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Facts about layer hens
Egg-laying hens are highly social animals with complex cognitive abilities, who want to live just as much as we do.
- Hens can distinguish between more than 100 faces of their own species. In barn-laid and free range egg farming systems, where they are placed with thousands of other birds, this ability is rendered useless.
- They form complex social structures known as "pecking orders," and every hen knows her place on the social ladder. Again, barn-laid and free range egg farming systems restrict these social interactions and result in distress and confusion.
- Hens have full-colour vision.
- Hens love to sun-bathe and dust-bathe. Some free range systems allow for this, but most egg farming in Australia restricts this ability.
- Hens experience rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which means they dream just like we do.
- They have pain receptors that give them the ability to feel pain and distress.
- Hens defend their young from predators and have more than 30 types of vocalizations to distinguish between threats.
- Hens are just like human mothers who talk to their babies in the womb—a mother hen begins to teach calls to her chicks before they even hatch.