Barn laid

Last updated 22 September 2020

Hens housed in barn-laid systems are not confined to cages, however they live in barren, windowless sheds where they are never given access to the outside. High stocking densities in these systems restrict hens' ability to move freely and exercise.

As aforementioned, chickens have complex social structures and form ‘pecking orders’ among their flock. However, when housed with thousands of other birds, it is impossible for hens to establish these pecking orders, leading to stress and aggression. Feather pecking, mortality and cannibalism are particularly problematic in cage free systems because of this.

Being confined indoors restricts hens' ability to perform the normal behaviours that provide quality of life. With very little space to move around freely, hens in barn-laid systems often suffer from weak and fractured bones.