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BATTERY HENS
 

When you buy eggs from the supermarket, do you know where they come from?  Most of us know that they come from hens, but do you know how the hens live?

Most of the hens in Australia live in small cages called battery cages.  The cages are so small that the hens do not have enough room to turn around properly or even to stretch their wings.

 
There are lots of things that hens like to do
but they cannot because they are restricted.
 
Hens like to peck at the ground and then squat in the dirt, ruffling their wings. This helps them to clean their feathers and is called dustbathing.  In the battery cage they have no room to do this. 
Hens also like to lay their eggs in private but when there are so many other hens around they cannot do this either. 
Because hens get so frustrated, living in such cramped conditions, they often peck at each other from boredom.  To stop this, when they are very young, farmers cut off the end of their beak. This is called debeaking.  It is very painful for the little chicks and sometimes they cannot eat for a few days as it hurts them too much. 
 
Can you imagine what it would be like living in a tiny cramped cage with other hens
every single day of your life?
 
Some hens are very lucky. They don’t live in battery cages.
 
Some hens are able to roam around outside and scratch in the dirt. These are called free range hens. 
Others live in big barns, and although they cannot roam around outside they are not locked in tiny cages. The eggs from these hens are called barn laid. 
What can you do to help hens?

There are a few things that you can do to help hens.
 

1 You can stop eating eggs altogether. 
2 If you do not want to stop eating eggs you can ask your parents to only buy free range eggs or barn laid eggs.   If enough people stopped buying battery eggs the farmers would have to stop producing them. 
3 You can write to the Minister for Agriculture in your state and ask him to stop the cruel battery cage.  Ask an adult to help you with the correct name and address to send your letter to. 
 
Here are two pictures of hens living in different homes.
 
Battery Cage Hens Free Range Hens 
Which hens do you think are the happiest?