Navigation Links
New website will help farmers ensure hens maintain good feather cover
Date:7/17/2013

Hen pecking is a serious animal welfare concern and can cause great economic losses for the farmer and the egg-production industry as a whole. A new website has been launched to help make sure laying hens are well-feathered throughout their lives.

The website [http://www.featherwel.org] has been developed by scientists at the University of Bristol's School of Veterinary Sciences to improve bird welfare through FeatherWel, a project led by the University and supported by the Tubney Charitable Trust.

The Bristol team have collaborated on the FeatherWel website with RSPCA Freedom Food, The Soil Association and the AssureWel project.

The website, endorsed by the poultry industry, focuses on management strategies to help prevent pecking damage occurring from day old chicks through rear onto transfer to the laying house and throughout lay and provides photographic examples, links and further information.

All forms of injurious pecking, including gentle and severe feather pecking, vent pecking and cannibalism are described. In addition, there is a forum where farmers can share their experiences in managing flocks.

Dr Claire Weeks, Senior Research Fellow in Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Sciences, who led the project, said: "When it comes to abnormal pecking behaviour, most farmers are well aware that prevention is easier than cure. A trial of the advice in the management package on 100 farms as part of the Bristol Pecking Project found that using as many management strategies together as possible was the most effective way of achieving a fully-feathered flock."

Hens mainly lose feathers through other birds pecking at them: an abnormal redirected foraging behaviour. The most common reasons for this are poor litter quality and limited foraging opportunities. Aimed principally at free-range systems, the website also emphasises the importance of providing good access to a quality pasture with cover to maximise the opportunities for hens to forage while feeling secure.

Mark Williams, spokesman for the British Egg Industry Council (BEIC), said: "BEIC is fully supportive of this guide which will help in assisting producers to implement measures that can help prevent injurious feather pecking, provided it forms part of the overall professional advice available to producers."

Alice Clark of the RSPCA added: "Injurious pecking is a serious laying hen welfare issue, which can lead to significant injuries and even cannibalism.

"We believe the FeatherWel website is a valuable new resource which can help reduce and prevent these problems by bringing together practical advice from scientists, the industry and welfare organisations, as well as a forum for producers to share experiences."

The website can be used as a resource for producers, advisors, and veterinary surgeons seeking advice on how to reduce the risk of injurious pecking occurring in non-cage flocks of hens. A 24-page booklet*, which expands on the four-page leaflet launched last year, is also available to download from the website.

The availability of this information is timely as the industry faces a possible ban on beak-trimming, which is a widespread practice used to limit the damage that can occur with outbreaks of injurious pecking behaviour.

The Bristol team is currently trialling the advice in the management package on 20 commercial flocks where the birds have intact beaks (i.e. are not beak-trimmed) to provide information for the government's review in 2015 ahead of the proposed ban from 2016.


'/>"/>

Contact: Joanne Fryer
joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk
44-011-733-17276
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Strax Rejuvenation Adds New Page to Website Devoted to Tickle Lipo Procedure
2. Running Website Run Research Junkie Launches to Analyze the Science Behind Running
3. The Website You Have to Log Into
4. Website for new open-access journal, eLife, introduced today
5. Revealing climate change website wins global award
6. NIST launches new website to educate industry about alternatives to mercury thermometers
7. Genetically modified cotton improves diet quality for small-scale farmers in India
8. Pig wasting syndrome costing farmers millions
9. Major international push to maximize bioscience research to help worlds poorest farmers
10. Farmers team with scientists to make the perfect rat trap
11. Scientists develop new carbon accounting method to reduce farmers use of nitrogen fertilizer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/30/2017)... Jan. 30, 2017   Invitae Corporation (NYSE: ... genetic information companies, today announced that it will report ... provide 2017 guidance on Monday, February 13, 2017, and ... day at 4:45 p.m. Eastern / 1:45 p.m. Pacific. ... will briefly review financial results, guidance, and recent developments ...
(Date:1/24/2017)... PHILADELPHIA , Jan. 24, 2017  It ... a baby,s sock that monitors vital signs and ... instance, an infant,s oxygen saturation level drops. But ... undue alarm to parents, with no evidence of ... "These devices are marketed aggressively to parents of ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , Jan. 18, 2017  In ... with respect to mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and Kalorama ... reasons for such acquisitions have been shifting. Generally, uncertainty ... and the U.S. has changed the acquisitions ... situation has resulted in companies buying partners outside of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/18/2017)... 2017 Kurzlehrgang mit Fokus ... Zelltherapie-Studien, Poster legt metaproteomische Analyse des Darm-Mikrobioms bei Säuglingen ... ... Dr. Yoav Peretz , Scientific Director bei ImmuneCarta, ... Assays zum Nachweis intrazellulärer Zytokine bei adoptiven Zelltherapie-Studien im ...
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... ... business in Hong Kong. , Nerium International is proud to introduce its Age-Defying ... Contour Cream, NeriumAD™ Formula to consumers across Hong Kong. The luxury skincare products ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... PUNE, India , February 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... research report "Biomarkers Market by Product (Consumables, Service), ... Disorders), Application (Diagnostics Development, Drug Discovery and Development, ... MarketsandMarkets, the market is projected to reach USD ... in 2016, growing at a CAGR of 13.8% ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... 17, 2017  If only one in every ... mutation-conferring resistance to chemotherapy, thousands of cancer cells ... focused on finding these mutations in ever-smaller subpopulations ... tumor DNA in blood — to guide treatment ... Unfortunately, however, detecting these genetic anomalies may ...
Breaking Biology Technology: