Caged eggs are the budget option and you’ll soon understand why. During the onset of industrialised food, battery hen operations proliferated because it enabled farms to maximise output. But this kind of efficiency has an even greater downside. The life of a battery hen is nothing but grim. Forced to live within a cage alongside several other hens, they each only have access to space equivalent to an A4 piece of paper.
When chickens are stressed it’s not uncommon for them to peck each other, even to the point of death. To counter this, these chickens will often have their beaks trimmed while young (where the tip of the beak is clipped or lasered off) to prevent pecking. It’s likely these chickens will never see daylight or scratch the surface of the ground.
Other standard practices include manipulating a chicken’s lay cycle with artificial lighting and using antibiotics to offset their unhealthy living environment where disease can easily spread.
While caged practices are becoming less popular as consumer awareness grows, and thanks to increased pressure from animal welfare bodies, these operations do still exist. The RSPCA is actively working to ban battery hen operations in Australia and it’s a movement that only sees to gain momentum.
Even if you directly don’t buy caged eggs, you may indirectly be supporting this industry if you buy bakery sweets, ice cream, mayonnaise, frozen battered foods, pasta, egg noodles and pastries to name a few.