Welfare of laying hens and pullets: guidance

Guidance about the needs of laying hens and pullets and how to meet these needs in accordance with good practice.

Annex 3: Sources of further information

Codes of recommendations of the Council of Europe

This guidance takes account of the Council of Europe recommendations concerning domestic fowl (Gallus gallus). These set out general principles of husbandry and care and include a section on laying hens. See https://rm.coe.int/16805165ec

General welfare information

For information on farm animal welfare, see the Farm Animal Welfare Council's report: Farm Animal Welfare in Great Britain: Past, Present and Future https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319292/Farm_Animal_Welfare_in_Great_Britain_-_Past__Present_and_Future.pdf

Catching and Handling

For information on catching and handling, see:


For information on handling and transport, see:

Animal by-products

For further information on animal by-products, see: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/animal-welfare/ABPs

Welfare outcome assessments

Advice on measuring welfare outcomes can be found at: www.assurewel.org

Feather pecking

Featherwel provide advice on practical strategies to reduce feather pecking: https://www.featherwel.org/featherwel/injuriouspecking.html


The Humane Slaughter Association has various publications providing useful advice on culling, including:

On-farm killing for disease control purposes: https://www.hsa.org.uk/on-farm-killing-of-livestock-for-disease-control-purposes--introduction/introduction-9

Practical slaughter of poultry (useful for smallholders / crofters and other small-scale producers): https://www.hsa.org.uk/introduction-1/introduction-3

Code of Practice for the Disposal of Chicks in Hatcheries: https://www.hsa.org.uk/shop/publications-1/product/code-of-practice-for-the-disposal-of-chicks-in-hatcheries

Disease control and biosecurity

For advice on Avian influenza, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/biosecurity-and-preventing-disease

For information on the Salmonella National Control Programme, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-uk-national-control-programme-for-salmonella-in-layers-gallus-gallus

For the disease surveillance dashboards, see: http://apha.defra.gov.uk/vet-gateway/surveillance/scanning/disease-dashboards.htm

Antimicrobials and vaccines

Guidance on the responsible use of antimicrobials and vaccines can be found at:

Contingency Planning


Egg marketing, trading and registration of egg laying flocks

For information on egg marketing, trading and registration, including exemptions for small producers with fewer than 350 birds, see:

Registering poultry

APHA operate a poultry register on behalf of the Scottish Ministers. Guidance on registering poultry can be found at: www.gov.uk/guidance/poultry-registration#how-to-register

Scottish Government Poultry Unit

If you would like any further information, or if you would like to discuss this guidance, please contact the Scottish Government Poultry Unit in the first instance on 0300 244 9972 or eggs_and_poultry_mailbox@gov.scot.

These sources of information are current on the date that this guidance is published. You should be aware that any of the sources of information listed here could change.


Email: animal_health_welfare@gov.scot

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