Late on September 6, 2013 a SASHA Farm staff member and volunteer arrived at SASHA Farm from New York. They returned with 100 former battery-cage hens. The hens are part of a group of 3,000 Animal Place saved from gassing at a California egg farm. A private donor had the hens flown to New York in a private jet. From there 9 sanctuaries joined SASHA Farm in taking in some of these hens.
These 2 year old Leghorn Hens have spent the first 2 years of their life in a cage. These are battery-cages or industrial agricultural confinement systems. The European Union Council Directive 1999/74/EC had battery cages banned in some European countries. Stating, "It is clear that because of its small size and its barrenness, the battery cage as used at present has inherent severe disadvantages for the welfare of hens". In an industrial egg-producing facility, about half of the newly hatched chicks will be male and would grow up to be roosters, which do not lay eggs and therefore provide no incentive for the breeder to preserve. Most of the male chicks are usually killed shortly after being sexed. Methods of culling include cervical dislocation, asphyxiation by carbon dioxide and maceration using a high speed grinder. The hens are subjected to having their beaks trimmed off to keep them from pecking each other to death. De-beaking causes acute pain and distress with possible chronic pain. In the US, the current recommendation by the United Egg Producers is 67 to 86 in per bird. The space available to each hen in a battery cage has often been described as less than the size of a sheet of A4 paper. There are 8-10 hens in a cage at a time.