Saturday 21 April 2012

Mixed bathing for hens

The new generation of battery cages on commercial farms do give hens more space and nest to lay their eggs in but one thing they cannot do is provide a dust bath. This is a vital social activity. It's a chance to get rid of ecto-parasites by scratching dust and soil up into the plumage and shuffling it around. There is nothing they enjoy more on a warm sunny day. Animal behaviorists call it "comfort behaviour" one of those natural activities essential to animal welfare. In this case they destroy the flower bed at the same time.

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