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Researcher Joy Mench measured the tradeoffs and benefits of alternate methods for housing egg-laying hens. (Mark Crouser/courtesy photo)
Alternative housing systems for laying hens present a variety of tradeoffs, according to new UC Davis research.
The findings shed light on how hen housing affects the 75 billion eggs produced in America each year, providing data on the cost, safety, animal welfare, worker health and environmental impacts of various hen-housing systems.
“There are positive and negative impacts with each of the three housing systems we studied,” said Professor Joy Mench, a poultry welfare expert and vice chair of the Department of Animal Science.
“As egg producers move away from conventional cage systems, we hope this data will help consumers, regulators, producers and others weigh the tradeoffs and benefits of alternate methods.”