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:
- 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.
The first research flock was placed in April 2011. The second of the two-flock study has recently been housed and will be studied throughout its laying cycle to complete the research. Results from the first flock, raised in three different housing types on the same commercial farm, are currently being analyzed by researchers. Preliminary observations were shared with CSES members at the organization’s 2012 Annual Meeting in October. The study will wrap up in 2014, with final results reported in early 2015. The Coalition is committed to having research results submitted to peer-reviewed journals for validation and publication.