There's a lovely story on the BBC website about the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, which re-homes retired battery chickens:
It's cheaper for the farmers to give the hens to the trust than to send them off for slaughter, apparently.
Despite spending most of their life four to a cage, it does not take long to adapt - almost immediately they start stretching their wings and scratching at the soil.
Some take dust baths - something they have never been able to do. Nature kicks in and they fluff up feathers so the soil can cleanse and cool them.
But most farmers are not being deliberately cruel:
Setting up free range systems requires investment of tens of thousands of pounds. Farmers need to know we will support them and that we will not abandon them in favour of cheap foreign imports where regulations and constraints are often lighter, making the egg cheaper.If you want to re-home some hens, visit the Battery Hen Welfare Trust website now.
If you can't adopt a hen, make sure you buy free-range eggs and products made from free-range eggs.