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Bestman, M.W.P., T. van Niekerk, B. Reuvekamp, Z. Amsler-Kepalaite, C. Verwer, V. Maurer and F. Leenstra. 2019. Factors related to free-range use in commercial laying hens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 214:57-63.

Number of pages: 7

DOI: 10.1016/j.applanim.2019.02.015

Type of document: Journal Article

Related to: Trees for outdoor chickens

More information on authors/freelancers connected to LBI :
Monique W. P. Bestman MSc.;
Cynthia Verwer Ph.D.


Language of document: English

Title in English: Factors related to free-range use in commercial laying hens

Abstract / summary in English:

Free-range use is expected to contribute to the welfare of laying hens, and more so if a high proportion of the hens in a flock uses the range. In the Netherlands and Switzerland, data were collected from 169 free-range and organic layer flocks by farm visits at an age between 45 and 66 weeks. The aim of this study was to identify which factors are related to free-range use. A higher % Hens Out was associated with brown genotype, smaller flock size, roosters in the flock, better feather cover and natural ventilation. Further analyses were done with subsets of the database for either free-range or organic flocks in either the Netherlands or Switzerland. The results may contribute to improving range use by laying hens.


Keywords in English: Laying hens, Range use, Organic, Free-range
Factors related to free-range use in commercial laying hens