CSES Research Project


A commercial-scale study of housing alternatives for egg-laying hens in the U.S. is being conducted by the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply. The goal of the Coalition is to evaluate the viability of various laying hen housing systems by considering the impact of multiple variables on a sustainable system.

The Coalition believes a significant gap exists in scientific knowledge related to a wide range of sustainability impacts of laying hen housing:

  • environmental impact
  • food safety
  • worker safety
  • animal health and well-being
  • food affordability

This research will help food companies and other organizations make independent, informed purchasing decisions that are ethically grounded, scientifically verified, economically viable and ultimately in alignment with the desires of consumers.

Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis are leading this commercial-scale research. The study includes hens raised in three different housing types on the same commercial farm in:

  • cage-free aviary including nests, perches and scratch areas;
  • enriched colony housing including nests, perches and scratch areas;
  • caged housing environments currently used by a vast majority of the contemporary U.S. food supply system.

Research Status

Flock data collection is complete. Flock One interim findings have been released. Results from the second and final flock are currently being analyzed by researchers and will be shared in a subsequent report with a comprehensive final report available in 2015. The Coalition is committed to having research results submitted to peer-reviewed journals for validation and publication.