We must adjust our thinking on feeding hens housed in cage-free systems to allow for their increased movement, social interaction and exposure to environmental hazards.
In general, cage free means, as was the political motivation behind it, that hens are free to roam, wherever they might be kept. This is in sharp contrast to caged layers where movement was from limited to restricted. Some claim, it was the abuse of the caged system that led institutional intervention to improve bird welfare by giving them more freedom to move. This extra freedom now given to layers allows them to move around and interact with each other and, of course, with their environment. Such new way of life leads to three new, distinct patterns or behaviors, each associated with problems or challenges that we sometimes can address through nutritional means.