Welfare & Management

The direction of poultry welfare: layers

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Demands for animal and poultry welfare continue to grow around the world. Poultry welfare receives attention from interest groups, multinational poultry companies, local consumers, commercial retailers, food chain companies, restaurants, and governments.

In the past two years, South American and Asian countries have either implemented regulations or set plans for adopting international standards of animal welfare

Layer production receives a lot of consideration by groups interested in animal welfare due to the cage systems, the high productivity of these birds, and other management practices not well understood and consequently not accepted.

  • Egg producers have been very proactive in answering concerns and adapting to customers’ suggestions and new governmental legislation.
  • Many animal welfare certifications have been created with robust training and auditing programs.

It is expected to observe a greater standardization of those Certifications and Auditing process in the years to come.

Layer production is under scrutiny from the hatchery to the end of the life cycle. The culling of day-old male chicks by layer breeding companies has been one of the most controversial issues.
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Solutions are already under implementation:

 

Several companies are developing in ovo sexing technologies around the world. The approaches vary in the methodology to obtain the data necessary to sort the eggs by sex. Some technologies require to open a hole in the egg, while others don’t, and some can differentiate the gender earlier than others. The detection can be done by spectroscopy.

Based on this accuracy, performance, the acceptable size of prototypes, and many companies providing innovations, it could be expected that this welfare issue has been solved.

But there are concerns that not all markets will adopt in-ovo sexing technology since some may face welfare activist groups that consider that life is still disrupted. However, the selection by sex will be made in an invertebrate that probably could be more acceptable by the public.




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