Healthier Hens is a new animal welfare nonprofit, incubated by Charity Entrepreneurship in 2021, that is searching for cost-effective interventions to reduce pain and suffering caused by bone health issues in egg-laying hens.

What problem is Healthier Hens working on?

According to Healthier Hens, there are over 7 billion farmed egg-laying hens alive at any given time. These animals are being selectively bred for maximised egg production, with each egg laid requiring a significant amount of dietary input — particularly calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. The depletion of these dietary minerals and vitamins leads to adverse health and poor welfare for the hens.

Healthier Hens’ background research indicates that many egg-laying hen feed standards are inadequate, resulting in a major source of suffering for the hens due to bone fractures and osteoporosis. Healthier Hens aims reduce farmed hen suffering by supplementing their feed with calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.

What does Healthier Hens do?

Healthier Hens' current goals are to:

  • Strengthen its research to test the direct link between feed fortification and hen welfare.
  • Promote farmers' and governments' awareness of hens’ bone health and associated hen welfare outcomes.

To achieve this, Healthier Hens is conducting a baseline study on hens’ bone health in Kenya and measuring the direct efficacy of dietary interventions on hen wellbeing via pilot trials.

It intends to deploy its feed fortification intervention through two main phases: producer buy-in and government buy-in. Its research efforts (pilots and trials) will aid both phases as a means to show that hens’ welfare can be improved via dietary interventions.

What information does Giving What We Can have about the cost-effectiveness of Healthier Hens?1.

We don't currently have further information about the cost-effectiveness of Healthier Hens beyond it doing work in a high-impact cause area and taking a reasonably promising approach.

Please note that GWWC does not evaluate individual charities. Our recommendations are based on the research of third-party, impact-focused charity evaluators our research team has found to be particularly well-suited to help donors do the most good per dollar, according to their recent evaluator investigations. Our other supported programs are those that align with our charitable purpose — they are working on a high-impact problem and take a reasonably promising approach (based on publicly-available information).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation's work -- what the organisation is actually doing and whether their programs are making a big difference. Some others in the charity recommendation space focus instead on the ratio of admin costs to program spending, part of what we’ve termed the “overhead myth.” See why overhead isn’t the full story and learn more about our approach to charity evaluation.