70 square inches. Seems like a lot, doesn't it? Let's imagine that as a 2D rectangle, measuring 10 inches by 7 inches. Now, grab a sheet of standard printing paper. It measures 8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. So, its a little bigger than our 70 square inch rectangle.
Considering that the average laying hen used in commercial egg production measures anywhere from 10 to 14 inches long, and 7 to 10 inches wide, it's safe to assume that they would take up most of the space in our 70 square inch rectangle.
According to Canadian standards, that 70 square inch rectangle provides an acceptable amount of space for a commercial laying hen to live out their entire lives. No room to stretch, play or be curious. No place to run and exercise. Most of these hens are kept in cages with anywhere from 4 to 7 other birds, stacked in a warehouse-style battery, with no daylight, minimal ventilation and low-quality food.
Chickens, when in any sort of group, will form a pecking order. There will be one "top dog", with all the other birds establishing their own place on the "ladder of power". The unfortunate one who lands on the bottom rung is forever picked on and bullied by the other chickens. When kept in cages, they have nowhere to run and hide. Hell, if they simply don't have entertainment and get bored, they will peck at one another. So battery farms keep their chickens mostly in the dark, to minimize problems like these.
Imagine living in a space smaller than a sheet of paper, in the dark, always bored, no room to move, cramped between several others, every minute of every day of your entire life. And, once your production slows and your usefulness (a.k.a. profit margin) wanes, it's off to the chopping block, with no respect given for the life you sacrificed. In reality, if the average person treated an animal in such a way in their home, they would be brought up on criminal charges of abuse and neglect. That includes small-scale chicken keepers like myself.
This is where your store-bought eggs come from. These are the animals who are feeding your family. Even if you purchase "cage-free" eggs, thinking that you're doing some good, you're simply saving the company the expense of purchasing cages ~ those hens are still granted the same amount of floor space in a darkened building, with even more birds above them in the pecking order. If you wish to buy eggs laid by chickens who enjoyed sunshine and fresh pasture, look for organic free-range, preferably from a local farmer, farmer's market or private chicken keeper. Yes, they will cost more, but you will have more access to honest information about how the hens were treated, and fresh eggs with far more nutritious value.
Please let this information guide you to learn more about where your food comes from, and be more mindful in your choices in the future. This information is unpleasant, and good marketing will use language to make the consumer believe that they are buying healthy, humane products. The rest is swept under the rug. Its up to you to dig a little deeper. You'd be surprised at what atrocities we support with our purchases. We can make a difference though, by making one small change at a time. When we know better, we must do better.
Those who hold the money, hold the power. Well, it is we who hold the money that fund corporations through our purchases - let's take back our power.