Effects of the compulsory indoor confinement of organic layer poultry: a dust storm!

A. Kijlstra, J.T.N. van der Werf

Research output: Book/ReportReportProfessional


In August 2005 an order was issued in the Netherlands for free range poultry to be kept indoors to prevent the introduction of avian influenza. The Animal Sciences Group of Wageningen UR (Wageningen University and Research Centre) conducted a telephone survey at the start of this indoor confinement regime to establish its effects on the wellbeing of laying hens and to chart the economic consequences for the poultry keepers. The survey revealed that, according to the poultry keepers, the impact on the wellbeing of the birds was not serious, thanks to the introduction of enrichment material such as extra litter and extra feeding. And the economic consequences were confined to an increase in the amount of work associated with the special enrichment measures. To obtain a more objective picture of the consequences of the indoor confinement order, the researchers visited 37 organic layer poultry farms during November and December. Despite the rules having been relaxed, these farms were still keeping their laying hens indoors. During each visit various parameters were scored, including: strain and age of hens, dimensions and equipment of the sheds, method of ventilation, general appearance of the hens, plumage, mortality and use of enrichment material. In addition, a quantitative measurement of dust was made in the sheds.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLelystad
PublisherAnimal Sciences Group
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameASG Report
PublisherAnimal Sciences Group


  • poultry
  • poultry farming
  • organic farming
  • chicken housing
  • avian influenza viruses
  • adverse effects
  • animal welfare
  • animal behaviour
  • animal disease prevention


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