Treatment of Hens
Laying hens represent an egg producer’s living and are treated with care. Like humans, hens seem to be more productive when they’re healthy. In 1945, the average hen laid 151 eggs per year. Now as a result of breeding and better nutrition, housing and general management of facilities, the average hen lays between 250 and 300 eggs per year.
America's egg farmers believe in consumer choice. Hens are raised and lay their eggs in a multitude of housing systems subject to consumers' demand. No matter the system used, farmers are committed to the health and well-being of their hens. Without deference to the manner in which the eggs are produced, America's egg farmers follow guidelines to ensure the hens are provided with adequate space, nutritious feed, clean water, light, and fresh air.
The farming practices range from cage systems, cage-free, free-range, to organic systems. Proper lighting, housing, and diets are critical to the production process to ensure high-quality egg production. Scientifically balanced feed insures that the birds are protected from improper or inadequate diets – a vast improvement over the days when hens foraged for food in barnyards or ate household scraps.
Chickens, like some other animals, may exhibit cannibalistic tendencies. To protect the birds from each other, part of their upper beaks or both lower and upper beaks are trimmed. The trimming process is done by a special machine which cauterizes the beak and may be compared to clipping a dog’s claws. The birds are still able to eat and drink.