Welfare of organic laying hens kept at different indoor stocking densities in a multi-tier aviary system. II: live weight, health measures and perching

Animal : an International Journal of Animal Bioscience
S Steenfeldt, B L Nielsen


Multi-tier aviary systems, where conveyor belts below the tiers remove the manure at regular intervals, are becoming more common in organic egg production. The area on the tiers can be included in the net area available to the hens (also referred to as usable area) when calculating maximum indoor stocking densities in organic systems within the EU. In this article, results on live weight, health measures and perching are reported for organic laying hens housed in a multi-tier system with permanent access to a veranda and kept at stocking densities (D) of 6, 9 and 12 hens/m2 available floor area, with concomitant increases in the number of hens per trough, drinker, perch and nest space. In a fourth treatment, access to the top tier was blocked reducing vertical, trough, and perch access at the lowest stocking density (D6x). In all other aspects than stocking density, the experiment followed the EU regulations on the keeping of organic laying hens. Hen live weight, mortality and foot health were not affected by the stocking densities used in the present study. Other variables (plumage condition, presence of breast redness and blisters, pecked tail feathers, and perch use) were indirectly affected by the increase in stocking densi...Continue Reading


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Related Concepts

Animal Husbandry
Animal Cruelty
Health Status
Housing, Animal
Organic Farming
European Union

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