Performance, Welfare, Health and Hygiene of Laying Hens in Non-Cage Systems in Comparison with Cage Systems

T.B. Rodenburg, K. de Reu, F.A.M. Tuyttens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter compares the performance, welfare, health and hygiene of laying hens in different types of non-cage systems, focusing on barn, free range and organic systems. These non-cage systems are compared with each other and with cage systems. This comparison shows that both between barn, free range and organic systems and between non-cage and cage systems large differences can be identified. Moving from conventional cages to furnished cages, barn, free range and finally organic systems results in increasing environmental complexity, which is positive for some aspects of hen welfare, but also increasing risks for performance, health and hygiene, which is negative for other aspects of hen welfare. For the improvement of the welfare of laying hens in non-cage systems and furnished cages, we recommend that the focus should be on creating a better match between the animals and their husbandry environment. Good examples are the development of new housing designs that combine the benefits of non-cage systems with improved performance, health and hygienic status. Further, promising approaches in animal breeding and optimizing rearing environments are expected to yield major improvements in the welfare of laying hens in non-cage systems and furnished cages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlternative systems for poultry - health, welfare and productivity
EditorsV. Sandilands, P. Hocking
PublisherCABI
Chapter12
Pages210-224
ISBN (Print)9781845938246
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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