Welfare of laying hens: code of practice

The code aims to help those responsible for laying hens to look after them properly.


Freedom of movement

Schedule 1, paragraph 9 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2010 (S.S.I. 2010 No. 388) states that:

The freedom of movement of animals, having regard to their species and in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, must not be restricted in such a way as to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury.

Schedule 1, paragraph 10 states that:

Where animals are continuously or regularly tethered or confined, they must be given the space appropriate to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge.

The Welfare of Farmed Animals (Scotland) Regulations 2010 (S.S.I. 2010 No. 388), Schedule 3, paragraph 20; provisions applicable to laying hens kept in non-cage systems; states that:

The stocking density must not exceed:

(i) nine laying hens per square metre of usable area

30 When determining the stocking rate, consideration should be given to breed, system of housing, strain and type of bird, colony size, temperature, ventilation and lighting, as well as to the number of platforms, perches or other suitable installations available in the third dimension.

31 If disease or evidence of a behavioural problem becomes apparent, by observation or by receipt of unsatisfactory grading returns from egg packing stations or by rejections from processing plants, expert qualified advice should be sought promptly to deal with the problem. Stocking and ventilation rates should also be checked and variations in stocking and ventilation should be considered in order to minimise the likelihood of recurrence of the problem.

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