hens per cage. The birds are fed a diet of high-protein pellets and are kept in artificial lighting conditions to increase egg production.
This type of confinement can lead to several health problems, including feather loss, weak bones, and infections. The birds also lay eggs at a higher rate than their bodies can sustain, resulting in a shortened lifespan. Given these conditions, it is no surprise that many animal welfare organizations and individuals are advocating for a better life for these birds.
Rescue and Rehoming
Organizations such as Battery Hen Welfare Trust, British Hen Welfare Trust, and Compassion in World Farming are working to rescue battery hens and find them new homes. Many farmers who formerly kept these birds in cages are now considering rehoming them once they have passed their egg-laying prime.
Individuals can also play a role in rescuing battery hens. Some people purchase hens and keep them as pets, while others donate money to organizations that support battery hen rescue and rehoming.
Benefits of Rescuing Battery Hens
Rescuing battery hens has several benefits. First, it saves these birds from a life of misery and suffering and provides them with an opportunity to live out the remainder of their lives in a more natural setting. Second, rehomed hens often continue to produce eggs, which can provide a sustainable source of food for their new owners. Finally, rescuing battery hens raises awareness about the poor conditions of industrial farming practices and promotes a more humane approach to animal welfare.