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Ethological investigation on moulting laying hens in organic farming

Zeltner, Esther and Hirt, Helen (2005) Ethological investigation on moulting laying hens in organic farming. Paper at: 7th European Symposium on Poultry Welfare, Lublin, Polen, June 15 - 19, 2005. [Unpublished]

[thumbnail of Zeltner-2004-moulting.pdf] PDF - German/Deutsch

Document available online at: http://www.ar.lublin.pl/WPSA/english.html


Organic egg farmers mainly rely on the same hybrids, breeding techniques and production schemes as conventional egg producers. This includes annual replacement of the laying hens. However, from an ethical point of view a longer life for laying hens is desired, not only because the hens can be used for a longer period but also less male chicks would have to be killed at one day of age. Birds have to moult their plumage from time to time. During this time they hardly take in any food and stop laying. This laying interval presents a recuperation period for the egg producing organs of the hen. After moulting, egg production is again higher and the egg quality is improved. In large flocks of laying hens moulting has to be induced to prevent social instability in the flock otherwise moulting could result in feather-pecking or even cannibalism.
Certain organic label organisations believe that the induction of a moult with food and light restriction might be too stressful for the hens. Therefore, the Swiss organic regulations forbid the induction of moulting. The following experiments were performed to provide information about the influence of moulting on the behaviour of hens.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords: laying hens, moulting, ethology, organic farming, Biogeflügelhaltung, Mauser
Agrovoc keywords:
laying hens -> layer chickens
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Poultry
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Animal welfare & housing
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal > Poultry
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/english/research/animal-husbandry/poultry.php, http://www.ar.lublin.pl/WPSA/english.html
Deposited By: Zeltner, Esther
ID Code:6449
Deposited On:09 Feb 2006
Last Modified:03 Aug 2021 11:41
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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