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Bestman, M.W.P. and J. Wagenaar. 2006. Feather pecking in organic rearing hens. In: Joint Organic Congress. Odense, Denmark. 30-31 May 2006.

Number of pages: 2

Type of document: Conference Paper

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More information on authors/freelancers connected to LBI :
Monique W. P. Bestman MSc.;
Jan-Paul Wagenaar MSc.


Language of document: English

Title in English: Feather pecking in organic rearing hens

Abstract / summary in English:

Feather pecking is the main welfare problem in organic laying hens. Several studies showed that rearing factors are of crucial importance for feather pecking not only during rearing, but also during the laying period. In order to collect background information for our handbook about organic pullet rearing, we collected data from 29 flocks from week 1 to week 30. We wanted to know the degree of feather pecking during rearing, risk factors for feather pecking and the persistence of feather pecking throughout the whole life. Feather pecking was seen in 54% of the rearing flocks, although symptoms were very subtle. The main risk factor was high den-sity during the first 4 weeks of life. Finally, feather pecking once started during rearing, seems to be very persistent throughout the whole life. If there was feather pecking during rearing, 82% of these flocks continued feather pecking during lay. If there was no feather pecking during rearing, 90% of these flocks neither feather pecked during lay.