Ending the cage age for laying hens: new project to support a sustainable transition
What are best practices regarding husbandry of pullets and adult laying hens in cage-free systems (in barn, free range and organic)? And how can the transition to cage-free systems for laying hens in the EU – confirmed by the European Commission on 30 June 2021 – be supported? The project Best Practice Hens, led by researchers from Utrecht University’s faculty of Veterinary Medicine, will address these questions.
The Best Practice Hens project aims to contribute to a sustainable transition towards cage-free housing of laying hens in Europe, which should lead to improved animal welfare, farmer income and overall sustainability. It will last for two years and started in May 2021. In the first year, best practices will be formulated for keeping pullets and laying hens in cage-free systems. Input for these best practices will be collected through four case studies in countries with high percentages of birds kept in cage-free systems (The Netherlands, Germany, France and Denmark).
Additionally, information on the specific situation in four target countries that are still in transition (Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Poland) will be collected to better adapt best practices to their local conditions. Apart from management and housing aspects, specific focus will be given to animal welfare monitoring, economic and sustainability aspects. [...]