The conditions under which laying hens are kept remain a major animal welfare concern. It is one of the most intensive forms of animal production and the number of animals involved is very high. Directive 1999/74/EC setting-down minimum standards for the protection of laying hens allows three different categories of farming systems: unenriched, alternative and enriched cage. The provisions of the Directive are being progressively implemented since 2002 and have introduced technical changes in the current systems. Since there is only restricted practical experience with production in enriched cages, and since modifications to the current systems have been adopted, knowledge on the welfare implications of the different poultry farming systems needs to be updated.
The general objective of the proposed LayWel project is to produce a series of reports on the various welfare aspects of laying hens.
Although special emphasis will be put on enriched cages and the welfare of laying hens housed in it, alternative housing systems, such as aviaries and free range systems will also be investigated. The final report of the layWel project will give a method to estimate the welfare of laying hens in any kind of housing system.
As the LayWel project will focus on the welfare of laying hens, all workpackages (WP) will be seen in this perspective and will therefore only deal with aspects influencing bird welfare
The WPs leading to the final report are:
5.Physiology and stress indicators;
6.Productivity and egg quality;
7.Integrated welfare assessment.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project