Questionnaire survey of disease prevalence and veterinary treatments in organic layer husbandry in the Netherlands

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Abstract

Disease prevalence and veterinary treatments in organic animal production differ from those in conventional systems. In order to gather information about current current practices in organic layer husbandry, 33 organic egg producers of 16 small, 12 medium-sized and 5 large farms were asked to complete a questionnaire on disease prevalence and treatments. On these farms, the mean mortality was 9% and the mean laying percentage was 79%. In contrast with the regulations for organic farming, the use of chemotherapeutics was not recorded on 30% of the farms. One third of the farmers were not aware of the type of vaccination given to their hens, and on the other farms hens had been vaccinated as pullets against nine or more viral and bacterial diseases. Several health problems were mentioned, such as feather pecking, red mites, helminthes, infectious bronchitis, colibacillosis and coccidiosis. On 19 farms, diseases were treated with homeopathic, phytotherapeutic, or other alternative medicines; on 10 of these farms chemotherapeutics were also used. Although quite a large number of organic layer farmers in the Netherlands used homeopathic, phytotherapeutics or other alternative medicines, the use of chemotherapeutics is currently inevitable to prevent animal suffering or distress in organic husbandry
Disease prevalence and veterinary treatments in organic animal production differ from those in conventional systems. In order to gather information about current practices in organic layer husbandry, 33 organic egg producers of 16 small, 12 medium-sized, and 5 large farms were asked to complete a questionnaire on disease prevalence and treatments. On these farms, the mean mortality was 9% and the mean laying percentage was 79%. In contrast with the regulations for organic farming, the use of chemotherapeutics was not recorded on 30% of the farms. One third of the farmers were not aware of the type of vaccination given to their hens, and on the other farms hens had been vaccinated as pullets against nine or more viral and bacterial diseases. Several health problems were mentioned, such as feather pecking, red mites, helminths, infectious bronchitis, colibacillosis, and coccidiosis. On 19 farms, diseases were treated with homeopathic, phyto-therapeutic, or other alternative medicines; on 10 of these farms chemotherapeutics were also used. On 4 farms only chemotherapeutics were used, on 10 farms no products were used, and on some farms up to seven products were used. Although quite a large number of organic layer farmers in the Netherlands used homeopathic, phytotherapeutic, or other alternative medicines, the use of chemotherapeutics is currently inevitable to prevent animal suffering or distress in organic husbandry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-295
JournalTijdschrift voor Diergeneeskunde
Volume132
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • organic farming
  • veterinary products
  • fowl diseases
  • disease distribution
  • outbreaks
  • epidemiology
  • veterinary practice
  • fowls
  • vaccines
  • vaccination
  • homeopathic drugs
  • phytochemicals
  • questionnaires
  • epidemiological surveys
  • animal disease prevention
  • animal health
  • livestock production
  • welfare
  • systems
  • europe
  • hens

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