Laying hens can be severely affected by extremes of cold and/or heat. Hens in the free run facility were housed in a comfortable temperature range of 19- 24°C, which lies well within the 18-24°C thermo neutral zone for chickens (Weaver 2002). Hens housed in the furnished cage facility, were subject to fluctuating temperatures that varied by eight degrees rising to a high of 28°C. Heat stress and lack of feed intake could become an issue for hens housed in furnished cages, especially those in the uppermost third tier. Laying hens housed the free run facility have the welfare advantage of being able spread their wings away from their body to increase airflow and cool their body temperature, which a lack of space in furnished cages may restrict.
Proper nutrition is a very important welfare issue. Aggressive behavior in birds may occur if there is not enough area for each ...
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