The result of our work shows that appropriate housing is necessary for intensively kept hens and that the housing has to correspond to the vital needs and the nature of the animals.
This is important for two reasons: a) the innate needs of the birds must be satisfied; b) for the proper development of the animal and successful egg production.
The housing facilities should allow the following functional cycles without restrictions:
Social organization: the structuring of a group or unit of animals.
Locomotion: walking, running, fluttering, flying.
Feeding behavior: search for food and water, food and water pecking, ground scratching, scraping.
Comfort behavior: plumage care, stretching, dust bathing.
Resting behavior: standing, sleeping.
Sexual behavior: egg laying, nest building behavior.
Each one of these functional cycles requires its own area in the hen house. The hen house has to be arranged in order to accommodate the needs of the animals.
Fölsch, D.W., et al. (1983). Ethologic and economic examination of aviary housing for commercial laying flocks. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems, 4(4), 330-335.