Battery cages are small wire cages where about 95 percent of laying hens spend their entire lives.
Each hen is given about 67-76 square inches of space (a standard sheet of paper measures 94 square inches). Cages are usually arranged in tiers; a large number of cages in one house necessary to accommodate a flock came to be called a battery of cages, and hence laying cages are often called battery cages.
Layers are raised in battery cages for the following reasons;
- The system helps you keep birds within a small space and allows very limited movement. This makes the chickens conserve their energy and hence enjoy increase in production level.
- It provides comfort and stability for the birds.
- Feeds are less consumed and it avoids wastage.
- Records keeping of individual egg production and culling of poor layers are made easier.
- A farmer can easily do a stock count of the chickens.
- It is easier to care for pullets.
- It is much easier to evacuate the waste in the battery cage system. Faeces drop through to the floor or metal trays which are cleaned regularly.
- It is easier to operate.
- Labor requirements are minimal.
- Eggs are collected with minimal disturbance to the hens
In battery cage system, the chickens are kept in cages where their movement is limited and three chickens occupy a cubicle. Their droppings drop to the floor underneath the cages so the chickens have no direct contact with their faeces. Thus, health risks and expenditure on vaccines are minimal.