Executive summary The scientific evidence for nesting, perching, dustbathing and foraging being important behavioural needs for hens is reviewed. The social and spatial needs of hens are complex and still poorly understood. Early rearing experience has a profound effect on subsequent behaviour and performance in the laying period and this has been insufficiently investigated. Whilst scientific research has identified a number of requirements for good hen welfare, ways of achieving these in commercial practice are often unclear. There is particularly strong scientific evidence (including epidemiological studies of many commercial flocks) that good litter quality and widespread use of the range is essential for the welfare and good productivity of hens in free-range flocks. Our current monitoring of commercial flocks indicates that these are not frequently attained.
|Translated title of the contribution||Review of behaviour and welfare issues, including range use and cover for free range hens|
|Publisher||Morrisons Farming Programme Publication|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|