According to the Center for Consumer Freedom, there are four good reasons to question whether cage-free production is really better for the chickens:
- Bird flu. Free-range chickens, turkeys, and egg-laying hens kept outdoors are more susceptible to bird flu.
- Death rate. Cage-free hens die at more than twice the rate of caged hens, likely the result of exposure to one another and to their own manure.
- Broken bones. Cage-free hens, left to jump around the barn, suffer high rates of broken bones, as high as 67 percent, in one study.
- Stress. This year scientists at Sydney University in Australia found that free-range chickens experience just as much stress as caged birds, since they have to deal with extra pressures such as extreme temperatures, parasites, and predators.