CIWF, the international organization for the welfare of farm animals, denounces a hybrid system involving hens raised on the ground. In fact, this wording would be wrong because the hens would be raised "almost" on the ground, through a sneaky trick due to systems called "furnished cages". In practice the hens live on the ground but at any time the fence can close and, when the cages are closed, the housing density of the hens in the cages is comparable to any old-fashioned breeding farm, making the animals suffer the same frustration due to the lack of space and the impossibility of nesting and scratching. Despite being labeled with code 2, the combined systems are equivalent to a "potential cage" that severely limits the freedom of the hens to move. The organization has for years encouraged companies not to use cages, nor old intensive breeding farms, nor even these systems that damage animal welfare and make fun of buyers.
"On the ground" farms and virtuous farms
In this type of breeding, hens live free in barns on up to 4 levels, with a nest for every 7 animals, where there are feeders and drinking troughs. However, the most common system is on a single level which consists of an inclined grate, with a biological pit at the base. The density is around 10 animals per square meter.
In recent years, the market has required more and more free range eggs, that require a more humane but certainly more expensive type of breeding, so these hybrid types of breeding were born. But be careful and think, when you read about “free” breading of the hens. CIWF ask consumers who are eager to buy products only from systems more respectful of animal welfare to consult their list of companies that have excluded the combined systems from their supply chains. In fact, the risk of having combined systems is quite high.