An egg farm in Freetown is one of the first in Canada to build a barn meeting European Union standards of production.

Nathan and Wendy Burns

Nathan and Wendy Burns are building one of the first egg barns in Canada that meets EU-welfare standards for hens. (CBC)

The EU requires more humane treatment than Canadian regulators and Burns Poultry Farm will soon provide their hens with a better laying environment.

"If you don't have happy animals, they don't do very well. It's key. They need to be healthy, they need to be happy. We're providing the amenities that allow them to display their natural behaviour," said Nathan Burns, a seventh-generation egg farmer.

Although the hens will still be in cages, they will have a perch to stand on as well as a private nesting area for laying eggs.

EU- humane standard cages at Burns Poultry Farm

The more humane hen cages include perches, nesting areas and emery boards for the hens to file their claws. (CBC)

Hens are also able to file their own claws on an emery board posted inside the cage.

The hens will be moved to their new home in mid-July.

In 2012, the European Union banned battery cages, the current industry standard in North America for laying hens, because of their small size and barrenness.

About 100 days after hatching, when they are still pullets and have yet to start laying eggs, the hens are placed into the the crowded wired cages, usually arranged in very long rows often stacked one on top of the other.