One practical alternative to battery cages is enriched cages. An enriched cage, sometimes called “furnished” or “modified” cage, is a wire cage with some specific design improvements to overcome some of the welfare concerns identified from the conventional battery cage. The practicality of the enriched cage is that it retains the same or similar husbandry and economic advantages of the conventional battery cage.
Source: United Poultry Concerns
The estimated additional cost is an 8% difference in production costs (Elson and Tauson, 2011). With this extra marginal cost, hens housed in enriched cages are provided with:
- Dust-bathing area
- Private nesting area
- Scratch pads
These items allow the hens to perform the natural behaviours which they are highly motivated to exhibit.
However, there are still criticisms to this improvement from battery cage housing. Some individuals believe that enriched cages still do not provide an adequate level of welfare.