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

iding 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.


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

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