Conclusion

Chickens are adaptable and can be productive in many housing systems. An emphasis on technical development and cost reduction has led to cages as the most common form of housing, but this occurred at a time when effects of behavioral restriction were not understood. Systems allowing more behavioral freedom are now increasing. Economics will continue to be the most important consideration in choice of system, but an increasing economic factor is the possibility of higher prices for noncage eggs (see Eggs: Marketing elsewhere in this encyclopedia), taking hen welfare into account.

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