How to depopulate end-of-lay hens responsibly

Friday, December 6, 2019
The Poultry Site

High standards in animal welfare should extend to hens at the end of their laying careers just as much as to younger birds.

The poultry-housing experts of ZTHZ in Switzerland offer advice on responsible depopulation in both caged and cage-free systems.

As egg producers around the world make the switch from caged to cage-free housing, amendments in the way they manage their flocks will be required. One of those amendments is the way in which end-of-lay hens are depopulated. If done incorrectly, depopulation can give rise to welfare issues, such as fractures, dislocations and muscle injuries. Under the supervision of Michael Toscano, poultry welfare researcher Chris Gerpe from the Center for Proper Housing, Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ) in Switzerland is working to find the most humane depopulation solution for cage-free growers.

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