Segment breeding is practically a mix of features of a poultry house and conventional cages. In this system laying hens are kept in multilevel structures with doors. Birds can leave freely while the doors are open, but at some point they get closed and hens must stay inside the cages. This means that laying hens still don’t get to express their natural behaviours, such as building nests. Changing the surrounding causes them a lot of stress. This system is thought to be beneficial when it comes to managing and production, because not only does it allow to minimise the area per one hen, it also lets a farmer to put the “free range” label on. The system is beneficial for the producers, not for the animals.
Why is segment breeding not appropriate for laying hens?
- it limits their ability to move freely temporarily or permanently,
- birds are all cribbed up similarly to the cage breeding,
- constant opening and closing of the cage doors forces the environment change, which can cause frustration and aggressive behaviours between hens,
- the system, just like cage breeding, doesn’t allow hens to express their natural behaviours.